Evil Invaders - Pulses of Pleasure
Napalm Records
80s-style Speed/Thrash Metal
9 songs (42' 9")
Release year: 2015
Napalm Records
Reviewed by Andy
Surprise of the month

In recent years we've seen a lot of old-school revival bands; death and black metal, 70s-style doom, crossover thrash, traditional heavy metal...but there's not quite as much homage to old-school speed metal. Maybe because speed metal was a stepping stone between older heavy metal sounds and the harsher sound of thrash that's not always appreciated by a younger generation? Just a guess. But if one is missing a modern album that pays tribute to the US speed metal of the 80s, Pulses of Pleasure will satisfy that need quite handily.

All the elements are there (except for the fact that the production sounds good, of course -- unlike most 80s speed metal bands, this doesn't sound like it got recorded in a broom closet). The guitar riffs drive the whole song with a wall of palm-muting and pinch harmonics, and vocalist/guitarist Joe does that alternating gruff shout/high scream that speed metal bands of the 80s did so well and so often. While Fast, Loud, 'n' Rude felt a bit too formulaic for my taste, the title track uses the same type of riffs to better effect, with some indulgent solos to boot, and Eclipse of the Mind's heartstopping shrieks that follow every halt in the thrashing riffs are also excellent. Siren sounds like it's going to be an instrumental, but slowly builds to a galloping song that is all-out devastating -- definitely one of my favorites, with Joe's vocals more grimly focused than usual -- when he's not screaming like his balls are in a slowly tightening vise, that is.

I have a soft spot for speed metal and the unquenchable enthusiasm of its sound, I'm the first to admit. If you want to like this one, you'll have to be as happy with the dated, 80s-style vocal delivery and expect harsh vocals to be just a few growls in between mostly clean vocals. But maybe that's not such a stretch; Gama Bomb fans will see a lot of resemblances to Philly Byrne's vocals (which themselves are a throwback to mid-80s thrash), and songs like Shot to Paradise, a driving track with the riffing going full throttle, are hard things not to start headbanging to. The retro on this album goes down as far as the track listing, in which a squeaking lead guitar solos for a couple minutes prior to the last track, Master of Illusion, which is even more guitar-driven. Wild soloing is everywhere and delightful to listen to, and the rhythm never lets up -- no mid-tempo pauses for Evil Invaders.

Not every song on here is amazing -- some of the ridiculousness of speed metal's golden age have made it into its modern descendant as well -- but the standouts on here make Pulses of Pleasure well worth the listen. Not everyone likes the idea of modern bands trying to recreate the sound of some of their older influences in the 80s, but in a world where most bands who played in this style have broken up or aged out of the scene, I find newcomers playing old-time speed metal to be quite welcome.

Killing Songs :
Eclipse of the Mind, Siren, Shot to Paradise, Master of Illusion
Andy quoted 84 / 100
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