Three years removed from Up, rock giants Pop Evil are back with their fifth offering- a Self-Titled record that lives up to every expectation set for a band as successful as the Michigan rockers have become.
While 2015’s Up was a decent record, that’s as far as it went- decent. Coming off 2013’s Onyx, which saw three of the four singles hit no. 1 and hardly any filler whatsoever- every song stood on it’s own and was a home run- Up seemed to just kinda “be there” and didn’t have a lot of the attitude and punch that it’s predecessor had.
Enter 2018 and their Self-Titled record is a true return to form and has everything you could possibly want. Lead single “Waking Lions” seems to do just that. It’s almost like Pop Evil were hibernating and now the lions are awake and they’re here to kick some ass.
The song starts the album off in dominant fashion. Then again- so did Up with “Footsteps,” but this time we get a rock anthem in “Colors Bleed” which leads into “Ex-Machina.” By the end of this third track, it’s clear Pop Evil are here to reclaim the throne of rock royalty and they’re well on their way after just three tracks.
“Art of War” is where things start to get really fun. This is a track that shows Pop Evil channeling their inner Rage Against The Machine and it’s a beautiful thing. It’s a path we haven’t seen them go down before and “Be Legendary” keeps it going with a southern rock guitar riff that will be a perfect song for the live stage, where Pop Evil really flourishes and shows what they can do.
“Nothing But Thieves” starts off with a gorgeous piano intro, leads into a music box sample, which leads into a tribal Hayley Cramer drum solo before ripping into an even more tribal rock epic that keeps the fun ride going and is yet another song destined for the live stage.
“A Crime to Remember” slows things down with one of the few softer tracks of the record before showing their Stone Temple Pilots side with “God’s Dam,” which is another track out of left field but works to perfection.
“When We Were Young” is a deeply-personal track and is one of the many addicting one of the album and is a stand out song to say the least. The chorus and backing vocals are what really make this one so good- you’ll be hitting repeat on this one.
After “Birds of Prey” speeds things up one last time, “Rewind” slows it back down- closing things out just as beautiful as it started powerful.
In the end, Pop Evil have come back swinging for the fences and have hit a complete grand slam with Pop Evil. If you thought Onyx was the album that defined their career, you were wrong- we all were; Pop Evil is the record that will go down as their best album. This lineup has been playing together for almost three years now and the chemistry shows. This isn’t just an album- it’s a masterpiece.