REVIEW: Evilyn Strange – Evilution (2016 EP)

NEW RELEASE

Scan_20160301EVILYN STRANGE – Evilution (2016 limited edition promo EP)

Well alright alright alright!  2016 has been a stinky year so far with the winter “blahs” and far too many musical deaths.  It’s time for something new and something positive.  Thankfully the trio Evilyn Strange have picked this time to return with their new EP, Evilution.

I like a sense of continuity in cover art, and lead singer Phillip Strange is responsible for this one.  I like that you can immediately tell it’s the same band.  With the last album, Mourning Phoebe, I couldn’t quite tell what kind of music I was going to find inside.  Evilution on the other hand looks like rock and roll and nothing but.  Are you ready to be slain?

I was surprised by the heaviness and speed of the opening track “Let It Rain”.  Great riff, great vocal melody, and tasteful use of backing keyboards — I get a sense of 80’s metal meeting the modern age, and I like that just fine.  In particular it’s the menacing double bass of “The Ghost” (drums/keys) that drives the song into your skull.  Once it’s in there, it ain’t coming out.

“Invisible Man” grooves rather than thrashes, but again the tasteful backing keyboard adds nice accents and moods.  Phillip kicks ass on this vocal, imbuing the song with melancholy power.  Throw on a smoking solo by Mikael Johannesson and step back because this baby explodes!  I can’t say who this song reminds me of.  It has elements of lots of bands that I enjoy, from Sabbath to Whitesnake.  But “Storm Clouds” is thrash metal, pure and simple.  I can’t find a more appropriate tag.  The Ghost’s slamming on it, while Mikael riffs away faster than I can headbang.  The only thing unlike thrash metal is Phillip’s singing, always melodic.  This is challenging, impressive stuff — maybe a bit too busy?  It packs more into one song than most hard rock bands put into an entire side.

More Strange-like is “Never”, a powerful metal ballad.  Phillip injects the song with the required angst and there’s even a hint of some bluesy slide guitar.  A proper soft ballad ends the EP on a dramatic note.  This song “Stay” couldn’t be more different from “Storm Clouds”, only two songs prior.  Somehow it all works as a fairly cohesive EP.  That’s the vocals of Phillip Strange holding it together, I think, tying the songs.

Evilyn Strange named this EP appropriately.  They are evolving, as all bands must.  That they took such a strong lean on old, classic thrash and metal influences was a delightful surprise to me.  I didn’t see that one coming.  But much like evolution in the biological world, old traits still remain.  These are the memorable riffs, melodies and musical themes.  What’s very interesting however is that Evilyn Strange have a full-length album coming later this year, and it’s entirely new material.  Can we expect another evolution?  I think it’s possible….

Check out Evilyn Strange at evilynstrange.co.uk, where you can buy this limited edition CD for a piddly £3.99.  Click the link on their page if you prefer iTunes.  Do what you need to get this in your ears!

4.5/5 stars

Scan_20160301 (2)

For Deke‘s review over at 80’s Metal Shatz N Giggles, click here!

For Aaron‘s review at KeepsMeAlive, click here!

For Jon‘s review at e-tainment reviews, click here!

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14 comments

  1. Dang! Never heard these guys before but that Invisible Man is a heck of a song alone, thanks Mike ya sold me will be purchasing this first thing tomorrow!

    Cheers \m/

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Right on e-tainment, saw Mike’s link to his Mourning and your link in the comments section and thoroughly enjoyed both and will check that one out too.

        Purchased Evilution (digital only unfortunately but if it wins like expected will mail for the CD) and qill then get to Mourning :)

        Good choice Mike, from the comments seems ya got a straight out win and noticed too your review linked over at the Evilyn Strange FB page! Right on \m/

        Like

  2. Right on Mike! If it ain’t a 4.5/5, it’s a 5/5! I really liked this EP, and your song descriptions nailed it. Between you and Deke (I still need to read Jon’s), I’d say the work is already done. My post is extraneous! :)

    Thanks again for sending me this CD! I will play it often, these are superb tunes!

    Like

  3. Alright alright alright – is that some dazed and confused I hear?!
    Nice call Mike on shifting the 2016 conversation back to positive, current, hopeful for more 4.5/5 sounds to come this year!

    Like

        1. If you’re into Gary Moore just the slightest, Mike, you really need to pick up Corridors Of Power. It’s a brilliant album.
          Victims Of The Future?

          Liked by 1 person

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