Evil Twin – Evil Twin – EP Review
Proceed with caution dear listeners, dear friends…the power generated by the music of Evil Twin can be one seriously hellish shock to the system if you’re not prepared for it – you’ve been warned! Clearly there’s something solid happening over there at Memory Bank Records; not only do they also house the band Vessel Decimal, whose ruthless music we’ve reviewed a couple times here in the past, but from the looks & sounds of things, they’re also fully willing to dive deep into the extreme, the creative, the bizarre, and the beyond with the artists/bands they’re working with. There’s a whole bunch of new names I didn’t know yet, and descriptions that will clue you in to the fact that…well let’s just say this label isn’t exactly putting out music for the faint of heart, shall we? If Evil Twin is any indication, you need some of that genuine moxie to listen to these tunes without all the lights on…some grit, some gruff, some true testicular fortitude (and/or the equivalent lady-parts) – you get what I’m saying I’m sure – this is really wild stuff.
But really, what else could you expect from two dudes named Cletus and Remus Alabaster? “Twins from a small town in West Virginia” – I’m not exactly sure what they’re puttin’ in the water over there down south from us here in Canada, but I’ll take a pint or two myself & raise a glass with Evil Twin, thank-you very much. LISTEN to the punishing power on display throughout “The Hunt Of Hunts” as this record begins will ya? The combination of call/answer between the guitars & synth sounds is insanely rad; you factor in how massive the vocals can be and the brilliant additions being made in the background layers along the way…and you start to get an idea of what you’re in-store for. What I can tell you for a certain fact is this: to read about it here on paper is one thing…to experience it, is a whole other trip entirely. There are no words that can accurately express just how gripping and intense, menacing and powerful “The Hunt Of Hunts” can be at the heights of its extremity – hearing the level of commitment, confidence, and skill on display here in the very first cut is a statement in itself – Evil Twin isn’t here to fuck around, know what I mean? Completely meaty songs on this record…most around six-minutes in length – and you can hear right off the drop that Evil Twin has every intention of maximizing every second to the nth degree. Like…I mean…I’d obviously get it if a Jack Johnson fan had a hard time finding their way into a track as bone-cutting as “The Hunt Of Hunts” is…but like…goddamn…for the rest of us out there, how can you deny the savageness in sound here? From the distant howls and choir vocals in the background, to the mind-blowing performance put in from the lead-vocals, the killer back & forth between the loud/quiet combo in the flow of the design…Evil Twin is CRUSHING IT from the very beginning of this EP and leaving bodies in their wake. It’s downright cinematic…the imagery in the lyrics, the personality dripping from the venomous attack on the mic, the jarring grind of the guitars & thunderous drum sounds; it might not be for everyone, I get that, but it’s sure as hell for me. I’m tellin’ ya…whether you dig the heavy, beastly, and gnarly side of music or not – LISTEN to “The Hunt Of Hunts” and experience what it sounds like to commit to an incredibly ambitious set of ideas and fully pull it off.
Okay…hold-up…wait a second…did I just hear a fuckin’ banjo solo on “Swan Dive?” Genius. Freakin’ backwoods GENIUS. Unexpected…at the very least in that first listening experience – you’d never see that moment coming when it shows up around the 3:40 mark after everything you’ve heard previously. Then all of a sudden, you’re there, and hearing how brilliantly that moment actually fits in the song, with just a hint of spoken word to accompany it…it’s almost ironically mind-blowing in the sense that everything else around that spot is seriously explosive, but it’s some of the most subtle moments of “Swan Dive” that end up making the biggest impact. I mean…I SAY subtle…but like…well you get it…it’s not like anything Evil Twin is doing could REALLY be regarded as subtle; this record is pretty much the audible definition of intensity – I’m just talking about slightly lower-key energy by comparison to the song’s wildest extremes is all. Ya might call that songwriting, or the dynamics in sound…it’s not like you can just expect Evil Twin to stay dialed-up to 11 at all times, because the music wouldn’t be able to make the impact that it does without a lil’ bit of shape-shifting along the way, you feel me? It’s taking those moments to separate the sound a bit, to back the energy down a little, to show some restraint & control…it’s in the exercise of these powers that the most gigantic moments become even BIGGER when Evil Twin lets the juice fully loose. What “Swan Dive” certainly does, is confirm the hybrid nature of the music in this project…the multiple-personalities it contains…the twisted directions that Evil Twin will take you in. While you could probably draw comparisons that would put “Swan Dive” in between old-school Hip-Hop, Rap/Rock, and Green Jelly – you can tell they’re walking that fine line between serious enough, but not too serious. Ultimately, I think the melody in the hooks is memorable…I think the musicianship & vocals is just as incredible as the first cut on the record (and the rest to follow incidentally)…I’m probably more on the fence with “Swan Dive” than I was compared to how unquestionably onboard I was with “The Hunt Of Hunts” – but when it comes down to what speaks more strongly to the versatile, inventive, and innovative nature of Evil Twin’s music overall, “Swan Dive” would probably have the edge. Plus, while it’s not necessarily ‘friendly’ perhaps, it’s got a more accessible sound with its widespread range of ideas combined together, whereas “The Hunt Of Hunts” is the blissful fury of straight-up raw power. Still…that banjo though…and the low-end rhythms of “Swan Dive” deserve a lot of credit as well…chances are, you’ll hear several things that catch & keep your attention in a track like this, just like I did. Like c’mon…that extra layer of guitar added in around the 4:35 mark? Absolute radness.
“Sweeter Than Pie” comes out storming & seething, punishing drum beats & grinding guitars at ya. Oddly, it’ll nestle into what are probably some of the most accessible hooks in the chorus of this cut and the all-encompassing sound it provides, but make no mistake, Evil Twin doesn’t let up for a solid two minutes of this track and keeps this song coming fast & furiously at ya before finally dialing-back the energy a little bit for us all to catch our collective breath in the breakdown. Dig on the fact that Evil Twin makes a ton of moves that matter in these tunes on this self-titled effort – like, even after you’d likely figure you’ve heard all the different pieces that’ll stack up to the whole of the song, they’ll bust out something like the switch in the final thirty seconds of “Sweeter Than Pie” and give you even more to hear. The shortest track on the EP, Evil Twin wastes zero time in sending out savage sound from your speakers as “Sweeter Than Pie” surges with powerful energy; this one actually reminds me a lot of their label-mates, Vessel Decimal. Almost kind of like Electro-Industrial meets Alice In Chains in a way when you hear the chorus…the verse & bridge, probably something a bit more towards something from the oddities out there in the scene…it’s got that hint of mischief that really works with this vibe. Complete with the explosion of actual fireworks for the ending…I think this was a really smart inclusion to have at the end of “Sweeter Than Pie” – and while I might be reading too much into this moment, it was as if Evil Twin was saying, ‘you just heard REAL fireworks in the blazing storm of sound that is “Sweeter Than Pie” – do you really wanna go back to your sky-crackers after THAT?’ – and then brilliantly gives you the comparison. YOU tell me which one you think the real fireworks sound like! So it becomes this like…I dunno how to even describe it…Inception-esque, multi-layered ending where the ‘climax’ is actually the anti-climax, but the most badass way to end a song, like ever, if I’ve gotten anywhere close to what Evil Twin was really going for at the end of “Sweeter Than Pie.” Just theories, don’t quote me on this.
Ok. So. Let’s be real here…because I’m not making any claims that Evil Twin would be easy for most people to love…nor do I think that’s important to a project like this anyhow; the listeners that ‘get it’ will be incredibly loyal – and those out there looking for something different in the music they listen to will be right at home within the eerie & odd confines of the songs on this record. But this ain’t music for yo’ momma – not unless she’s hella hardcore – this is for the folks that thrive in the shadow realm…the people that are unafraid to go as far into the dark as their music will take them. That’s how you get to deadly songs like “Barn Out Back” – or really, ANY of the songs on this EP for that matter…Evil Twin is as full of sonic mayhem as you could imagine music could potentially be…the venom drips from these cuts. Vocally, “Barn Out Back” is probably going to prove to be the toughest for most listeners to get into – that’s just the reality of dissonant tones…there’s no real solution to that other than to simply switch up the approach, but that’s likely not the intention of the design. “Barn Out Back” winds through some of the most ambitious & artistic ideas that you’ll find on this EP – and admittedly, I think a few of them might have gone a little off the deep end here…but like you’ve heard in the first three cuts, there’s always going to be plenty of reasons to listen along the way as well. The main hooks of the chorus actually hit home big-time if you ask me…perhaps the most accessible moment on the entire record; that being said, they’re surrounded by the shroud of an adventurous track that might wander too far out there for most to be able to follow. Chorus is absolutely killer if you ask me – I love the lead, but I also think that the backing vocals in that final line each time were completely essential too. I dig the fact that “Barn Out Back” reveals a more artistic thread that exists underneath the scorched surface of Evil Twin’s more dominant, aggressive, and menacing songs…it might be a bit more uneven in the final results of the experience, but I think the decision to go after extraordinarily unique ideas like this deserves credit.
Listen up kiddies…you’re gonna wanna get off of Evil Twin’s lawn unless you wanna get into a “Property Dispute” of your own…and from the sounds of things, that could be a fairly nightmarish event that could scar ya for life. Giant bursts of Industrial/Electro/Rock explode, smolder, and burn through your speakers as this track rips through its length; ultimately there’s an argument to be made that it’s got huge Metal & Progressive influences as well – which should give you an IDEA of the smorgasbord of sound to be found on this final track…but as I’ve been tellin’ ya all along, no matter what you might THINK you’re in for, it’s another thing altogether to actually experience it. I make no illusions about the material – I know the audience for this is niche and I’m realistic about that – there are still more than enough rad-ass people out there in the world to make a project as dark & bizarre as this a success, or at least make the effort of its creators a worthwhile endeavor. Don’t underestimate the power in the pull of hearing true commitment & confidence at work though – that’s got an allure of its own, and that’s definitely a factor to be considered when it comes to Evil Twin, because you won’t find many artists or bands out there that approach their material this no-holds-barred – and whether listeners realize something as extreme as Evil Twin might be something they’d like or not at first, eventually with a couple spins, these core ingredients are gonna win people over. Effort is something that people tend to appreciate, no matter what genre they typically prefer, it’s attention to detail like Evil Twin’s putting in here that wins the war and gets people to cross over to the dark side. The churn & grind of “Property Dispute” heads towards a much more gothic-inspired sound…it’s not all that far away from the twisted realm of something like Marilyn Manson really; though of course, as we now know, Evil Twin will continue to morph this tune in several directions. The loud/quiet dynamics come out extremely powerful in this final track once again…Evil Twin’s got a great grip on space & pace and how to use it to their advantage…and when it’s time to get the rage on for real, you’ll hear this project stoked to answer the call around the four-minute mark and attempt to scorch what’s left of the earth. A solid ending to this EP for sure…”Property Dispute” might not quite be “The Hunt Of Hunts” for me personally, but I can imagine this track finding itself a massive audience out there; even though it’s a slower grind & churn than some of the others by comparison, Evil Twin finishes this record in style with a single-worthy cut.
Find out more about Evil Twin and hear the self-titled EP from the official page at Memory Bank Records here: https://www.memorybankrecords.com
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