Eviction - The World Is Hours Away [reissue] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


The World Is Hours Away [reissue] (2019)

Heaven and Hell Records

By 1990. Thrash was hitting its commercial peak. That year saw the release of classics like Persistence of Time, Rust in Peace and Seasons in the Abyss. There were also notable albums from Annihilator, Death Angel, Destruction, Exodus, Flotsam and Jetsam, Forbidden, Kreator, Morbid Saint, Sacred Reich, Testament, Vio-lence and so many more. And some youngsters called Metallica were on the brink of becoming the biggest heavy band in the world. What a time to be a young headbanger!

Still, for every Anthrax, Megadeth or Slayer, there were hundreds of great bands that never quite broke through. Case in point - Pittsburgh’s Eviction. Formed in 1986, Eviction cut a couple of well received demos, and in 1990 made an album for Death Records/Metal Blade. By 1993, grunge had killed thrash, and internal issues had killed Eviction. They essentially became another band mostly lost to the sands of time, remembered only by the few who were lucky enough to be there.

That’s where Heaven and Hell Records enter the picture. The relatively new label is devoted to rescuing bands like Eviction from the heavy metal scrap heap. Their reissue of The World Is Hours Away gives a second chance to a record that deserved a better fate.

Eviction were specifically a crossover thrash band. Despite what your mom used to say, there was actually a fair amount of diversity within the thrash genre. This quintet not only injected their thrash with punk, but also with a bit of good old fashioned rock and roll. Think maybe DRI meets AC/DC and ZZ Top. It sounds strange, but it works surprisingly well. The riffs are choppy and the lead guitar rips. Singer Todd Porter has a raspy punk/classic rock voice rather than a higher traditional metal voice.

A lot of the songs are vaguely political, but unlike some of their peers, they don’t get unnecessarily preachy. A couple of the songs are about how we’re destroying the planet. Opener “Our World”, for example. It starts with a riff that would be best described as boogie, before kicking into gear. It runs right into the very punky and catchy “Listen”. “Drunken State” is about thrash’s second favorite topic, drinking. The anti-war “Marching Off to War” is next. (For those too young to remember, the first gulf “war” was in 1990.) The pensive “Living In Emptiness” closes side one.

Side two opener, “You Decide”, is a lesson in rapid downstroking, and speaks to personal choice. “Struggle With Society” was a survivor from an early demo. Despite its timeliness, the raging “Behind the Mask” is not about Covid. “Open Your Eyes” is one of the most ambitious of the record’s ten tracks. It starts out as a bluesy jam, complete with harmonica. Ditto closer and best song, “American Way“. Overall, The World Is Hours Away is a really solid collection of songs, even if it didn’t have a breakthrough hit.

A few more random things: 1) If you don’t love the colorful, evil cartoon artwork, you don’t deserve to listen to this. 2) Why didn’t they wait until 2020 to release this so it could be a 30th anniversary edition? 3) The very limited vinyl is the original 10 track album. The CD version also has an early demo as six bonus tracks. 4) Eviction had intended to play reunion shows in Pittsburgh (and maybe beyond) to celebrate this reissue, but, you know, Covid. Look for that next year. 5) Singer Todd Porter currently fronts a great punk and roll band called The Cheats.

Nobody is going to claim that The World Is Hours Away deserves to be spoken about in the same hushed tones as Among the Living, Bonded By Blood or Master of Puppets. But if you’ve worn out multiple copies of each of those, and still want more, you could do a lot worse than Eviction.