Evil Survives - "Resist the Exorcism"

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A few years into the trend, I'm still not sure what to make of retro true metal. Retro music usually turns me off, since the source of inspiration still exists. The Internet is The Great Reissuer and Remasterer (if only at inferior bitrates). Iron Maiden's records are still here, there, and everywhere. We don't need more bands that sound like them.

But as with any trend - or anything, really - 95% is bad and 5% is good. Some retro records slip past my defenses. Retro death metal: Mutant Supremacy, Tribulation, Disma. Retro thrash: Merciless Death (briefly). Retro black metal: Isn't black metal always retro? Actually, half of it wants to stay stuck in the old days, and the other half is hellbent on dragging it into the future. It's odd how black metal is both the most conservative and most liberal metal subgenre.

A few retro true metal bands have piqued my interest. Huntress have improved greatly since their original demo. Their new stuff is darker and tinged with black metal; I can't wait to hear their first album. Icarus Witch, who toured with Paul Di'Anno and also acted as his backing band, recently acquired a new singer. Their Draw Down the Moon record was quite respectable, so I'm curious about the band's next step. Finally, Skull Fist are so fun that they overcome my usual reservations about "fun" music. They're just that good. I could do without the rising sun graphics - let's leave that to hair metal - but I am all for throwback instrumentation. Yellow, Kramer, Carvin, Charvel: if a guitar is any of these things, I'm all ears (or at least all eyes).

Spellcaster - "Chainsaw Champion"

Spellcaster and Evil Survives, two promising bands of this ilk, just started a tour together. (See dates below.) Both are on Heavy Artillery Records. Spellcaster's Spells of Speed EP has blatant nods to Metallica, Slayer, and Maiden. But it's raw and meaty, with actual songs that are primed for front row headbanging. It's a throwback to a time when metal guitar solos were blues and minor scales fistfighting their way up to high bent E's. Hear a track from it above, and stream and buy the whole thing here. Evil Survives are more on the traditional tip. You can see their video for "Resist the Exorcism" above. Their Powerkiller record is out on vinyl at War on Music. It comes out on MP3 and CD on October 12; stream and buy it here.

— Cosmo Lee

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SPELLCASTER & EVIL SURVIVES - SPEEKDKILLER TOUR
October 2010

06 Seattle, WA @ Funhouse
07 Portland, OR @ Plan B
08 Berkeley, CA @ 924 Gilman Street
09 San Francisco, CA @ Hemlock Tavern
10 Escondido, CA @ Metaphor Café
12 Las Vegas, NV @ Divebar
13 Los Angeles, CA @ Whisky A Go Go
14 Tucson, AZ @ The Rock
15 Albuquerque, NM @ Andre’s Underground
16 Lubbock, TX @ Whiskey Dix Bar
17 San Antonio, TX @ The Korova
18 Austin, TX @ Emo’s
19 Oklahoma City, OK @ The Conservatory
20 Kansas City, MO @ TBA
21 St Louis, MO @ Fubar
22 Chicago, IL @ Nite Cap
23 Milwaukee, WI @ Monkey Bar
24 Minneapolis, MN @ Triple Rock

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