Formed in 2012, Venezuela’s Evil Reborn play a brilliantly constructed form of melodic death metal crossed with the heaviest strands of groove metal. Their third release, ‘Throne of Insanity’ – their first for Russian extreme metal specialists Satanath Records – is a belter. It might not be particularly original, but in terms of what Evil Reborn do, you’ll be hard pressed to find it done any better. Across the album’s nine tracks, the riffs are enormous, the amount of bottom end crunch is equally as ferocious and frontman Victor Chaparro settles upon a vocal style which – much like Lamb of God’s Randy Blythe – retains just enough clarity among the growls not to be an instant turn off.
The band’s title cut presents one of the album’s best tunes. As you might expect from a number entitled ‘Evil Reborn’, the lyrics concern “Satan on his throne” and other potentially laughable fare, but with the vocals adopting a heavy, throaty growl, they can be ignored if necessary…and as always, it’s the music that really counts, and the music here is first rate. From the beginning, the hard edges of the guitar work have a sound that really shreds, but combined with a heavy bass drum there’s also a solid chug to be heard throughout. Having created a sound that’s somewhere between extreme thrash and melodic death metal, Evil Reborn set themselves up as a musical force, but combining their fast and tight talents with a voice that’s harsh but also moderately accessible, they open themselves up for a wider audience than some of their death-oriented peers. In short, this presents four minutes’ worth of extreme metal perfection. The album‘s title cut, meanwhile, pummels at absolutely full pelt in a double bass fury, like a cross between Pantera’s primal rage ‘Use My Third Arm’ and some of the best death metal you’ve ever heard, before stretching out into a brilliant Lamb of God inspired groove that allows some terrifically nimble lead guitar work to take centre stage. Closing with a choppier riff, thus allowing a throaty voice to growl its last alongside more groove metal goodness, this is another clear standout.
‘Possessed Angels’ begins like one of Slayer’s heaviest workouts, but very quickly gets heavier still, with the guitars rising to a circular death riff, very much driven by Jose Manerio’s frighteningly tight approach to the drum kit. Rhythmically and vocally, this track is genuinely great but the solos outshine the solid riffery, with guitarist Jorge Mendina breaking into a huge, squealing solo midway, showing himself to not only have a very melodic ear, but also as a man with a few musical tastes much older than the bulk of Evil Reborn’s music would suggest. Better yet, a busy, intricate bass solo, showing that Jesus Menerio is a particularly smart player; most of his work throughout the album is swamped by heavy guitar riffs, so it’s great to hear him at the forefront here. If, by this point, you aren’t convinced of Evil Reborn’s brilliance, nothing else is likely to win you over.
If at all possible, the religion baiting ‘Destroying The Trinity’ opens with even more power as Manerio smashes the hell out of his kit, before the band drop into a riff that’s so close to classic Lamb of God that it could even be LOG, with Chaparro reinforcing the issue by trading in some of his growls for more of a ‘New American Gospel’ harshness; ‘Addicion Viscerale’ thrashes apace, bringing more of an amazing hardcore metal sound, even teasing with a Slayer infused breakdown, before scaling towards a solid death metal grind and – following various samples – ‘Black Dahlia’ indulges in a perfect groove metal chug, like the coming together of Lamb of God and ‘Chaos AD’ era Sepultura, before even more of their beloved death noise fleshes out a great track. During these numbers, Evil Reborn give more weight to the idea that “you can’t fix what ain’t broke”, while ‘Night Killer’ shows off the slower edge of the band at first, with a deep chug peppered with horsey squeals, before a bass drum assault helps move everything towards a throat wrenching, anger filled slab of melodic death metal. The guitars are tuned in such a way that the bass doesn’t seem so important, but if you can push your ears past the more obvious noise-making, Jesus is in there, keeping the pace…and with a return to the superb opening riff, the band close the track with a serious groove. ‘A Morbid Encounter’ showcases a world of melodic death riffery and a big, clanking bass sound (a surprise, given the sound elsewhere) and tops that with some superb soloing from both Medina and new guitarist Alfredo Herrera, so is very much business as usual, while the closing statement, ‘Benecia Malevolencia’ shows that even by the album’s end, the band aren’t even close to running out of steam. With a huge growl and even bigger doom riffs things start strongly before settling into a piece of fairly predictable groove metal that – again – borrows its core sounds squarely from ‘Ashes of the Wake’ era LOG and parts of Pantera’s ‘Far Beyond Driven’. With this number, they give one last blast…and it’s a killer. It’s predictability isn’t especially a drawback, particularly when the riffs come across as well as they do here and the addition of huge, dirty horse noises is a plus. To avoid any stronger feelings of repetition, Chaparro returns to Spanish for his vocal performance, which, like before, seems to give the band an extra edge. The only weak link is the drum sound; although by and large ‘Throne of Insanity’ is well produced, there are a couple of fills from the toms that either sound programmed or frighteningly thin. It’s a minor blip during an otherwise great track – and a very strong finish to an album that’s absolutely free of filler.
A release where riffs are huge and heaviness crushes many of the melodious edges, this disc represents some top class sounds. Rivalled by Backdawn, ‘Throne of Insanity’ is certainly one of 2016’s finest metal records. For those who wish Lamb of God would take a couple of steps back and rework influences from their early days into their more classic sound, this is a must-hear.