Evil (Japan) – “Possessed By Evil” LP / CD / Cassette (Nuclear War Now! Productions)
Battle Helm Rating
Released by the aptly titled Nuclear War Now! Productions comes this amazing sophomore from Evil (Japan), which as you can tell is dedicated to evilness! Influenced by demons but equally Buddhism, the mind boggles, although nothing in comparison to the music, which incredibly mixes early 80s black / thrash along the lines of (early) Sodom and Sarcofago with NWOBHM and especially Iron Maiden, along with punk rock ‘n’ roll and even touches of hard rock – wow!!! However, if you’re still reading, then you’re in for a treat, because after a slew of split releases, their 2017 debut (also dedicated to evilness called “Rites Of Evil”!) and no less than 2 live albums, Evil (Japan)’s musicianship and composing are second to none, with the 12 tracks here as catchy as they are slashing and undoubtedly rocking in every regard. As the snare rips open ‘夜叉 Yaksa’, massive black death riffs blossom beautifully amid raw fretboard scaling as vocalist / guitarist Asura (ex-Significant Point (live), ex-Witchslaught (live)) drawls, wails and death grunts before tearing it up with a matching mayhemic solo – intense! Amid stormy and rain lashing atmospherics, Yaksa’s pumping kick drum sets the beat to ‘雷神 Raizin’, a NWOBHM rocker with plenty of teasing licks and hard rock warbling as Asura continues his black screamo before a fast drum break sets the song into a classic Maiden-esque gallop that messrs Murray, Stratton and Harris would be proud off right down to their guitar sounds – wow, not sure whether to complement or condemn Evil (Japan) on this one?! Double bass blasting in along with shredding guitars on ‘閻魔天 Enmaten’, the Celtic Frost avant-garde groove driven by dirty punk bass works a treat – although nothing can prepare you for the melodic guitar solo straight outta Sunset Strip (!) – before the song heads back into more demonic darkness – absolutely mental! Ending in the aptly titled ‘惡鼻達磨 Evil Way of Live’, the death ‘n’ roll riffs are colossal as they scythe into you while Asura roars and death grunts as the guitars continue their melodic touch along to some bluesy wails (!) before drum rolling off mid song to feedback, leading up to a mini bass solo and lengthier Maiden guitar solos – whoa, it’s epic man – and even if your tongue’s well into your cheek by the end of this album, there’s no denying the headbanger on this one!!!!