EVIL ARMY, I, Commander (2013, Hells Headbangers)
We’ve seen this motif before, the guns, the helmet, the sneering grin of a skull so maniacal that no rubbery flesh could corral the madness within. War, violence, insanity…we’ve seen all that before too. The simplistic stencil-logo and bored-in-study-hall drawing for the album cover. Been there, done that. Is there nothing left for a skull to do that a skull hasn’t already done zillions of times before? We have to wonder if the music is going to illuminate us in a way this cover definitely does not. We have our doubts.
This is a three-song 7″ release, each song borrowing heavily from Persecution Mania-era Sodom. Tight, rabid riffs, dive-bombing solos, artillery-fire drumming, and caustic vocals that spit fire just like Tom Angelripper. It’s adequate, and the part of me that totally loves Persecution Mania has to give this a pass. The record is well-rounded, the playing full of passion and ability, the writing better than most playing at this game. Shades of Tankard and At War are heard too, but really, it’s 99% worship of a very specific era of a very specific band. It’s a cool, compact eight minutes and 17 seconds. By third song “I Must Destroy You,” you kind of have to laugh to yourself at the ridiculously single-minded purpose here, like, “This is all you’ve got?” — even if what they’ve got is pretty good. I’d be real surprised if each of the members of Tennessee’s Evil Army didn’t have at least three different iterations of Persecution Mania in their collection.
— Friar Wagner