Deadlands - Evilution (Massacre Records)

Evilution is the debut album from Sacramento band, Deadlands. The members have a pedigree from a variety of previous bands, and some amazing guest musicians on board, and they’ve all come together “to write and produce their own brand of heavy metal….” Sadly, it’s not working.
Release Date: 
22 Feb 2013 (All day)

It should be said from the outset that Deadlands are technically proficient in every aspect of this album. It’s well-produced and the playing and vocal ability of the band members can’t be faulted. But that’s only the foundation on which an album is built. The real strength or weakness of any record is in the songwriting, the arrangement, the lyricism, the delivery, the passion and the originality. There’s nothing wrong with a band that builds its sound by paying homage to what came before – after all, my last review was for Mortillery’s new one, Origin of Extinction, and that was all about how they compare to their influences. But where Mortillery brought something new and passionate to their sound, Deadlands don’t.

There’s not really anything here that stands out and sets them apart. There’s a vanilla metal vibe throughout this album, a kind of blandness that borders on the mundane.

Track 3, Ground and Pound, has moments of innovation that hint at what this band could be capable of if they applied that thinking throughout the record. But they don’t. And even that track only has moments.

As a reviewer it’s often easier to explain what’s right with a release than what’s wrong, and this is a prime example. There’s nothing technically wrong with Evilution – it’s proficient and well-made. But there’s no spark of something special underneath, no shine that sets it apart and says, “This is why you need to be a Deadlands fan!”

I guess the easiest way to describe it is that it’s not bad, it’s just ordinary, bordering on the boring.

And some really strange things happen, like at the end of track 4, Final Solution. The track ends with a fade out, then there’s a second of silence, then a quick lead guitar noodle for about three or four seconds. Then it moves onto the next track. What’s that all about? If it came after a dead stop rather than a fade out, it might make more sense.

As for that next track, She’s On Fire, the lyrics seems almost juvenile – “She’s on fire/fire down below/Shit, watch her go!” with overdubbed woman-making-sexual-moaning-sounds like something off a Meatloaf album from the 80s. To be honest, most of the lyrics are either juvenile or faintly ridiculous. So the only time this album isn’t being kinda boring is when it’s being really clichéd. Or when it’s both boring and a cliché.

Maybe I’m being too harsh. I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who will dig this album. Deadlands try to combine thrash, power and speed metal and technically they do an okay job of it. But those are some of my favourite metal styles and this album is best summed up for me as: Meh.