Deadlands - Evilution 3.5/5

Reviewed: 5-1-13





Tracklist:

1. Pandemic genocide
2. Deadlands
3. Ground and pound
4. Final solution
5. She’s on fire
6. Asphyxiate the masses
7. Path we’ve chosen
8. Gone wrong
9. Legions of the damned
10. Shed my skin


Forming in 2010 is a relatively new band coming out of Sacramento, California in the U.S. called Deadlands. Featuring a group of seasoned veterans of the metal scene, the band is comprised of bassist Steve Northam, drummer Dan Sablan, guitarists Kevin Rohr/Michael Gardner and vocalist Brian O’Connor (ex-Vicious Rumors).

Playing a furious forging of west coast power metal and modern thrash, the boys from California at times throughout the CD sound a bit like the thrash and hardcore metal bands past and present from the east coast of the U.S., portraying a bold Los Angeles swagger but with the grittiness of the hardened New York metal scene, Deadlands combines the 2 area’s characteristics in an energetic styling all their own with frenzied hooks, groove-filled riffs and heavy thrash cords.

Deadlands’ debut release is entitled ‘Evilution’, and scoring a deal just like that with Massacre Records for worldwide distribution, things seem to be going from good to better for the band who were nominated for a 2012 Sacramento Area Music Award (SAMMIES) and shared the stage with bands such as Exodus, Anvil, Y&T, Great White and Death Angel. Another boost to the interest and anticipation of ‘Evilution’ is the appearances of 7 guest guitarists, including Hank Shermann (Mercyful Fate), Michael Denner (ex-King Diamond/ex-Mercyful Fate), Andy LaRocque (King Diamond) and Steve Smyth (ex-Dragonlord/ex-Nevermore/ex-Vicious Rumors).

Song-wise, it is pretty much what you’d expect from a thrash/power metal band, with traditional topics about war, the government and the ever-looming doom of mankind dominating the lyrics from start to finish. Quite ego-driven and also anti-government (aren’t all thrash bands?), ‘Evilution’ doesn’t really bring anything new to the 2 prong genre combination, however the CD is full of sizzling top-notch tracks that contain speedy riffs, groove-filled chords and excellent raspy dark-tinged angry vocals by Brian O’Connor.

Despite Deadlands falling into the same problem that has confronted most thrash bands since the birth of the genre in the early 80s – which is a slight lack of diversity and a tendency to always retain the same predictable structures with every song, ‘Evilution’ is still a solid CD that will keep the avid thrash metal fan happy, as well as American power metal bands. Standout scorching tracks include the pulverising “Ground and pound” and “Asphyxiate the masses”, plus groove-filled power metal tinged tracks like “Path we’ve chosen” and “Legions of the damned”, and lastly the pummelling kick-ass track “Final solution”, where patriotic Americans can beat their chests and chant U-S-A to.

Overall, ‘Evilution’ is a very good thrash/power metal crossover CD if you love your furiously guitar driven metal bands, plus the inclusion of the guest guitarists laying out supreme solos on selected tracks puts another tick on the scoresheet. If bands like Exodus, early Iced Earth, early Anthrax, Testament and Overkill are what you live and breathe, then Deadlands will be a nice addition to your metal collection.



SEAN




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