Evile’s Ol Drake on resistance to progress, overtaking Hetfield Hetfield and the bloody taste of thrash


You know your band is a double of the classic ’80s thrash metal bands when one of your songs is posted on YouTube every year under the title “New Metallica Song 20xx”, and people believe it.

In reality, the recurring song is Underground world, the flagship track from the 2013 album of the famous British speed metal Evile, Skull. “Every year it gets millions of views and people are like, ‘Oh my god James Hetfield sounds great!’” Says guitarist and now Evile singer Ol Drake. “It’s pretty funny.”

Since the group’s debut in 2007 on Earache Records, Enter the tomb, Evile has kept a stranglehold on its reputation for keeping the sound of vintage thrash alive in the modern age. In the four albums following the debut, including the current version, Hell unleashed, Evile always made sure to give their fans exactly what they wanted; you might think of Evile as the equivalent of AC / DC’s millennial thrash metal.

“Look, nobody wants to hear us progress,” Drake said. “They just want to hear from Slayer.” [Laughs]

Evile may be almost mistakenly consistent with their relentless style of precision thrashing, but the same can’t be said for their lineup, which has undergone significant changes in recent times.

When I had to record the demos at home, just me shouting into a microphone, I quickly noticed that I could feel blood in my throat

In August 2013, Drake – who was the band’s lead guitarist alongside his brother Matt, a rhythm guitarist and lead vocalist since Evile’s days playing covers in the early 2000s – left the band for personal reasons. He returned in October 2018, finished writing music for Hell unleashed in July 2019 – and soon after, it was Brother Matt’s turn to leave the band.

Ol now being Evile’s only Drake, he was tasked with writing the lyrics for the music he had written and took it upon himself to step up to the microphone to take over the vocal tasks. As a first-time lead singer, Drake struggled with his new role early in creation. Hell unleashed.

“When I had to record the demos at home, just me shouting into a microphone, I quickly noticed that I could feel the taste of blood in my throat. I’m still learning to sing.

Drake, who recorded the majority of Hell unleashed with his handmade Carillion Flying V style guitar and a 50 watt EVH 5150III amp – “It just sounded better and cut more than the larger version” – is adamant about the strength of a metal record from the new album . “I would go so far as to say it’s the best thrash metal album of the last 20 years.”

  • Hell unleashed is out now via Napalm Records.


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