Listen to songs such as "Realm of Death" and "Satan Made Me Do It" (both available on the band's MySpace site, www.MySpace.com/EvilArmy), and you'll hear an astonishingly tight trio that purveys horror-movie themes into virtuoso guitar solos, rapid-fire drum fills, and head-banging bass riffs that mine equal parts of D.R.I.'s inspired speed-musicianship antics and Reign In Blood-era Slayer's lyrical mayhem.
"We've done shows in New Orleans, Texas, and Mississippi before, just weekend shows here or there, but this is the first time we've really taken off for a few weeks," says Evil, who has booked the tour himself via e-mails and MySpace.
"As soon as we come back to Memphis," he adds, "we're gonna get back out and hit the East Coast. We're playing with all kinds of bands along the way. Once we get to California, we've got six dates booked with Life Crisis."
The San Diego-based thrash band and Evil Army are labelmates on Knoxville's Get Revenge Records. The label pressed 1,000 CDs and 500 vinyl copies of Evil Army's debut, which was recorded at The Armory, the band's Midtown headquarters, by Jay Lindsey last winter.
"I've known Jay since I was 10 years old," says Evil, who explains that "since there really isn't a metal scene here, we're down to play with everybody, especially garage and rock bands.
"I grew up listening to Slayer and Metallica, and our sound is definitely that old-style mid-'80s thrash. I write 100 percent of [the music], but they're down with it," he says of his bandmates, who can be heard on a split single with Bury the Living that was released on the local Soul Is Cheap label, and on the Conquer Human Life EP, released in 2003 on Alicja Trout's Contaminated label. The group also recently shot their first music video with local filmmaker Brent Shrewsbury.
"Now," says Evil, "we're practicing our asses off before we go on the road. We've got our next album written, and we'll start recording again once we get home."
Scottish pop singer Marti Pellow -- the voice behind '90s club band Wet Wet Wet -- just wrapped up a recording session at Willie Mitchell's Royal Recording Studio. Pellow has been making the transatlantic flight a regular commute -- with Wet Wet Wet, he cut a platinum-selling album, The Memphis Sessions, at Royal in 1987, when he was just 19 years old. Pellow returned to the studio 14 years later to record his first solo album, Smile, then again a year later to cut a cover album of his own material, Marti Pellow Sings the Hits of Wet Wet Wet & Smile.
Last year, Pellow collaborated with Mitchell and Squeeze lyricist Chris Difford to write the tracks that would ultimately become Moonlight Over Memphis, set for an October release in the U.K.
He returned last week to put finishing touches on the album, noting that, "Getting to work with people like Steve Potts, Leroy Hodges, and [Mitchell], I'm like a kid in a candy store."
"When Marti came over here the first time, with Wet Wet Wet, he was just a teenager," recalls Mitchell. "I heard the piano, the bass player, and the drummer, and I thought, How in the world are we gonna be able to cut some soul music with this. Then I heard this man sing -- he has a magic voice.
"The label told us The Memphis Sessions was no good," Mitchell continues, "but it went on to [great success]. Marti's not very well known in America, but that's gonna change. I'm a firm believer that good music will rise to the top."
Cutting blue-eyed soul music in Memphis has been a learning process, Pellow says: "If you want to make records that inspire you, you have to go to the source. There's no point in doing a pastiche. In this case, I'm lucky enough to know the source. Sometimes I'll come to work; sometimes I'll come to hang. But every time I come to Memphis, I fill my belly with music."