Evile – KK’s Steel Mill, Wolverhampton – 21st Feb 2022

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After a weekend of record-breaking storms in the UK, Wolverhampton is not to be allowed any respite as a whirlwind of thrash metal touches down at KK’s Steel Mill. Evile, accompanied by Divine Chaos and Tortured Demon is a showcase of some of this country’s finest face-melters, and we’re down the front ready for the action.

It may be a Monday night, but that isn’t going to stop Oldham’s Tortured Demon from getting the evening off with a bang. We are tucked away in the smaller room at KK’s for the more intimate gig experience tonight, but plenty of punters have made the effort to get down early to catch this thrashcore trio.

There are quite a few Tortured Demon t-shirts to be seen in the crowd and it’s clear that these guys are familiar to most people in attendance. These guys may be the three most fresh-faced chaps in the building, but they are making waves quickly in the live scene and building a momentum that looks to be unstoppable at the moment.

It’s hard to pigeon-hole Tortured Demon (not that we have to) as they mix up thrash, groove and more melodic elements up in their own special concoction. The groove and brutality certainly resembles a throwback to the mid-nineties; reminiscent of early Machine Head and Pantera. And it’s this element that impresses us the most about this sickeningly young band.

Lead vocals and guitars are handled by Jacob Parkinson, who despite his double duty still manages some serious head banging and wind-milling off his hair. His vocal style is often similar to that of a young Matt Heafy, back in the screaming days, which is another big tick in the box for us.

Tracks like Cold Blood are delivered with venomous enthusiasm and even though the crowd takes some warming up, you can tell that this display is not falling on deaf ears. Everyone is appreciating this lot and can see that they have potential to ignite a crowd with their bludgeoning racket.

They save the best for last as A Knee To The Face Of Corruption leaves us in no doubt who Tortured Demon are and what they are about. What a start!

Deep red lighting glows across the room as the mighty Divine Chaos are up next. The five-piece swamp the cosy second stage here in the Steel Mill but waste no time in hitting us with their brutal brand of death-thrash.

Frontman Jut Tabor is a big presence, both in stature and in the vocal department. He looks part man, part hulk as he furrows his brow and barks his death roar into the faces of the front row. The remainder of the band fight for their own space around Tabor as they unleash the colossal noise that the band deliver by the truckload.

It’s a close contest but Divine Chaos are just about the heaviest band on the bill tonight and they drag a few pits and plenty of moshing out of a tough Monday night crowd.

Divine Chaos are a ferocious beast who go straight for the throat but they also have their more melodic moments too. Murder For Sale is both anthemic and catchy and we even have a few handclaps going in the crowd at certain points.

Both Tortured Demon and Divine Chaos put on a great performance and we’d gladly come back anytime to see either band headline a show here. No doubt, we probably will, but tonight is about the return of one of our favourite bands.

New waves of this, a new breed of that and various other trends and fashions come and go in metal, but it’s great to see that Evile are a (nearly) constant on our timeline. The band came back last year with a tweaked line-up plus the brilliant new album Hell Unleashed and they look set to reign supreme on their throne as the Kings of UK thrash metal.

The band are all smiles as they hit the stage and rip straight into the superfast Paralysed from the aforementioned 2021 album. A decluttering of the stage has allowed Evile a little more space to roam around in and the band seem in a fine mood as they criss-cross from side to side.

Ol Drake and new guitarist Adam Smith trade riffs in light-hearted guitar battles and seem to have gelled together well since the line-up change. Joel Graham also wears a big grin at stage right as he appears to be a tornado of hair and bass as the band belt out their career spanning set.

At the back as always, Ben Carter – complete with backwards baseball cap – destroys the drums to round off Huddersfield’s most crushing sons.

Last time we saw Evile, they were laying waste to the SOPHIE Stage at Bloodstock ’21. That was very early days for Ol taking over as lead singer. It’s a role he’s obviously settled into comfortably now as they approach the end of their first UK tour with this line-up.

The always haunting ballad of In Memoriam sees Ol really sounding like Matt Drake, who originally sang the song. Probably not too surprising as they are brothers, but further proof that he is fitting the frontman role perfectly.

What follows a mellow track? A big thrashtastic one, obviously. Hell Unleashed is a track that really gets the crowd going as a mini circle pit erupts briefly on the floor. The new material keeps coming with Gore proving to be a winner in the live setting too.

We’re also treated to highlights from the band’s back catalogue over the evening. A chance for audience participation comes with the opportunity to shout “Cult” at the top of our lungs. “That’s spelt C.U.L.T.” Ol confirms for those who are unsure!

A deep-cut in the form Descend Into Madness is a nice addition to the set with its driving riffs, but nothing quite compares to the ultimate Evile anthem; the mighty Thrasher opens up another pit as the Monday ‘library crowd’ instantaneously starts to move and make it feel (briefly) like a Friday night.

It’s a victorious night on all counts. From fresh UK talent making inroads and gathering up new fans with ease to a return of our more established heroes; everyone is a winner. All three bands put on a show to remember on a bill that is one hell of an advert for homegrown heavy metal.

Check out more pictures from the night below:

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