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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

Livin' Evil

Prayers And Torments

Review by Gary Hill

I don't think I had ever heard of this band before, although this is their reincarnation. I had no real expectations for this album for that reason. I knew it was metal, but that was about it. Well, I was blown away. This will almost certainly make my best of 2023 list, and will probably be my favorite metal album of the year These guys create a sound that calls to mind a lot of different acts and genres, but they do it all in a unique way. Probably the most impressive parts here are the extended instrumental sections that they manage to work into just about everything on the album. All in all, I really love this disc so much.

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Track by Track Review
The Tree Of Evil
This introductory piece runs just a little over a minute long. It's trippy, spacey and atmospheric, but there are some creepy spoken vocals in the mix.
Another Preacher Of Satan
They fire out from the previous piece with a powerhouse metal tune that has almost a thrash element along with things like Iron Maiden. When it shifts that Maiden element is really in the driver's seat. There is a cool, more purely melodic groove movement later. That part also has some Maiden-like vibes, but more of a pure rock and less metal element, too. That part also includes some tasty melodic guitar soloing. It explodes upward toward more pure metal as the guitar really screams outward. They work that into an instrumental section that makes me think of early Rush as much as it does Iron Maiden. When non-lyrical vocals come over the top of that ,the Maiden thing takes command.
Behind The Light
This is another track that takes me back to the early days of Iron Maiden. It has that kind of energy, guitar riffing and even vocals. It's another powerhouse metal stomper. As strong as the previous music here was, I think this is even better. Just listen to that bass work. It's awesome, but so is everything else about this song. It's like coming across some long lost Maiden gem. There are some killer twists and turns on this thing, too.
Through The Night
The intro on this is intricate and intriguing. That gives way to the entrance of the more pure metal concepts. This works out into another killer metal stomper. There are some real edgy moments. The first guitar solo part takes us toward neo-classical technical territory at times. The second goes completely in that direction. This is another with some smoking hot changes.
A Song For A Dead Man
More melodic textures start this, but the cut quickly shifts toward more powerhouse metal zones. This feels like a merging of NWOBHM with thrash and underground metal. It's another winner on disc without a lot of filler. It drops to a melodic movement later that even makes me think of some of the more psychedelic side of early Judas Priest.
Illusory Dreams
Nearly a minute-and-a-half long, this is more trippy weirdness like the opener of the album. There are voices on this, too. For some reason, this makes me think of Hawkwind just a little.
Smile Of The Knife
More of a raw straightforward metal sound gets us going here. They march forward in line with early Metallica. This has some almost punky edges. It's more of the underground NWOBHM vein. There is some killer guitar soloing here, and the cut seems about ready to break into a full thrash treatment when it ends.
Melodic and intricate guitar work gets us going here. That holds it for a time before they turn it more raw and crunchy. This evolves into quite the dynamic and powerhouse metal number. There is some killer guitar pyrotechnics in the extended instrumental section.
Step Into A Blaze Of Fire
Nearly proggy acoustic guitar work gets things going here. After that ends bass takes over before the rest of the band jump in with a full metal treatment. This works through some changes in fine fashion over its run. The killer guitar work on the closing instrumental section is on fire.
Indians Cry
Here we get another screamer that calls to mind Iron Maiden to a good degree. These guys just don't let up. This is another stomper that works so well. As is the case with pretty much everything here, they make great use of extended instrumental movements to really showcase killer metal sounds and styles.
I love the unusual and cool jam that opens this. It has some great bass work. Then they take it out to another part that has an almost early Rush angle to it from there. This just keeps getting rebuilt until it gives way to the vocal section. Early underground metal is a big reference point here. They take us through some amazing changes as this continues, and it does get into more Maidenesque zones at times.
Dreadful Fate
A killer hard rocking riff brings this song into being. It takes on more of a pure metal vein as the opening scream hits. From there we're taken into underground metal meets NWOBHM territory. This thing is purely on fire. As they take it through various movements, they drop it to a killer psychedelic meets prog jam later. The bass is a big part of the arrangement on that. A dramatic vocal section emerges over that movement. That eventually gives way to a pounding metal movement and more changes ensue. We get some scorching hot guitar soloing for a short time.
Lyrical Agony
Here we get another slab of the kind of metal we've come to expect here. That's not to say that this is getting tired or redundant, but by this point you do have an idea of what you are going to get. I can make out some hints of King Diamond on the mix here. That has actually been a minor reference throughout much of the album, but it seems more so on this track. There is some powerhouse instrumental work on the extended closing section of this.
Epitaph For A Singular Friend

Frantic and furious, but also intricate, metal brings this into being. It has some neo-classical elements at play. This works to a more NWOBHM meets thrash kind of movement for the song proper. The instrumental section later includes some melodic guitar soloing that gets into classical territory. There is a unique movement where it drops to an intriguing arrangement built on bass and drums. The vocals return there, and then the guitar some in after. There is an almost world music vibe to some of the jamming that ensues right at the end.

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