With VENOM producing rather mediocre albums lately, one kind of pines for the days of old…when Mantas was throwing down great riffs, the dirty Rock N Roll aspects of Metal made for catchy yet heavy music, and the blasphemous aspects were still a little tongue in cheek. Enter MPIRE OF EVIL, a band comprised entirely of ex-VENOM members ready to bring back the sound that their former act carried on the massively underrated album “Prime Evil."
Their debut EP, “Creatures Of The Black” is a rather confusing release though. Four cover songs from classic Metal and Hard Rock acts form the majority of this release with only two original songs to give us a taste of what MPIRE OF EVIL truly can bring. It does give us an idea of what this band is about stylistically by looking at the bands that they cover, but the true highlights are the two new tracks.
With three members in the band including guitarist Mantas, drummer Antton (ironically, the brother of current VENOM vocalist/bassist Cronos), and vocalist/bassist Demolition Man, MPIRE OF EVIL are much more of a throwback band than their silly name would indicate. All three are very talented and how easily they cover the range of JUDAS PRIEST to KISS to AC/DC proves that they have the chops to perform. The covers are splendidly done with the rawness of the production and the swagger of the band’s Rock N Roll roots in full swing to counter balance their Metal playing skills. This is almost a given considering the line up though.
So how does MPIRE OF EVIL sound on their own material? Even better than the covers! “Reptile” highly features the throat tearing riffs of Mantas while Demolition Man offers up a slightly more throaty style of Thrash singing to the chant along lyrics of the song. Antton once again delivers some great modern style drumming that utilizes the double bass to keep the energy of the tracks up while some atmosphere creeps into the title track to give it an artistic merit. The combination easily provides two stellar original tracks.
MPIRE OF EVIL might be slightly more old school than I initially expected (with both Mantas and Antton jumping over from the Industrialized DRYLL for this band) with its fun and often tongue in cheek Rock 'n' Roll vibes, but in the end their original material carries the edge that fans of the line up will desperately want to hear.
(Online May 16, 2012)