Written by Alex Stojanovic
The Mask We Wear
When Mortal Coils Shed
Out Of Sight
At Mirror's Speech
Reap What You Sow
Beginning Of The End
Balance Of Time
Release Date: July 14, 2023
Label: Napalm Records
Ol Drake - Vocals & guitars / Ben Carter - Drums / Joel Graham - Bass / Adam Smith - Guitars
The title track opens the record, starting off with some rather dark clean notes and Ol Drake going more deeper and personal in the lyrics this time around. The title track tackles the fear and anxieties he faced when he became a father for the first time, and there's no doubt that many guys (and girls) will relate to this track, and there's also no doubt that the female he is referring to in the song is his daughter. Overall, the opening title track sends the message that The Unknown is a different Evile album. That message is only confirmed as we head into "The Mask We Wear" and "Monolith"; two stomping headbangers built for arenas. The huge amount of space between the drum beats make the grooves even bigger.
"When Mortal Coils Shed" is the most epic song to be found. While it's the ballad of the album, it's one that commands your attention. It brings back vibes of "In Memoriam", while being taken to the next level, with haunting clean guitars, spine-tingling vocal harmonies, a soaring chorus and a heavy bridge. People have often compared Matt Drake's clean vocals to James Hetfield's, but this comparison is going to be unavoidable when people hear Ol's cleans on this song. Now, after we've had four songs that are all in the slow and mid-tempo range, it leaves you wondering what could be lurking around the next corner.
Reaching the mid-point of the album, I know a lot of you will be going "WHERE'S THE THRASH?!" Now, fear not all you sensitive babies that just want Evile to play 500 MPH, because they still deliver. "Sleepless Eyes" and "Out Of Sight" will satisfy the thrash-hungry maniacs who are craving to "feel the adrenaline rush" and "jump into the pit" (come on, I had to do it). If there's one influence aside from Metallica that seems to be prevalent throughout most of the album, it's Pantera, and that's due to the slightly lower tuning in the guitars, and the slow to mid-tempo grooves on tracks like "Reap What You Sow" and "At Mirror's Speech". After all that groove, the album ends with one last dose of thrash on "Balance Of Time".
Since Hell Unleashed was a new beginning and a perfect opportunity to just go back to basics and unleash some pure unadultered thrash mayhem, The Unknown is the perfect opportunity to start expanding and going to different places musically now that they got their feet wet again and have more confidence going forward. The songwriting and the vocals have elevated considerably in the short two-year gap since Hell Unleashed, which is rather amazing when you think about it. There is obviously going to be a fair share of fans complaining about the shift in direction, while others will be embracing the shift, and others will also be wondering what this record would've sounded like if Matt Drake was still on vocals.
There's hardly anything to complain about on this record, because while there are more slower tempos, the production quality is still crushing, and it makes the songs sound heavy as hell. At this point, where it seems like Evile have done it all, they are capable of putting out a record that can keep the listener guessing as to what's coming with the next song, and either giving you what you expect, or surprising you with something very different. They've come a long way since Enter The Grave, and I can't wait to see where they go from here in terms of recognition and creativity.