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M-pire of Evil are, essentially, former Venom members vocalist/bassist (for those albums where Cronos was off being Venom by himself under his own name) Tony Dolan, drummer Anthony "Antton" Lant (Cronos's brother, also in Def-Con-One), and guitarist Jeff "Mantas" Dunn, and this debut EP is two originals and four covers. Initially called Primevil, after Prime Evil, the first Venom album Dolan and Dunn recorded together, it will come as no surprise that they basically sound exactly like they did when they were Venom, right down to the intentional under-production which make the guitars sound raw but the drums sound like a punk band with no money playing in a garage. The covers of Judas Priest's Exciter, AC/DC's Hell Ain't A Bad Place To Be, and Motörhead's Motörhead sound exactly like the Dolan-era line-up of Venom playing through those songs note for note on rehearsal. Only the absolutely monstrous version of KISS' God of Thunder stands out as really worthwhile, and heavy enough for their sound, since they haven't really heavied the others up at all. In fact, on those ones Dolan sings more like he does with his NWOBHM outfit Atomkraft than he did with Venom. However, with the originals, they fair much better. The drum sound doesn't, but the band do in terms of carving out their own identity. Heavier and faster than Venom (unbelievably - although Venom were at their all-time heaviest at the end of Mantas's time on guitar) the riffs are hard and interesting, Dolan's vocals are angrier and they really sound like they've got some ideas and sound of their own. It's just a shame they didn't apply it to three of the four covers. The debut album, Hell To The Holy, should be excellent if the two tracks here are at all indicative.
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