Review: Casket Robbery – Evolution of Evil
At long last Casket Robbery’s full length debut has arrived! ‘Evolution of Evil’ sets a new standard for brutal death metal that many are sure to emulate. Here’s the track by track rundown on this long awaited release.
Diving right into the chaos that is Casket Robbery, ‘Annibel’s Hell’ is a track chock full of brutality. Heavy riffing, snarling death growls, thumping bass, and thundering drums drive this track until guitarist, Cory Scheider, shows his lead skills with some awesome melodic work, especially his Slayer-esque solo midway through. The use of witch cackling, childish laughs, and evil laughter at key points in the track give this song a tinge of eeriness that plays well with the domineering power of the track. This is one hell of a good start!
In our previous review of the ‘Evolution of Evil Sampler’ we touched on ‘Blood Bathory,’ but in case you missed it, here it is in a slightly altered form, but our thoughts haven’t change:
Writing a song about one of the most maniacal serial killers in the history of mankind, ‘Blood Bathory’ does the legend of this virgin killing fiend well. Brutally heavy blast beats, crunching riffs, looming bass, and guttural, snarling vocals paint a vivid picture of what Casket Robbery is all about. Fortunately, Casket Robbery does a few things different from most contemporary death metal bands; vocalist, Dustin Foesch, is easy to understand with a trained ear, while Scheider brings more of a groove metal style to his playing, especially with his shrieking guitar solo toward the end of the track.
Starting slow and heavy ‘Malevolent Milwaukee Massacre’ is pure death metal in its classical form; slow, heavy riffing, dooming bass, deep, guttural growls, and double bass that echoes in your chest like a second heartbeat. Fans of Cannibal Corpse or Six Feet Under will find a lot to love here, especially with the use of what just might be Jeffery Dahmer’s confession. Given the tenacity of the man’s crimes, the very presence of his voice, let alone his words cranks up the horror factor of the album, for like ‘Blood Bathory,’ this song is based on real life evil.
A technical riff-fest, ‘Final Chapter’ isn’t the most ambitious tune on the album, but it’s definitely one of the best. Foesch’s growls are at the top of their game here and the introduction of backing snarls was a good call. So far, a few things can be said about this album; Casket Robbery is a heavy hitting band with a powerful vocalist and a hell of a lot of talent behind the kit. Of course, you can’t count out the bassist, for although it’s easy to overlook the bass in most bands, driving bass lines are at the core of Casket Robbery’s sound throughout the album so.
‘Undead Living Hell’ is a lot of things for this album; it’s the shortest, scariest, strangest, and heaviest song on the entire album! Dominated by blast beats, swirling leads, chugging riffs, and a voiceover describing the zombie apocalypse, this track lacks vocals, but resonates deeply, especially the sounds of zombies closing in and the final words “this is not an epidemic, this is an extinction.”
As with ‘Blood Bathory,’ we touched on ‘Pray for Death’ and ‘Curse of the Nightstalker’ during our review of the ‘Evolution of Evil Sampler.’ Regardless, you might have missed it, so here’s our unchanging opinion on those two tracks in correct order.
Much more groove based than the previous two songs, ‘Pray for Death’ features a strong emphasis on the lead guitar, but has an equal amount of amount of heaviness. Once more, Foesch delivers his lyrics in a delightfully dark and snarly manner, and Greg Mueller really shows off his technique with a mix of blast beats and liberal use of his cymbals. While it doesn’t resonate as well as ‘Curse of the Nightstalker’, this tune has one of best guitar solos I’ve heard in recent months. Much to our surprise, this solo was delivered by none other than John Laux (Ex-Warbringer).
Building an atmosphere with a sample of the evening news regarding the killing spree perpetrated by Richard “The Night Stalker” Ramirez, ‘Curse of the Night Stalker’ is another brutal track, but with some key differences from the rest. Featuring haunting leads and prominent bass lines, this track stands out from the pack thanks to the technicality of the drums, Foesch’s voice animalistic vocals, and eerie samples of news bulletins declaring such things as “the Night Stalker cruised the freeway looking for victims, while listening to heavy metal.’ Overall, this track has an amazing atmosphere and lyrics such as “stabbing you feels so right!” and “no remorse…” make for a terrifying track, especially considering the Night Stalker was one of the most brutal killers in American history.
Another technical riff-fest, ‘Encroaching Darkness’ keeps the iron hot with every element that has made this album great thus far. In fact, the greater emphasis on melodic leads makes this tune standout from the pack, especially Scheider’s breakdowns at the half-way point and his fret-shredding fade out. Least to say, ‘Encroaching Darkness’ does well to keep the album feeling fresh at a point where most albums might begin to dry out.
It appears that ‘Encroaching Darkness’ was the high water mark of the album. With just two tracks left, we’re given ‘Cyanide Skies,’ a crushingly heavy tune that hits its mark but signals the end of the experimentation for the album. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a killer track and definitely has some standout moments like the bass solo, but it sticks to the established formula.
Casket Robbery finishes ‘Evolution of Evil’ on a high note. ‘The Aslyum’ brings everything to the table from chugging riffs and screaming leads to strong bass lines, pounding drums, and snarling vocals done right. Not only is this a heavy hitting finisher, there’s a great deal of experimentation going on with the guitar making this one last track just as memorable as other head spinners like ‘Curse of the Nightstalker,’ ‘Undead Living Hell,’ and ‘Encroaching Darkness.’
Whether you love brutal death metal or hate it with a passion, there is no denying Casket Robbery’s ‘Evolution of Evil.’ This album takes a tired genre and reanimates it with hints of groove and thrash metal, making for a hell of a good listen. And while it’s not over the top on the gore and horror elements, some parts are going to hit you right in the brain and stay there for some time. You’ve been warned, now give this album a listen, it’s worth every second! 9/10