Crucified is a mixed bag of tracks which combine to make a pleasing and satisfying encounter that without lighting any hunger driven fires in the passions certainly brings a smile to the face. Unleashed by UK metallers M-Pire Of Evil, the band formed by former members of the legendary Venom, Jeff “Mantas” Dunn (guitar) and Tony “Demolition Man” Dolan (vocals & bass), the album thrusts eleven heavy metal/thrash powered aggression fuelled tracks through the ear, their offerings made up of new material and revisited tracks from the five year period the duo played together in the black metal masters. It is an album which works much better than just a simple best of… album or one simply copying of past glories, but when the best material on the release is arguably the new songs there is a sense that it missed the opportunity to make a mark like its predecessor the acclaimed Hell To The Holy.
With drummer Marc “JXN” Jackson carving up the ear with his intensive rhythms alongside the founding pair, M-Pire Of Evil turn on a furnace of insatiable riffs and heavy handed rhythms wrapped in a sonic enterprise which twists its skilled creativity around the assault. Opening track of the Mausoleum Records released album, Temples of Ice, originally from the album of the same name, swaggers in with an expressive groove wrapping plundering of rhythms and a predatory atmosphere. Once Dolan unleashes his scowling tones upon the song the track surges with a thrash crafted hunger through to the senses, its switching gait as infectious as the melodic flames searing the ear from the guitars. It is a strong and enjoyable track which like all the subsequent re-inventions makes a valid declaration for their intent and presence.
The following Parasite, one of three visits to Prime Evil of 1989, is an excellent confrontation, a destructive spiteful fury which brings a Motorhead like rapaciousness for an unbridled treat but whether you can say it improves or does enough with the original is debatable, though such its strength it is hard to mind this slight failing. As the likes of The Waste Lands bred Kissing the Beast, the rabid Carnivorous with its corrosive riffing and delicious groove, and the excellent Black Legions bleeds its intensive destruction over the senses the album gets better and better even if still yet to truly spark any passion or find a true cutting edge to its spiteful snarl.
Both Need to Kill and Wolverine chew with accomplished craft and expected power though still the feeling of a lost opportunity shows its head across what it has to be said is enjoyable savagery. It is with the appearance of the three originals that intrigue is truly piqued and fed, starting with the title track, a song which prowls and courts the ear with less intensity but more expressive passion and inventive imagination. It is an enthralling song with the guitar captivation more about adventure than aggression and the melodic wash of sonic persuasion an impressive ally.
The closing pair of Demone and Taking It All grip attention with a stronger lure than in the earlier part of the album, the first with a punk infused thrash tempest which charges up the emotions with anthemic toxicity and the second with an air of exploration to its breath. The track is the best on the album, a ferocious consumption of ravaging riffs and belligerent rhythms ridden by the mutually voracious vocals. It is a fine climax which in many ways accentuates the feeling of a missed chance by the band to create something more memorable than it is.
Despite that Crucified is a an album which leaves only enjoyment in its wake whilst bringing a heavy metal energy to tracks which already have a place in history through their original creators. It is a strong interlude in what can be hoped is more original adventure from M-Pire Of Evil ahead.
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