Location: Camden Underworld, London, England
Date: 28th of March, 2015
So it's finally happening. The return of Evile. I hadn't seen them since they toured with Wolf a couple of years back. Evile are easily the band I have seen more than any other so my fix was long awaited.
The location is a favourite of theirs, Camden Towns' 'Underworld'. Their song of the same name is no coincidence, and it was also a venue much loved by Mike. I don't really see where else in London this could have realistically taken place and been as good.
Fitting then, that their first gig in 18 months which introduces us to new guitarist Piers, takes place here. Piers replaces original member Oliver “Old Rake” Drake, who announced his departure in Summer of 2013.
Unfortunately I missed the first support band, Lay Waste. Sorry guys. Hope for another chance. I did, however, catch the second band 'Reverted'.
If I close my eyes this vocalist is Chuck Billy from Testament. They're not a thrash band. It's not quite that heavy, it's just…..metal. It was enjoyable. The drummer, a chap called Ozzy if I remember rightly (apologies if that's not right) is also doing a damn fine job on backing vocals. That was the highlight of their performance for me. Very impressive work. It's difficult to review objectively for me because I was perhaps paying too much attention to the drummer's skill and the vocals being so similar to Chuck and I was so stoked for my first Evile gig. I look forward to being able to give these guys a more in depth review at a future gig, of which there are many coming up across the summer according to their website. One of these includes Camden Rocks on the 28/5.
Now, on to the main event. The signs at the underworld that say 'No Stage Diving' are obviously there for a reason, but for all the attention people paid to them, they might as well have been Japanese instructions for a washing machine.
It's obvious from the start that a lot of the attention is on Piers. People are naturally curious. Also, this is the first time a lot of people have heard the 'Skull' album material live. Evile elect to play the album in full having not really had the chance to showcase it as much as they would have liked, and as frontman Matt Drake points out, he thinks that bands who only play one or two tracks from a new album are basically saying the new album is shit.
Thankfully Evile do not play it in full from start to finish. I think it's a mistake when bands do this. Evile have broken up the 'Skull' material into intervals to include parts of all 3 previous albums. We are treated to crowd faves like Enter the Grave, Cult, Infected Nations and Thrasher which are joyfully thrown in to mix things up. This time people singing along to Cult decide not to change a particular letter, and thus the entire significance of the song. Perhaps the best part of the night for me was a guy who took a dive off the stage at just the right time in Thrasher, when Matt was shouting the chorus line "Jump In To The Pit". With military precision he timed his jump perfectly and dove off so far that I thought he was going to crack his head on the support pillar. He didn't. Mercifully. My day job is a nurse and I don't want to be working.
Yes, there are a few mistakes here and there, but it takes nothing away from how enjoyable the performance was, people got what they were after and the venue was packed out. One thing of particular note was that the Evile audience has remained consistent and not dwindled as unfortunately sometimes happens when a band that isn't huge takes a break.
I did see a few familiar faces that unfortunately I didn't get the chance to say hello to. A tall, blonde former merch girl being one. One guy I met had come down from Manchester on his birthday weekend just for Evile. You don't normally get that kind of thing with the underground scene. I've been to other countries to see this band so I quite understand. The fans remain loyal. I kid you not when I say, though the numbers may be very different, the comradery I witnessed among the Evile fans, as I have so many times before, is for me comparable to that of Iron Maiden.
I managed to congratulate Piers on doing an excellent job of filling tough shoes and I also catch up with Ben afterwards who I've known for a number of years now, letting him know that that's the best I've ever seen them at this venue.
Evile are supporting Testament in Paris on 18/5. I'm trying desperately to get the time off work, but if not then there is another gig in September lined up. Check out their facebook page for more details and for photos from this gig. So great to have them back.
Evile on facebook
Words of the Dead
Enter the Grave
What You Become
Head Of The Demon
The Naked Sun
New Truths Old Lies