By Gary Wright
Green Death 'Manufacturing Evil' (2015)
Green Death is a 5-piece thrash metal/death metal/horror metal/power metal/hard rock (phew!) band from Des Moines, Iowa. They have a broad range of musical output, including everything from deathly stadium rock to the darkest blackened thrash metal, and everything in-between.
The band's second album, 'Manufacturing Evil', released in 2015, is the follow-up to their earlier acclaimed debut release, 'The Deathening' (2013). Recorded at The Establishment Recording, in Des Moines, Iowa (owned and run by Griffin Landa, currently touring bassist for Massachusetts' deathcore band The Acacia Strain), this album has shown that the band has evolved since that first release, have honed their abilities and style and are now offering something much more solid and proficient. 'Manufacturing Evil' is a 9-track embodiment of horror, only just over a minute short of being half-an-hour long, that encompasses dark balladic moments right through to sheer thrashy greatness. Let's not play down how good this album actually is. Within just days of its release, it gained many awards including, but not limited to, reaching No.51 in the UK iTunes metal album chart, No.17 in the iTunes metal albums charts, No.1 best seller in Amazon's thrash and speed metal category, and No.1 best seller in Amazon's death metal category.
Sol Bales' vocals are nothing short of incredible. He somehow manages to woo audiences with his clear, powerful voice when performing anthemic numbers... only to turn off the charm and become nothing short of demonic for the heavier, faster, cascades of thrash and death metal. This guy can touch a soul so delicately only to turn around and rip your throat out. His vocals have most certainly developed since the first album, as on some songs it's hard to tell if it's him doing the death metal-influenced vocals or Des Moines' veteran Anders Colsefni (ex-Slipknot, ex-Painface)... who did in fact guest appear on the previous album and a previous EP. Erich Tran and Mark Reinking, on lead and rhythm guitars, respectively, are true thrash-mongers and can be heard shredding and tearing it up as well as any major label guitarists in the same genres. Parker Willis is the bass master of the band, dealing out meaty riffs and making sure any corpses nearby won't settle. On drums is Ryan Berrier, who can be heard tenderly setting the pace on slower numbers, or nailing down fast, brutal double-bass and blast beats on the more menacing tracks.
Cilicium is a short, acoustic and atmospheric introduction piece with an ever-so-slightly macabre edge.
Manufacturing Evil jumps right in with an unapologetic thrash metal display. This is the longest song on the album and could also be considered the anthem of the album, with its punchy rhythm guitar, entertaining solos, solid drumming, and repeated lines of the song... and indeed album's... name. About 3/4s the way through, the song descends into a lesser-paced, rock piece leading out to the end of the song.
Gates Of Hell starts off with a sound sample where the listener envisages a huge, sturdy, partially rusty iron gate being opened. The song begins with groovy guitar riffage, and clean but dark vocals, before it evolves into a terrifying monster of brutality involving harsh vocals, double-bass drumming and disembowelling guitar. Again, about 3/4s the way through, the song descends into a slower, dark rock section tailing down to the end of the song, finished by that same gate at the start of the song, being slammed shut.
Lord Of The Dead begins with a thrash-influenced barrage of shredding and blast beats, alongside chanted lyrics. Black metal screams and lead guitar breaks through the pummelling double-bass drums and rhythm guitar. This track really plays with elements of blackened thrash metal.
Soulless is the first slower, balladic song on the album. The cleanly-executed and thought-provoking lyrics set the scene for this song, with delicately handled guitars being performed sympathetically alongside. No bass or drums appear on this track. This is a truly beautiful exhibit of the band's diversity.
Through The Eye is the shortest song on the album, and is straight-up, no holds barred thrash metal at its most maniacal. Lightning guitars, churning bass and chaotic drumming are topped off by brutal death metal vocals equal to any number of vocalists in extreme metal bands from the East and West coast scenes.
Devil's Night is another beautifully-crafted slower track, with a highly memorable guitar riff throughout, and cleanly-sung, again thought-inducing lyrics. The drums and bass set a consistent pace. Another masterpiece and showcase of the band's ability to diversify with distinction.
Demons builds up with brooding guitars and pounding drums, before ascending into a thrash metal affair with righteous double-bass drumming, groovy guitar and monster-like harsh vocals. A ravenous guitar solo paves way for a bit of a break in the density, before finally climaxing to a brutal 8 second scream.
One With The Flame closes with the final spine-chilling power ballad of the album. Big vocals, big guitars, big bass, and big drums climb into an ominous wrath before being laced with a flash of double-bass and finally coming to a humble close.
This album is highly ambitious, as not many bands could get away with interlacing high-speed thrash metal and bestial horror-inspired death metal with sobering power ballads. But, they seem to pull it off not only with acceptance, but with great applaud. This album is simply a tour de force by which all other metal bands in Des Moines, and Iowa, in general will be judged. But why stop at Iowa? In fact, Green Death have recently secured a place at KNOTFEST 2015, which will see them going out and playing the San Manuel Amphitheater in San Bernardino, CA, later in the year. Shortly after the announcement it was confirmed that they play on Sunday, October 25th on Stage 4 'Extreme Stage'. So, the band can finally show a much larger crowd, just what it is they're made of. Prepare for death!
*** I'd like to thank Erich Tran for taking the time to look over this review before its release. ***
Note that this review was written for the [Midwest Mayhem] website, where an edited version of this review is published. The version that you are reading on this page is the original. This review is published on this website with permission.
Green Death's 'Manufacturing Evil' album is available now on Amazon, CDBaby, iTunes, and more! Physical CDs are available through CDBaby.com and the official website! Vinyl release date coming soon!
Go to the band's YouTube channel to see 'Manufacturing Evil' official music videos, pre-production, promos, sessions, trailers, and more!
Green Death (Official)
Green Death (Facebook)
Green Death (YouTube)
Green Death - Manufacturing Evil - Official Music Video
Green Death - "Through the Eye" Official Music Video