EVIL ARMY: "Memphis Metal Militia!"

Written by Jens Hellroute

As a kid ,I mostly listened to glam and hardrock, then came the 1977 punk explosion along with the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal with the likes of Angel Witch, Iron Maiden and Venom. Later came hardcore and with the debut thrash metal albums of Slayer, Exodus and Metallica, rock'n'roll sure had become fast and violent. I went to most of those thrash gigs in the mid-80s, Slayer's "Hell Awaits" 1985 tour and the Venom/Exodus bill were among the highlights. Later I lost interest, especially when the likes of Korn and Deftones came along. But I always had a lotta love for that no-bull 80s thrash sound, and in recent years there seems to be a revival of that kind of metal with Evil Army, Merciless Death and others in the lead. At last year's Goner Fest 5 I bought Evil Army's brilliant debut LP and a killer 7", both on Hells Headbangers Records, in the Goner store. Both releases blew my mind with their aggressive rawness, almost hardcorepunk-ish take on thrash metal that reminded me of bands like Slayer, SOD and Whiplash. And I also met singer/guitarist Rob Evil at the No Comply gig at Murphys, and later bassist Bones at Hi Tone, both venues for the Goner Fest in Memphis. So now I thought it was time to catch up on what's happening in the Evil Army camp.

WORMWOOD CHRONICLES: Jay Reatard produced your first album, is he gonna work on the 2nd?

ROB EVIL: We're not recording our 2nd full length with Jay. We're recording it in Folsom, Louisiana. Me and Jay both produced the first album

WC: To my knowledge, you’re the first metal band he worked with. Usually it’s mostly garagepunk Jay produces in his living room.

RE: Yeah, we're one of only a few metal bands in Memphis, so I'm sure Jay doesn't get a lot of metal bands asking to record.

WC: How is the new LP compared to the debut? Your “Under Attack” single is one of the best I heard last year. By the way, it was Eric Oblivian who played it for me in the Goner store during Gonerfest 5.

RE: The new songs are a little longer than most of the songs from the first album. There's only so much you can do in one minute song. Plus we don't wanna be one of the those who keep making the same album over and over. There' more tempo changes in the new songs, but we're still playing fast as hell.

WC: There was a delay with the recordings of the debut due to your back problems?

RE: I ruptured a disc in my neck in the middle of recording our first album so things got put on hold for a few weeks. It hurt like hell. It felt like a knife being stuck in my back at all times.

WC: You told me at Murphy’s that the bands who inspired Evil Army are mostly old school 80s thrash metal acts like Slayer, Exodus etc.?

RE: Old Slayer and the first Exodus album are big influences on us. Bathory and Darkthrone are two of my biggest influences.

WC: There seems to be a revival at the moment of that sound with bands like yours and Merciless Death? People are fed with pretentious nu-metal?

RE: We were playing this shit before it started making a comeback. It's good to see good thrash bands these days. I hate nu-metal. I've been fed up with that bullshit.

WC: You and drummer Michael Murder are twin brothers. What’s the pro and cons of that relationship?

RE: We both grew up listening to the same music it wasn't hard to find a drummer.

WC: Memphis and metal... there doesn’t seem to be many bands like yours, a few hardcore bands like No Comply, but the town is mostly known for soul and garagepunk. You played shows with River City Tanlines at Murphys. Is there a healthy unity among Memphis bands despite different music genres?

RE: There isn't a big music scene in Memphis as far as underground music goes so there isn't much of a choice. I don't mind playing a show with different genres. That way you don't have to listen to 5 bands that sound exactly the same, but I don't wanna play with an emo band either.

WC: Evil Army started out in 2002, and were called Evil Dead, right?

RE: Yep.

WC: You mostly sing about war from the soldier’s perspective. You see yourselves as a metal platoon or something?

RE: I like writing songs about violence and destruction and what's more violent than war? We're not a 'platoon', but if I wasn't playing I wouldn't mind being on a battlefield with a machine gun.

WC: Any chance of Evil Army touring Europe?

RE: As soon as we get our next album out we're definitely gonna try to make it to Europe by the end of the year.

WC: Anything to add?

RE: Keep an eye out for our next full length on Housecore Records. The repress of our cd is now available with new artwork and pictures so contact me if anybody wants one. I have a few copies of our "Under Attack" 7" left. Contact me at:

Evil Army's MySpace Site