I have to admit I felt a bit cheated once I got to understand the jigsaw-evolution the band has followed through the years.
Yup, 2001 has given birth to another EBONY TEARS-record and yet again, it doesn't sound much like it's predecessors. I believe evolution in a band is a good thing, a sign of creativity and of growth. But mankind didn't jump from being monkey to being human in 5 years. On the other hand, EBONY TEARS has changed so much that each time I hear a new record [like with this 3rd offering], I briefly stop and wonder if I'm listening at the right band. I guess in E.T.'s case [not the Extra-Terrestrial], these changes were a good thing. Kinda.
"Evil As Hell", despite its crappy title is a great album. It packs more crunch, more Thrash and more kicks than any previous effort and once more, the bar has been raised.
Right away I must warn you. I don't know what the heck happened to Johnny Wranning between "A Handful Of Nothing" and "Evil As Hell", but his vocals have completely changed. They really don't have that Black Metal-ish edge anymore, they've migrated to a more Death-y tone much like on "Involuntary Existence", the fifth track from their 1997 debut album "Tortura Insomniae". This is bad. To me, Wranning had one of the most interesting [and painfully screechy] voices in European Metal that I know of. Fortunately, though I did want to return the album to the record store as soon as I heard the new vox [true story], I got used to them after 3-4 spins and now I guess they are "okay". After you have taken care of tolerating and accepting the new vocals, this record is pure sugar.
What you get is a shovel-full of heavy riffs [often performed at lightspeed], bouncy melodic leads and don't-stop-hitting-that-snare-baby drums during 40 minutes non-stop. You can expect several tempo changes, from break-necking [er, neck-breaking I mean] speedy bridges to loud and slow solos. The recipe is similar to "A Handful Of Nothing", but it just sounds so damn brutal. Try picturing yourself being backstabbed by a psycho with a chainsaw. Imagine as the rusted rotating blades dig into your spine and the psycho pushes his weapon further into your flesh. Now THAT's what I'm talking about. When you feel the chain vibrating through your bones, you can get a good idea of what "Evil As Hell" is all about. *cough*
My fav track is probably the second one. It's called "Soulcrusher" and it's just so powerful. With lyrics line like "I pull the trigger to ease your mind, I gave you Heaven instead of boredom", how can you not like such a song? Oh and that track features one of the best headbanging moments of 2001, during the solo.
Whether you're already a fan of EBONY TEARS or you've never heard of these guys doesn't matter, this is one of the great albums released last year.