Τhe second wave of thrash was the result of two almost simultaneous occurrences. Some historic bands of the genre decided to cease the (un)successful experimentations of the 90s and return to their original sound; but it wasn’t just that. The trend required some new “heroes” as well, to connect the present with the past (every generation has some of them…), and history showed that Evile played a crucial role in this respect. Considering the wide acceptance of Bay Area-oriented “Enter the Grave”, they took on that role quite well.  

After their debut, Evile worked to develop their own personality through a more modern approach, although it wasn’t easy to untangle themselves from their influences. Their albums, to a greater or lesser extent, lacked originality; but who’s original in thrash nowadays? Let’s admit it: only a few bands, like Vektor, are outside the box… However, Evile had an advantage that made them stand out: they’d always been great players (especially the outstanding guitar duo of Drake brothers), demonstrating accurate execution and skillfulness. I believe that Evile reached their peak in 2013’s “Skull”, a rather different and important album that balanced ideally aggression and melodicism. During the eight-year period that followed the band didn’t release new stuff, but experienced changes, like Mat Drake’s resignation, that would radically affect their future endeavors. “Hell Unleashed” (2021) was purely aggressive and typical, “borrowing” riffs from death metal; but the overall impression was different with Ol on vocal duties.

Currently, Evile seem determined to enter another era, leaving aside the elements that established them on thrashers’ perception. “The Unknown” is a turning and risky point, requiring from us to forget what we knew about them so far (what a coincidence: the same happened many years ago with Metallica’s “Load”…). Evile adopt a rather doom temperament, relying mainly on mid-tempo compositions, in a dark, melancholic and pessimistic album. However, certain problems diminish what the listener could gain from their stuff.

Let me explain: when an album starts with three mid-tempo songs that don’t differ substantially, you reach a point where you wish you could hear something else… something to give you an incentive to invest more time in the album; in simpler words, you feel dull. The self-titled opening track stands out with its heavy, staccato riffing and solemn atmosphere, but the next songs just repeat the same logic. You have to wait patiently until the melancholic and grievous “When Mortal Coils Shed”, to ascertain Evile’s ability in composing sentimental, powerful ballads (they hadn’t sounded that saddened since “In Memoriam”).

The band revisit their thrash self in the middle of the album, through the decent, but inferior to older stuff, “Sleepless Eyes” and “Out of Sight”. You can hear ideal, dynamic drumming, although weak vocal patterns hold the songs back. Hereupon, the second part of the album features the band’s initial approach, with plenty of bland, slower rhythms, without a distinctive “character” (excepting the more vivacious playing and well-crafted melodies in “Beginning of the End”).

Concludingly, the flow of music isn’t optimal. After listening to “The Unknown” repeatedly, I often think that a different track list might work better; but even this, might not be a solution, since on several occasions, weak songwriting (“Monolith”, “Balance of Time”) indicates a rather hurried approach. Indeed, I feel that I cannot receive the amount of musical information that Evile used to offer (for comparison purposes, refer to “Skull” and “Five Serpent’s Teeth”).

No matter the above-mentioned flaws, I’d be unfair if I didn’t mention the production team’s good job of making Evile’s sound heavy, solid and dark, while Ben Carter’s playing is properly highlighted, thus “acquiring” all the robustness it needs. Also, there’s a harshness in Ol’s voice that’s appropriate for these slower, doomy rhythms; on the contrary, he still lacks the liveliness that fast-paced songs require.

“The Unknown” may have some good moments, but these are exceptions in a lackluster totality. Evile took the risk and pushed themselves to a different direction that doesn’t seem to be compatible with their idiosyncrasy, leaving the listener rather disoriented. On the other hand, a musician should be free to do whatever he wants; but sometimes, experiments are proven unsuccessful… I wish for their triumphant return, whichever that might be…

PS: It’s very easy to criticize the bands’ decisions…

♦ 5,5/10

Alex Nikolaidis


Jody and the Jerms emerge with their latest offering, "Divine”, a mesmerizing sonic tapestry that captivates from the first note to the last. At the heart of "Divine" lies a shimmering mixture of dreamy melodies and infectious rhythms. The opening chords immediately set the stage for an adventure into the band's universe. The production quality is impeccable, creating a lush soundscape that serves as a canvas for the vivid musical colors painted throughout the track. Jody's vocals draw your attention: there's an undeniable charisma in the delivery, a delicate balance between vulnerability and confidence that adds authenticity to the narrative. The instrumentation is a delightful fusion of indie-pop elements, showcasing the band's ability to seamlessly blend synth-driven textures with guitar hooks that linger in the mind. The rhythmic backbone propels the song forward, creating a dynamic energy that keeps the listener engaged throughout. One of the defining features of "Divine" is its infectious chorus. Catchy without being formulaic, it serves as the song's beating heart. The careful layering of instruments, the nuanced use of electronic elements, and the clarity in the mix contribute to a sonic experience that feels rich and expansive. In conclusion, Jody and the Jerms' "Divine" is a dazzling gem in the indie-pop world – the band has crafted a song, which invites repeated listens, revealing new layers of brilliance with each play.

♦ 8/10

Dimitris Zacharopoulos


Thirteen years ago, some students at Lublin University, Poland, met up. They talked, and found out they had similar tastes in music, worshipping 70s rock and the Grandfathers from Birmingham; then, they smoked some dope, literally or figuratively (or both) and formed a band. Hence, Dopelord emerged, and since then they follow the already carved, predestined path amongst Electric Wizard’s hazy themes and Sleep’s (seemingly) eternal soundscapes, “with bong in hand…” Loyally, they take trips to trance-like acidic hallucinations, attracted by horror themes and witchery; but they never ceased to worship the Grandfathers. How could it be otherwise?

This year, the quartet return with their fifth album, “Songs for Satan”, which, as you may have guessed, doesn’t differ daringly from what they’ve done so far. Dopelord are among the bands that don’t change their route substantially, and if there are any experimentations, these are rather occasional and controllable, yet appreciated (e.g., “Headless Decapitator” in “Sign of the Devil”). In their new effort, Dopelord unmask conspicuously their purpose (it’s declared in the album’s title after all!), remaining dark and turning their backs on the prudish Catholic church. As such, they place emphasis on the wicked vibe, welcoming you, through a short intro, to a ritual that takes place at a remote swamp, in the silence of the night, where only the discreet noise of nocturnal insects dares to interrupt the stillness…

“Songs for Satan” embeds tons of familiar heavy fuzz on five slow, lengthy compositions that rumble the earth. Dopelord don’t pretend; they offer the orthodox doom, enriched -like in previous releases- with occasional boisterous gallops, melodies and vivid vocal lines, forming an unholy, gloomy and melancholic atmosphere. Crushing riffs that reach to your spine fill the soundscape, and Dopelord willingly become the noisy doomsters they want to be, without neglecting a secondary orientation to the hypnotic psych-doom of “Children of the Haze”.

Despite its familiarity, there are noticeable things that add some “spice” to the album. In certain instances, melodic themes become quite memorable, like in the more diverse and enchanting “Night of the Witch”, and the bitter “Evil Spell”. Other tracks, like the juggernaut-ish “One Billion Skulls”, where riffing intensity rises dangerously, and “The Chosen One”, feature a rather homogenous structure, more confined in the territories of traditional doom. However, Dopelord once again turn to a sludge condition in the ominous, suffocating “Worms” (here, you may remember Dopethrone or Sleep’s “Volume One”); such extremities fit in the band’s temperament, although they’ve spilled larger quantities of mud in the past (refer to “Scum Priest” in “Children of the Haze”).

“Songs for Satan” may not be another peak for Dopelord (the peak, justifiably, belongs to 2014’s “Black Arts, Riff Worship & Weed Cult”), but it’s another decent addition to their discography, without introducing significant changes. Of course, there are differences that have evolved gradually during all these years (mainly, that vastness of the Poles’ doom that bands like Acid Mammoth and Windhand engage with as well), but their principles remain like an old tree, which extends its branches slowly.

Hence, why should a doomster listen to the new album, given that it doesn’t offer many new things? Well, this question is irrelevant to the case of doomsters… They trust Dopelord; they know that their Unholiness will satisfy them. Eventually, they will smoke, literally or figuratively (or both)…

♦ 8/10

Alex Nikolaidis


There are covers that faithfully pay homage to the original, and then there are those rare gems that manage to carve out a distinct identity of their own. Frenchy and the Punk's rendition of "Cities In Dust" by Siouxsie and the Banshees unquestionably falls into the latter category. Frenchy and the Punk, known for their eclectic fusion of folk, punk, and cabaret elements, have taken on the challenge of reimagining one of the iconic tracks from Siouxsie and the Banshees' catalog. "Cities In Dust," originally released in 1985, is a post-punk classic that embodies the atmospheric and haunting sound of its era. Samantha Stephenson and Scott Helland establish their own sonic version. The cover opens with drums and an acoustic guitar, immediately signaling a departure from the synths that dominate the original track. This choice brings a raw, earthy quality to the song, setting the stage for the distinctive vocal stylings of the duo. Samantha Stephenson's vocals weave effortlessly between ethereal and grounded, adding a layer of mystique to the narrative. The magic truly unfolds when Scott Helland's guitar work kicks in. His mastery of the instrument shines through, injecting the cover with a lively energy while maintaining a delicate balance with the underlying melancholy. The acoustic arrangement, combined with Helland's skillful guitar playing, results in a rendition that feels both intimate and expansive. The duo seamlessly blend folk elements with the underlying post-punk spirit of the original, creating a sonic tapestry that is both timeless and contemporary. They infuse a classic with new life without losing the essence that makes the song iconic. The chemistry between Stephenson and Helland is palpable, and it elevates the cover into a collaborative expression that goes beyond a mere reproduction. To sum up, Frenchy and the Punk deliver their great own interpretation of a post-punk classic, which should not be missed! That is post-punk art!

♦ 8,5/10

Dimitris Zacharopoulos


A new power metal album is here and it is one of the best in its genre. It comes with new sounds and beats. The Unity always deliver awesome tracks and with this record, there was no exception. It’s their fifth album, since their 2017’s debut album, including a live one, “The Devil You Know”, released in 2021. “The Hellish Joyride” is a game changer, speaking of music and it’s a good surprise, since they have a new addiction in the lineup, Tobias “Eggi” Exxel (bass, Edguy), to other members; Henjo Richter (guitar) and Michael Ehré (drums) from  Gamma Ray; vocalist Jan Manenti; guitarist Stefan Ellerhorst and keyboardist Sascha Onnen. Let’s discover this new release! It starts with “One World”. An acoustic intro that suits well with the powerful voice of Jan. It’s a wonderful melody. Then “Masterpiece” follows, with heavier, faster riffs and harsher vocals, that will make the fans’ headbanging harder and harder. Probably the heaviest track this band has ever recorded so far. “The Hellish Joyride” starts with a mystic keyboard, followed by soft guitar riffs. It’s a very melodic metal song, which finishes as it starts: with a mystic keyboard. “Only the Good Die Young” it’s a hard rock song and we can hear Jan’s voice at its full potential. He can high and low his voice and register it at all the right times. The guitar riffs, keyboards, and drums are incredible here too. “Saints and Sinners” seems like the intro for the movie “The Exorcist”, but no, it’s a typical power metal song tune, with double bass and rapid G-string riffing. It’s a very well written song, from the vocals to all the instruments. Every power metal album needs a ballad and “Something Good” is that one. The track starts with the vocals from Jan struggling of losing someone, drums beats, a single guitar note extended like a depressed keyboard key. Then, after a minute and a half, all the instruments kick in. The song has a perfect chorus and ends with drumbeats. “Always Two Ways to Play” it’s their first single and it’s a very standard hard rock track, with nice guitar riffs. “Golden Sun” is a heavy mid-tempo song - the keyboards and the guitars play the same melody line and have the same structure, which is perfect. “Stay The Fool” is another rock song. It sounds like Pretty Maids. “Never Surrender” has fast tempos and blast beats. And finally, the last song, “You’re Not Forced to Stay”! Deep Purple keyboard sounds and heavy guitar riffs, is a great way to finish an album. This composition is a melancholic ballad about an ultimatum given to a partner. In a few words, “The Hellish Joyride” is a well-crafted, diverse, well-written, exciting and pleasant album to discover. If you like power metal and other genres all combined, you’ll love this one.


Raquel Miranda