EVILE “Hell is Back on the Menu” 

By Dr. Abner Mality

At the turn of the 21st century, there was a furious rush of new bands trying to recreate the sound of thrash metal’s glory days of the 80’s. Few remain today, but one that has hung in tough is Britain’s EVILE. They have consistently delivered top quality mayhem right from their very first album “Enter The Grave”.

It was looking very iffy for a while. There was a gap of 8 long years between their previous effort “Skull” and the brand new “Hell Unleashed”. But when EVILE returned to action, they didn’t do it in a half-assed way. “Hell Unleashed” is as brutal a thrasher as they’ve ever done, without eschewing the technical excellence of their playing. It’s one of the most welcome comebacks in a long time!

Drummer Ben Carter has been pounding the skins since the beginning, so he was the logical chap to talk to regarding all things EVILE. So take it away, Ben…

WORMWOOD CHRONICLES: Greetings to EVILE...glad to see you back in action! At what point did you realize the band had to return?

BEN CARTER: Thank you, it's brilliant to be back!! We never wanted to be away, it was a number of reasons all coming together that culminated in a somewhat forced hiatus, but we're rejuvenated now and ready to kick some asses! Our fans are everything to us and we couldn't have come back without them standing by us as loyally as they all have!

WC: Was there ever a time when you thought the band was dead and buried? Or were you always sure it would live again?

BC: No not really. We've overcome adversity before, and all the downtime really did is increase our hunger and determination to come back with what we feel is our strongest album yet. The band is baring it's teeth again. 

WC:  “Hell Unleashed” seems to be the rawest, angriest EVILE ever. What led to this...personal experiences, the state of the world, a desire to prove something?

BC: Eight years away is and has been an eternity and during that time of being 'inactive' we had a lot frustration and pent-up aggression, so that of course manifested itself on the new album in each of our performances on the album; you can hear how much we put into it. I personally was beating the shit out of my drums like my life depended on it. As a collective unit though, I think we all felt after so long away we had to 'stamp our mark' again and make another statement. 

WC:The biggest change was the departure of Matt and Adam coming in to fill his slot. This surely has to change the chemistry of a band, especially when one of the leaving members is family. Was Matt’s departure a shock or was it something you knew was coming?

BC: Matt making the decision to step away from the band was heartbreaking on a personal level; I've always said he was our James Hetfield and I will always stand by that. But, he had to do it for his own reasons, for things that involve the bigger picture and scope, and for that I will always respect Matt.In terms of chemistry, a lot of the hesitation that plagued the band has gone, we're all very motivated and driven towards the same goal and outcome from the new material. There's a very professional and focused attitude in the band going forward. 

WC: What is it that Adam brings to EVILE that maybe wasn’t there before?

BC: Youthful enthusiasm and motivation! He is already kicking us up the ass at rehearsals because with him being a fan of the band previously he recognizes how things are maybe a little different live, and how parts develop in order to engage the crowd a little more. He's a brilliant addition to the band.

WC: Does the approach to writing songs remain the same? A lot of “Hell Unleashed” seems stripped down compared to “Skull” and “Five Serpent’s Teeth”, where the songs could be very technical.

BC: It was a conscious decision to revert back to our earlier songwriting structure, speed, and that almost adolescent kind of style and subject matter, but also keep the technical aspect of our playing on full view. I think “Hell Unleashed” is the perfect blend if all of that. It hits harder and is more immediate then some songs on “Serpents” and “Skull”.

WC: The global pandemic had an effect on every one. How did it affect and influence EVILE?

BC: It certainly hampered the writing and creative process,  and getting together to discuss ideas and rehearse together was impossible. I personally didn't play drums for around 9 months before the album recording sessions, purely due to my kit being unavailable and locked up somewhere. Thankfully, we were able to pass ideas around over emails etc and it all came together.

WC: How did you wind up on Napalm? Were they the first choice for label or were others bidding for your services?

BC: We were approached by a few labels, quite notable ones, but we felt that the communication with Napalm was the strongest, they really made us feel comfortable and have fully embraced our return and supported it fully. They knew we'd deliver a great album and have been completely positive and trusting in us for this album. It's a brilliant working relationship.

WC: This band has had tons of hard knocks over the years. How necessary was it for the maturation of EVILE as a band and as individuals?

BC: Well, I doubt any of it was 'necessary', but things definitely test you and make you have a bit more resolve in the face of adversity. I think we've become good at keeping going when things get rough. 

WC: I know Ol kind of got away from thrash for a while. Was the love for thrash always there or did it have to be rekindled?

BC: Whilst I can't speak directly for Ol, I think the band is far stronger for his return, and I just think he needed a step away to re-evaluate things for a little while. His return to EVILE is just proof he lives thrash to his core. 

WC: You’ve got a great cover of MORTICIAN’s “Zombie Apocalypse” on the new album. Have you had any contact with those guys and what did they think of the cover?

BC: I don't think they've commented anywhere, but I'd like to think they've heard it and feel that we've done it justice. We tried to be as authentic and as complimentary as possible with the cover. 

WC: What’s an influence on EVILE that maybe fans wouldn’t guess or would be surprised by?

BC: I think our influences have always been evident in our songs, from Matt's vocal harmonies echoing Freddie Mercury's, to my clear Lars worship... But we all listen to so many different types of music outside EVILE. Joel loves RUSH, Ol listens to a lot of Sinatra and jazz, my favourite band is HEART.... It's important to not be blinkered in music because you miss some incredible influences.

WC: How did Brian Posehn come on board for “Gore” and what was he like to work with?

BC: I think Ol just emailed him and asked if he'd like to be on the album somehow, as he'd previously done backing vocals on “Cult”, so it was a progression of that really. He's a fan and always up for a bit of fun so it's great that he put some backing vox down on “Gore” too.

WC: Now that the pandemic seems to be easing a bit, are there any live plans coming up?

BC: The aim is to get out gigging as soon as things feel 'safe' again. I don't think EVILE are the type of band to live stream a gig or do a socially distanced gig with limited crowds. We want a full, sweaty venue with people going nuts to the music. We feed off that. As soon as we're able we plan tours anywhere that will have us.

WC: If you could ask any 3 people from history to dinner, who would they be?

BC: Vinnie Paul, Gene Simmons, and Marilyn Monroe. But in a bar, not at dinner. And Gene can pick up the bar tab hahaha.

WC:  Any “Spinal Tap” moments where things went wrong that you could share with us?

BC: Far too many to list hahahah!! Things like that happen far too often to us. We did play one time in a place that was like an abandoned town hall, with a closed bookshop built on the side. There was an old piano in the corner with what looked like human excrement in it, and during our set a homeless guy came in the room and his dog was running around on the stage.... That was a weird gig hahahah.

WC: Last words for the faithful?

BC: Just a huge thank you for standing by us after 8 years away, and for making this new album a huge success for us. We can't wait to come back and melt your faces off with the new songs when we get back out on the road! Thank you!