I’ve been following the career of Calgary’s Throne of Vengeance since a chance meeting with them in the summer of 2011 while they were on their first cross-Canada tour and visiting Dundas, Ontario. I was having a nice quiet lunch with my wife in a pub and our server, knowing me to be a metal fan, suggested we give directions for a local attraction to a group of metal looking ‘kids’ before we left. We struck up a conversation and the rest is history as they say. In fact it’s unlikely that I would know any of the folks here at Extreme Metal Television without that chance meeting taking place and subsequent trips to Calgary to explore the local metal scene.
At the time TOV had just released their first full-length album and were touring it accordingly. I became a fan of the band after making the effort to see them live and giving that album, “Flesh Engine”, repeated listens in my kick-ass Behringer studio monitors. Let’s be clear about one thing though: while I consider the band and its management friends they know fully well that if they release shit product I’ll be the first to tell them so and review it as such. Thus I have to admit to having some seriously sweaty palms when it came to this new release, “Live Evil”. You see, I really, really liked the previous album and I was worried that this next disc would fall short. Thanks be to God, that didn’t happen!
“Live Evil” is a natural progression in the band’s heavy sound which is best described as a riff driven nod to the NWOBHM movement of the early through mid ‘80’s. This isn’t to say that the band sounds dated or lacks present-day relevance but rather that they joyously pay homage to their influences while creating their own distinctive sound. The end result is an all too short 7 song, 32 minute metal joyride that left me wanting more, much more and perhaps that is a good thing. In this respect “Live Evil” reminds me of the recent Todd LaTorre-led Queensryche album that also clocked in at around the 30 minute mark – neither release suffers from the presence of indifferent filler tracks.
A word on the album title is in order. When I first received it for review I contacted the band’s manager Damien Mustaphi by Facebook message and told him that the title puzzled me. “Dude, the album is neither live nor particularly evil,” I remarked. Damien explained that lead singer and guitarist Tommy Shakes chose the title because it is a ‘palindrome’, a word that is the same backwards and forwards; it appears that the band hopes to catch an eye or two in the marketplace with the use of that device.
The album features new lead-guitarist Brady Side, a veteran of the Calgary scene who can shred with the best of ‘em. Brady’s lead work and contribution to the writing process makes this album tighter and avoids the previous release’s tendency of the riffage to ramble on occasion. The band’s rhythm section manned by the Cobb brothers Riley (bass) and Trevor (drums) does the job admirably keeping the shit tight as hell.
Listing highlights is difficult on a release with only 7 tracks but it is worth noting again that there are no lowlights and no filler tracks – each song is a mighty entity unto itself and worthy of your ears. My personal favourite is the second track, “All In The Way” whose chorus features an infectiously memorable declining riff, some great gang vocals and perhaps the album’s best lead work.
Reverend Rock’s Rating: 88/100 – well worth your time and money.
Live Evil Production Credits:
Produced and Mixed by Paul Sabu
Mastered by Andy Ericson
Engineered by Ian Dillon at Electric Park Studio
Album Artwork by Jeff Haugjord of Free Hand Leather Works & Design
Album Design and Layout by Damien Mustaphi of Indie403
Disc Design by Jenilee Cathcart of Rare Impact Design