Evile: Is New Album Conceptual?
One of the hottest names in metal, Evile will release their third album through Earache on August 29. And lead guitarist Ol Drake can’t wait for people to hear what they’ve done.
Words: Malcolm Dome
“If I had my way, I’d put it out now. But we just have to be patient, I suppose.”
The album’s to be titled Five Serpents’ Teeth, a title that vocalist/guitarist Matt Drake (the two Drakes are brothers) suggested, and he’s not keen to explain where he got the idea.
“I know it’s from a book that Matt read, but he likes to play these things close to his chest. The lyrics for the title track are very deep and meaningful, however there’s no overall concept that connects all the songs.”
This is the first time the band have recorded without late bassist Mike Alexander, who tragically passed away on October 5, 2009. Ol Drake readily admits that emotions came to the surface when the band (also featuring bassist Joel Graham, plus drummer Ben Carter) went into the studio.
“We were using the same studio (Parlour in Kettering) where we recorded for the last time with Mike (a cover of Pantera’s Cemetery Gates), so as soon as we got in there, we were thinking of Mike. That’s no disrespect at all to Joel. In fact, one of the biggest driving forces behind us with this album was to prove that the 10 years we worked with Mike wasn’t just going to be thrown away.”
Once again the band chose to work with Russ Russell, who did such an impressive job on Infected Nations (2009), and this time he’s been a lot more involved.
“On Infected Nations, being the first time we’d worked together (Flemming Rasumusson produced the band’s 2007 debut Enter The Grave), it was a case of getting to know each other. But things were a lot more relaxed this time, and Russ made a lot of really useful suggestions, about cutting certain things out of songs and changing others.”
This album also sees Evile stepping up to a new level. While the thrash roots are still clearly defined, nonetheless there’s a lot more diversity on Five Serpents’ Teeth, which is something the band were determined to make happen.
“We wanted to try different things, and I’m really proud of what we’ve achieved.”
This is never more obvious than on the song In Memorium, which sees the band paying their respects to Alexander.
“We were on tour in America and the words just came to me. So I began scribbling them down. We wanted to do something on the album for Mike, and I believe our fans would have expected it, and it’s turned out so well.
Using a clean guitar part that they felt didn’t fit onto the last album’s approach, what Evile have created is something, as Ol says, “That’s eerie and melancholy. We wanted to avoid doing a typical ballad, and I think we’ve succeeded.”
In an era when so many bands stuff as many tracks onto an album as possible, the Yorkshire crew have stuck to 10 songs, something Ol Drake believes is the right length for any album.
“I believe that if you put on any more than nine or 10, then it loses focus. I like the Load album from Metallica, but it had so many tracks (14 in all), that you start to wonder when it’s all gonna end.”
Having been forced to curtail their touring plans on the last album following Alexander’s death, this time Evile want to go out on the road for as long as possible.
“Ideally we’d like to tour for two or three years this time. But who knows whether that’ll happen? I’m already working on ideas for the next album, just in case the label what this sooner rather than later.”
Five Serpents’ Teeth, already shaping up to be one of the metal albums of 2011, will be available on both CD and vinyl. Sadly, though, for Ol Drake, there are no musical references to 70s proggers Gentle Giant, whom he loves.
“I’m a huge fan, but I don’t think any influence from them would suit Evile.”
We shall have to wait for his solo project to get a glimpse of that part of musical interest!
Find out more at http://www.evile.co.uk/