Not sure why we’re reviewing this as Evo clearly is a man who genuinely won’t give a fuck what I think (quite right too). Maybe the record company wants us to say nice things. Will I? We’ll…
Evo, last name I always assumed being Stick, the man with the mirror-shades surgically attached. Erstwhile drummer and mastermind behind the absolute racket produced by metal punk pioneers Warfare. Back in the 80s they really were pushing metal well out of its comfort zone with their Pure Filth debut and I still remember the look of absolute horror on the face of a rock dj when I persuaded him to play the drunken, noise/mess jam/fuck about with Venom that was ‘The Rose Petals Fall From Her Face’. A nice ballad with heartfelt lines like ‘… suck the diarrhoea from your tights… “. Oh happy days…
Anyway, this is 2017. Twenty five years on from Warfare the band with only an EP with Algy Ward since he turns up with an album where he plays everything apart from a couple of guest guitar slots. Why now? Because he wanted to I guess. What did I expect? Probably to be kicked in the nuts and have my ageing body jumped up and down on. What did I get? Yeah all that, and a couple of real surprises but in a really good way.
To begin with, opener ‘Screaming At The Sea’ is a spoken word thing with some serious, and seriously good, words to say about the past and the passage of time. About reckless youth and growing old. We’ll in one moment that’s all my preconceptions batted aside.
And while I’m looking the other way and pondering all this, Cemetery Dirt kicks me in the nuts and jumps up and down on my ageing body! Bastard. It’s a great, fresh and energetic stomp too, ripping into religion with real bile in Eva’s snarling voice and a superb punked up riff. ‘Misanthropy’ follows, another speeding, hard as nails song with added guitar from a certain Mr Fast Eddie Clarke. It veers in and out of classic metal and back to punk effortlessly and Evo’s touch on the throttle is just seamless.
There’s lots of references to Warfare, of course, nods with songs like Pure Filth (which is), but it’s there burning, smouldering conviction that just pushes everything over the edge. Lend an ear to the superb ‘This Man Bleeds Hate’, with our second guest guitarist in the form of Anvil’s Lips. A punk riff with metal breaks and utterly seething vocals.
You know, this is superbly energetic and spiteful album. It’s a Staffie that’s been kicked one too many times and turns round to deliver a much deserved bite. The production is nice and hard, and I have to say I love the loose, flapping in the wind bass on here. The riffs are punk as hell, but that metal clad sound glistens too. Real crossover. The real deal.
I can’t leave without mentioning the extraordinary closing song. ‘Stardust’. If you’re as ancient as me, you will have a real “What the fuck? ” moment as the unmistakable strains of the seventies David Essex film song rise up. But the treatment here is…bleak, cynical and just brilliant. A perfect bookend to the opener.
I gotta say this is a bit of a triumph for Evo. This is not a tired retread or last attempt at a cash-in. He is back on his terms, holding a clenched fist chock full of individual songs. Deadly serious, angry and full of bile, emotional songs. Even the humour here is dark and poignant. Really, this deserves a lot of attention.
Bloody glad he wanted to do this ‘cos it screams.