It might not be an encounter with even an inkling of tearing up the metal ‘rule book’ in its makeup but Prime Evil from Swedish heavy metallers Evil Conspiracy is one seriously enjoyable proposition to revitalise weary ears. A feisty mix of flavours from classic and power metal to thrash and melodic escapades, the band’s sound makes for a magnetic and inventive incitement in a debut album which hits all the right notes in its thoroughly rewarding stomp.
Hailing from the Kumla/Örebro areas of Sweden, Evil Conspiracy emerged in 2002, evolving from a band called Legions which had just lost some of its members. A quartet of demos were released between 2003 and 2006 to strong responses, whilst live the band were soon earning a good reputation for their performances. Their first show saw the band support Lost Horizon but in no time they were drawing strong and eager crowds and support, resulting in Evil Conspiracy being one of the headline acts at the Wretstock festival whilst in early 2004 they supported Dionysus at the release party for Anima Mundi in Örebro. A few personnel changes have come with the years, especially vocally, but with the line-up of vocalist Fredrik Eriksson, guitarist/keyboardist/vocalist Andreas Mäkelä, guitarist Patrik Mäkelä, bassist Martin Giaever, and drummer Veikko Heikkinen, Evil Conspiracy set about creating their first album with its release recently coming through Sliptrick Records to whom the band signed last year.
Prime Evil is an immediate incitement for ears and appetite, the opening Intro a short but atmospherically engaging proposal. The guitars spread suggestive melodies as around them brooding ambience brews, this in turn inviting dramatic rhythms and intensity to step forth until it all winds down leaving the listener ready for the fiery contagion of Rule the Ruins. Thrash seeded riffs rigorously roam as gripping hooks leave their mark whilst along the lure the excellent and grouchy tones of Eriksson entice and impress. Group harmonies add to a mellower but no less anthemic chorus whilst the spicy enterprise of the guitars are courted by the ever presence temptation of addictive hooks and spiky grooves. The track is an excellent proper start to the album and quickly backed up by its title track with its own unique collection of tangy grooving and virulent persuasion. A rich essence of Bay Area thrash lines the rampancy and snarl of the track but equally its sonic endeavour and imagination has a power/heavy metal adventure as the track twists and lurches from landmark to landmark with a creative infectiousness which is Anthrax like.
There is no letting up in energy and enjoyment as the prowling predator that is Scars with Pride takes over. The vocals simply draw full attention as does the roaming throaty bass enterprise of Giaever, whilst the guitars spin an evolving web of voracious and in turn seductive invention as the song explores a mellower landscape, though its walls still snarl and grab at the senses from time to time. It is a captivating encounter setting up the broader metal tapestry of Fallen From the Sky, another song with a growling, inhospitable nature at its core but engaged in an exploration of melodic beauty and eighties harmonic resourcefulness. It does not quite find the same levels of persuasion as its predecessors but still makes a compelling and rewarding proposition before being outshone by The Plague. Jagged, carnivorous riffs saw away at ears initially, their intimidation matched by the menace of the rhythms before it relaxes a touch for a melodic saunter. All the time though glimpses of the predation it opened with flirt with the passions before emerging in a raucously addictive and anthemic chorus. Simply it is a lithe beast of a song with raptorial imagination and a malevolent heart.
7-2 provides a slab of enticing power balladry with rugged exploits next whilst The Beast of Flesh and Blood and Tools of Evil uncage their individual contagions of multi-flavoured and skilfully crafted old school infused metal. All three, without igniting the fires as the first half of Prime Evil achieved with personal tastes, have easy control of body and satisfaction with their individual catchy anthems. The third especially has the knack of deceptively involving the listener at certain points, if not quite maintaining that potency for its whole length, but enjoyment is only topped up by each and the following Father of Lies.
The penultimate song is the most diverse on the album in many ways, its melodic and progressive enterprise a fascinating enticement which if anything does not go far enough in its boldness, ultimately preferring to embrace a more classic heavy metal croon. Nevertheless again you can only say that satisfaction is thick as the final encounter takes to ears. Earth and Flames is similar in make-up if not presence to the previous song, aggressive and seductive in simultaneous persuasion and a thrilling end to a thoroughly enjoyable offering from a band you can expect to be talked about in much broader circles from hereon in.
Evil Conspiracy might not want to re-invent the metal wheel but they certainly have the intent to give it a colourful coat of voracious rock ‘n’ roll paint, a success found in the heartily recommended Prime Evil.
Prime Evil is available now via Sliptrick Records @ https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/prime-evil/id974680961
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