Wednesday 8 March 2023

EVILLEAF ~ SLOW BURN ..... review

North Carolina's EvilLeaf are a five piece combo consisting of Sara Sage (vocals/keys); Evil Wes McCumbee (rhythm guitar); Maurice Francis (lead guitar); Matt White (bass) and Derrick Moore (drums), a band somewhat in their infancy, given they only got together in 2021. Despite their short tenure as a band EvilLeaf boast a maturity of sound many more established band would give their right arms for, a sound that blends sludgy low ends rhythmic grooves with fuzzy desert riffs, scorching blues flecked solos and vocals that alternate between fey and ethereal and harsh and demonic , all of which can be heard gracing their very impressive debut EP "Slow Burn"

"Disquiet" opens proceedings, a perfectly balanced blend of bluesy swagger and occult flavoured rock built around a big circular riff anchored down by booming bass and tight solid drums, so far so good we hear you say but then in come Sage's vocals and take things to a whole other level, her vocal here is powerful clean and edged with an endearing grittiness which as the song progresses becomes more and more pronoounced  Second song "Folium Messis" is a brief instrumental interlude that allows Sage to show off her prowess on keyboards and is quickly followed up by "Summoned By Smoke" a slow burning but nonetheless rocking tune that has the feel of a torch song due in part to Sage's classically trained vocal, which is soaring and powerful, but also due to McCumbee and Francis' guitar textures, which are a mix of crunchy metal riffage and searing bluesy lead, White's bass and Moore's drums the glue holding it all together."Tenebris" is up next and here we find the band mixing into their bluesy occult flavoured grooves a touch of metallic vocal harshness, Sage showing us that even the classically trained can find their inner demons if needed. EvilLeaf brings things to a close with title track "Slow Burn" a pretty apt title when you consider that the majority of songs on display here possesses a slow burning dynamic, for this tune Sage once again alternates her vocals between ethereal crooning and demonic snarling but it is Francis eastern tinted guitar solos' that are the real star of this particular song.

There was a period when you could not throw a stone without hitting an occult themed rock band fronted by a female vocalist, bands like Blood Ceremony, Witch Mountain, The Devil's Blood and Kroh seemed to be popping up every other day, Things seems to have slowed down somewhat these days and those type of bands seem to be a little thinner on the ground so its good to see a band like EvilLeaf emerging to relight the beacon. EvilLeaf are not quite in the same league as those band mentioned YET but if they stick together and continue releasing EP's and albums of the quality of "Slow Burn" then it will not be long before they are.
Check 'em out ..... 

© 2023 Frazer Jones

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