Nima : Three years ago this Finnish formation around vocalist Viktoria Viren made a strong debut with ’The Land Of The Dead’ . The band came with melodic, modern death/thrash and traditional heavy metal that was heavily influenced by the well-known Swedish style. The band was immediately, and with good reason, compared to Arch Enemy. However, the influences from compatriots Children Of Bodom, which most of all had to do with the combination of traditional guitars and aggressive vocals, was also almost inevitable. Fortunately the lady and gentlemen could also compete with these bands qualitatively.
The second LP, ‘Ragemaker’, is simply a continuation of the debut. But the band has indeed obviously progressed on all fronts and has lifted everything to a higher level. What strikes most about the new material is that the melodies have gained more space and that the guitars play an even bigger role. The songs are simply chugged with catchy riffs and even more guitar melodies that are almost constantly present. Don’t get me wrong though, because despite the increased amount of melodies the music is not one bit less heavy or less aggressive. Even more so, the total picture is more furious than before and especially Viren sounds a lot angrier, meaner and more aggressive. And again they have managed to keep it all well balanced and therefore versatile in general. Eight from the nine tracks (the intro not included) are powerful compositions. The only track that doesn’t apply to me whatsoever is ‘Legends Never Die’; a thirteen a dozen (semi-)ballad in which Viren also sets in her clean voice. This lady proves that she has a beautiful, feminine voice, and can definitely sing. Unfortunately here the band sounds like dozens of other bands with a female vocalist and to me the song is just another boring, weak piece that disturbs the albums power and flow. I simply find it utterly terrible. During the second half of the song the piece fortunately changes over into a real Evil Drive tune, but it is not enough – for me at least – to save the song.
Fortunately the rest of the songs, that in general pound delightfully, and especially faster tracks such as ‘Fight To Die’, ‘Suicide Nation’ and the title track are indeed rather convincing. The production has turned out more powerful and clearer, due to which the album has more impact than the debut in general. Along with the original composition the album also contains a cover version of the Motörhead-classic ‘Killed By Death’; a decent version, but one that could have been left out as far as I’m concerned. I mean, it can never be as good as the original and all in all it also doesn’t have that much of an added value. Anyway, all in all ‘Ragemaker’ is a solid record that proves that Evil Drive has the necessary means in order to compete with big ones such as Arch Enemy and co. on an international level. Thanks to the popularity of this type of modern, melodic thrash/death at the moment, Evil Drive may be able to reach the top of the genre, if promoted accordingly. Definitely a band to keep an eye on.