Shoot the Messenger

Written by: EW on 22/01/2015 22:41:28

The mere fact this review is of a band called ‘Evil’ should instantly inform you of their direct descendancy from the early 80s metal scene - there’s no way that name would have lingered untaken long in the scramble for any word that sounded vaguely metal. This is Copenhagen’s ‘legendary’ (according to the press release only) Evil, now a bunch of old men releasing their first full length having presumably spent the majority of their 33 year tenure separated following the early release of a only a couple of demos. The monicker is certainly a misleading one based on the clean, positive heavy metal sound of "Shoot the Messenger" which has absolutely nothing to do with the extreme end of the spectrum but which does, at times, throw across a tasty chorus or two in amongst some odd lyrics and a general satisfaction just to be releasing anything after all this time.

As is custom with metal intros this one ("It’s Here”) is a waste of time, but "Darker Side of Mother Nature" builds off a heaving palm-muted riff into a very bass dominant sound and with the confident pipes of Søren Adamsen bringing to town a powerful chorus - accentuated by the classic 80s effect of a clean guitar tone and open chords behind him - the result is a promising one from the first listen. Yes it certainly borrows from past rulebooks but it’s unassuming modesty means I’m still getting along with it a few listens down the line. The title track and "Big Show" completely fail to hit the same mark, coming across more like comedy thrashers Tankard with their dodgy lyrics and dull lite-thrash riffs, but "I Could Be Your Hero" in-between certainly does. The groovy pattern which form the bulk of the song isn’t up to anything spectacular but as soon as Adamsen launches into “I could be your hero/Alone in the dark/You won’t go far!" I’m won over. Reminding me of the lead track from this Lion’s Share album, it’s catchy simplicity is a saving grace when few other moments rouse to the same degree.

"Keep it True" is the ballad of the piece and while it feels the most serious of the tracks it also drags on a full chorus segment too long before launching into "Move", a slab of primetime Pantera groove sitting uncomfortably with the most eccentric of Adamsen’ performances. The title alone of closing track "World War 666" makes my heart sink - I’d expect such a title from a bunch of 15 year olds - and its mixture of flowing verse and stagnated chorus, off-kilter guitar harmonics and closing "Bring out your dead!" contrive to make it a slightly confusing ending.

After all these years in the making "Shoot the Messenger" is perhaps not surprisingly a somewhat inconsistent effort, mixing some extremely forgettable songs with choruses that linger in the memory well after playback has finished, but the overall impression is a positive one. I can’t see the band being able to expend the level of effort touring required to spread their message far but as a valediction of decades of build-up this is an admirable effort.

Download: I Could Be Your Hero, Darker Side of Mother Nature, Keep it True
For The Fans Of: Lion’s Share, Tankard, Artillery
Listen: Facebook

Release date 30.03.2015
Mighty Music

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