Critical Solution – Evil Never Dies (2013)
Review by Jude Felton
Good evening, 1986! How the hell are you? Evil Never Dies, the debut album from Norwegian thrashers Critical Solution, could quite easily start off that way, and who knows, maybe their live shows do. Of course, I am jesting, but as soon as this slab of thrashing mayhem starts, you know exactly where the band is coming from.
If Critical Solution had been a Black Metal or Death Metal band, their album would be considered old school in sound and style, but being as though they are a Thrash Metal band there will be those that will just consider them to be aping the golden era of Thrash. So what if they are? There’s still a damned enjoyable album to be found here.
Evil Never Dies is actually a concept album, which follows the exploits of Wallace Green, a trip to Sad Hill, which incidentally sounds like Silent Hill in the song, murdering a king and dealing with the Devil, and it’s all good fun. This is obviously a band that are having a great time with their music, even if they probably are too young to remember the era they obviously so dearly love.
Spanning over an hour, with 11 original tunes and 3 covers (Speed King, Killed by Death and Seek and Destroy), it’s an album to be enjoyed, especially for the old school Thrash fans. Sure, vocalist and lead guitarist, Christer Slettebø, does his best James Hetfield impression at times, and there is a heavy, early era, Metallica vibe throughout, but so many bands have forged massive careers by doing the very same thing.
You’re also going to get your fair share of gang vocals during the album’s running time, plenty of great riffing and even an appearance from the great Andy La Rocque. The album was actually recorded at La Rocque’s studio, with the King Diamond guitarist also producing, and this shows in the great recording quality. Evil Never Dies may well be an independently released album, but it sure does sound good.
I would personally like to have seen the running time condensed a little. I’m actually a fan of long albums, but Evil Never Dies could still have done with being a little shorter. I’d also like to see the vocals veer away from the Hetfield sound in the future, but overall Evil Never Dies is a very polished album.
All in all, Evil Never Dies is a pleasant mix of nostalgia and youthful energy. Take a good dose of the best of the Bay Area Thrash scene, mix in some Overkill and the aforementioned Metallica, let it simmer in sunny Norway, and you have yourself a royally enjoyable album. Well worth your time.