As we’re living in dark and scary times, there’s nothing better than some first-class Scandinavian Melodic Death Metal to properly channel all that fear and rage inside.
If you think about how long it takes for some bands to get a foothold in the music business and to present themselves to countless fans worldwide, you should have a lot of respect for Finnish Melodic Death Metal outfit Evil Drive. Formed in 2013 in Kotka, a city located on the coast of the Gulf of Finland, by frontwoman Viktoria Viren, her husband and guitarist Ville Wiren (who also plays for Finnish Symphonic Power/Gothic Metal band Domination Black), and drummer Juha Beck, the aim was to set up a band which has not been previously heard. Thanks to the distinct background of each band member, incorporating many distinct musical styles into their compositions, they more than succeeded in their mission, sounding like a traditional Melodic Death Metal band with a twist of 80’s style Thrash Metal.
After the release of their self-titled debut EP, in 2013, and their first full-length album The Land of the Dead, in 2016, Evil Drive increased their live appearances and developed their skills and creative aspect, always working on new material and, consequently, resulting in their brand new full-length intallment Ragemaker. Not only the new album is a huge step forward in their already solid career, but the remarkable improvement in the performance by Viktoria, who expanded her range and made her vocals more colorful and haunting than ever before, together with the crisp and puissant guitar lines by newcomer J-P Pusa, turned the music in Ragemaker a lot more impressive and flammable than its predecessors. Thematically speaking, Ragemaker deals with the current situation of the world and denounces problem by problem, as we’re living in dark, scary times, always loyal to the foundations of Scandinavian Melodic Death Metal for our total delight.
Intro (The Rage Is Rising) is one of those modern, apocalyptic intros similar to what Arch Enemy love to do, setting the tone for their 2016 headbanging single Anti-Genocide, an amazing option to be the opener of their live gigs, led by the scorching riffs and solos by Ville and J-P before the red-haired banshee Viktoria comes ripping with her raspy growls. Evil Drive’s dynamic riffs keep burning our ears in The System Is Dead, with bassist Marko Syrjala together with Juha on drums building a solid background for Viktoria to shine with her gnarls, sounding close to the more contemporary albums by Arch Enemy; whereas in Fight to Die the band speeds up their pace and gets insanely aggressive thanks to the amazing job done by the band’s guitar duo with their riffs and solos, as well as Juha with his unstoppable beats. In other words, this is a song highly recommended to sing along with Evil Drive and slam into the circle pit during their live concerts.
Legends Never Die is their humble tribute to several deceased metal heroes such as Dio, Lemmy and Jeff Hanneman in the form of a power ballad, similar to what Kreator did in “Fallen Brother”. However, Viktoria’s clean vocals don’t really click, getting a bit cheesy after a while and therefore harming the final result considerably (despite the last part of the song getting a lot better). Then we have an incendiary fusion of Melodic Death Metal with more traditional Death Metal in the form of the title-track Ragemaker, the most badass, pulverizing and electrifying song of the entire album, led by the crushing drums by Juha while Ville, J-P and Marko smash their strings mercilessly, generating the perfect ambience for the demented growls by Viktoria; followed by Fire Is Her Name, a contemporary Melodic Death Metal tune where Viktoria acts as its main pillar, being effectively supported by the harmonious riffs by Ville and J-P. And the thrashy tune There Is No God lives up to the legacy of Scandinavian Melodic Death Metal, with its crushing drums and flammable guitars dictating the rhythm while Viktoria keeps firing her mesmerizing growls nonstop.
Run Through the Dark, a power ballad offering soulful solos, punchy bass lines and a dense atmosphere (which ends up turning it into the darkest song of the album), not only brings a melancholic and pensive vibe, but I wish “Legends Never Die” offered the same vocal style, a lot more dynamic and impactful, while in Suicide Nation the band once again increases their rage and electricity to a whole new level. Moreover, this is a straight-to-the-face, take-no-prisoners metallic hymn where the fiery guitars by Ville and J-P match perfectly with Viktoria’s demonic roars. And lastly, the icing on the cake in Ragemaker is presented as a kick-ass tribute to Rock N’ Roll titans Motörhead with a cover version for their all-time classic Killed by Death (check out this fantastic live version of this rockin’ hymn by Lemmy and his crew), with Evil Drive’s version being very melodic, punchy and entertaining from start to finish.
You can join the Evil Drive army by following them on Facebook, by watching their always fun videos on YouTube, and by purchasing Ragemaker from any of the options available at the Reaper Music official website, such as Record Shop X, iTunes and Amazon. Also, keep an eye on their website and Facebook page for their upcoming tour dates, as Evil Drive are more than eager to spread their furious and melodic metal music to all four corners of the earth. I’m sure you’ll love to feel that rage flowing inside your mind, as there’s nothing beter than the first-class music found in Ragemaker to keep your energy level high even while you’re facing the darkest and sciriest days of your everyday life.
Best moments of the album: Fight to Die, Ragemaker, Suicide Nation and Killed by Death.
Worst moments of the album: Legends Never Die.
Released in 2018 Reaper Entertainment
- Intro (The Rage Is Rising) 1:06
- Anti-Genocide 4:04
- The System Is Dead 5:17
- Fight to Die 4:01
- Legends Never Die 4:32
- Ragemaker 3:05
- Fire Is Her Name 3:42
- There Is No God 3:47
- Run Through the Dark 4:34
- Suicide Nation 3:46
- Killed by Death (Motörhead cover) 3:23
Viktoria Viren – vocals
Ville Wiren – guitars
J-P Pusa – guitars
Marko Syrjala – bass
Juha Beck – drums