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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

Evil United

Honored by Fire

Review by Gary Hill

Based in Texas, these guys create some seriously extreme metal. This really rocks. I have to say that I’m not the biggest fan of that type of music, but this is pretty infectious. There are also only a couple moments where it suffers a bit from an overused formula. Beyond that, they change things up enough to keep interesting. Of course, several of the members of the band have some serious pedigrees, so that has to contribute to it. The band is made up of: singer Jason McMaster (Watchtower, Broken Teeth, Dangerous Toys), bassist Don Van Stavern (Riot, S.A.Slayer), drummer Shakes West (Murderdolls, Wednesday 13, Neurotica, Sebastian Bach), and guitarists T.C. Connally (PB/DC, Cult to Follow) and John Valenzuela (PB/DC, Urial, Mortician).

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2014  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Dead Can See

This powers in extremely heavy and works through several changes before the vocals join. The extreme metal vocals don’t work all that well for me, but they are okay. There are some more melodic vocal sections at times, though. There are bits of the vocal performance that make me think of King Diamond.

Caesar
More of a thrash song, this is a real powerhouse. I like this one better than I do the opener. That said, it’s not like I didn’t like that song – I did. This is just stronger yet.       
Ripping Flesh
More of a screamo song, this is furious number. It’s fast paced and energetic with a really fiery sound. This is extremely heavy.
Grave
This is a short instrumental. Almost the first minute is strictly acoustic. Then some melodic electric guitar enters to soar over the top of that. This is great stuff. It reminds me of early Metallica.   
Tomb Spawn
We’re back into the fast and the furious on this screamer. I’m reminded a bit of Black Sabbath, but taken to the extreme level. The instrumental section reinforces that turbo charged Sabbath comparison. It really screams. The fast paced instrumental section later in the track is particularly cool. There are moments there that seem to call to mind Iron Maiden and others that make me think of Yngwie Malmsteen. 
Ab Initio
This fairly short instrumental is heavy and definitely metal. It’s also quite melodic.
Mind over Pain
More extreme metal pounding, this is not bad, but the formula is starting to get a little tiresome.
Ghost Crushed
The bass opens this one up with a killer little solo. From there we get into a thrashier kind of jam. This is thrashier and manages to avoid the monolithic element in part because of the killer off-kilter riffing driving the piece. There are some unusual shifts and turns later in the number, too.
The Cottage
This is an intricate and quite pretty acoustic guitar solo. It’s melodic and provides a nice respite from the fury of much of the set.
Bloody Water
We’re back into the extreme metal modes here. This has some powerhouse moments, but does suffer a bit from the “sameness factor.” Still, the more mainstream rock guitar solo is a nice touch.
Unlisted Track

There’s a short bit of sound effects that follows “Bloody Water.”

Unlisted Track (“Gulty”)
While this track isn’t listed on the CD cover, the CD player says that it’s called “Guilty.” It comes in fairly mellow, dark and ominous. It’s melodic and grows upward gradually. This instrumental is quite classy.
 
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