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Album Reviews : Envenomed – Reckoning

By on February 4, 2016

Envenomed Reckoning final artworkBack in 2014, Melbourne’s Envenomed released their debut full-length album, ‘Evil Unseen’. Showcasing a type of thrash metal that was wholly unexpected to me the first time I listened through this record, it incorporated melodic elements in its music in a way that was both brilliant and different. The album captured me from track 1 and kept me there until the closing moments of the final track of that record. It was no mistake ‘Evil Unseen’ ended up finishing at #2 on the Australian section of my Best Of list that year. Since the release of that album, I have been eagerly anticipating the release of new material from this band. With the last few months teasing new material off their forthcoming EP, entitled ‘Reckoning’, needless to say, I was very excited to dig my teeth into this one. I’m most pleased to inform you that this EP delivers in more ways than one! To put it plainly, Envenomed have outdone themselves in every regard, and in terms of being an EP, this record flies by so smoothly that before I knew it, after grinning like an idiot and headbanging for almost 29 minutes straight, it was over, and I was back to playing it all over again. Few EPs have had that effect on me.

Of particular note, however, with this EP is the fact that title track “Reckoning” is actually the only new song on the record. The other four tracks are re-recordings of material from Envenomed’s original self-titled EP, released in 2009. Perhaps it is more remarkable then how fresh this EP still feels. Featuring the current band lineup, the reworked songs breathe a new life into the tracks that bring to the fore that newfound energy, exuberance and momentum that the band currently possess.

Opening with the title track, “Reckoning” had me hooked right from the opening seconds. That apocalyptic riff kicks some serious ass, and the shift in gear to the thrash melody just before the 50 second mark comes as an assured gust of wind to the senses. With this particular song featuring guest vocals from Shaun Farrugia of fellow Melbourne thrash band In Malice’s Wake, Shaun’s presence here is both welcomed and strong, yet never overburdens the track either. Given these two bands are quite different from one another in their individual approaches to thrash metal music, the idea intrigued me from the get-go. It is done in an understated manner, with Shaun’s vocals woven into the overall construction of the song well enough that Shaun’s harshness in his vocals add another layer to the overall music that further serves to enhance it. An exemplary thrash metal offering.

“In Sanity’s Stead” is a mid-tempo track that will serve as a good introductory track to those who are unfamiliar with Envenomed’s style, and is an early showcase of the combined talent in this band; no less of which includes the brilliant soloing from Brendan Farrugia, which remains a strong constant throughout the EP.

“Slave No More” is a downtrodden, melodic colossus. It bleeds emotion ignited by the rhythm section. Featuring gallops and a distinctive, marching-riff, it complements the hope and frustration that conjoins the lyrical content. The fourth track on ‘Reckoning’, “Failure to Falter”, is a fairly straight-forward, balls to the wall heavy metal track. But the 2016 production value kicks this one up a notch, really highlighting the synchronisation between the vocals, the one-two punch of the drums, and the riffs that rise pleasantly from the background.

The final track of the EP, “Rages War Within”, takes everything the other four tracks had demonstrated of Envenomed’s style and then takes it to the nth degree. It is fast-paced with an infectious rhythm section; polished, but still hits hard; and has discernible, catchy vocals. It ticks every box! The fact Envenomed can re-record old tracks of theirs in this way that still make them feel fresh and new as this one does is quite special. These guys really are something else.

About

Jonathon is an aspiring fantasy/sci-fi novelist and music journalist. Thanks to the influence of the music he grew up with, he has always possessed a keen interest in metal and rock. He is also a huge fan of mythology, legend, and folklore from all across the world. You should follow him on Twitter.