Friday, November 25, 2011

Review: Evocation - Apocalyptic

Band: Evocation
Album: Apocalyptic
Year: 2010
Country: Sweden
Genre: Death Metal

During the mid to late 00s we began to see the new wave of old school Swedish death metal bands begin to permeate the death metal scene. With these new bands came a few who were both new and old. Evocation is a death metal act who released a few demos in the early 90s before going on hiatus. The band later reformed and started releasing new material and Apocalyptic is their sophomore effort.

While Evocation plays in the style of Entombed and Dismember (crunchy guitar tone and all) they are also a bit unique. Why? Well they also seem to take queues from mid 90s melodic death metal as well. Most specifically you can hear some At the Gates Slaughter of the Soul type stuff in the guitar riffs. So we could say musically Evocation is 2 parts Stockholm death metal and 1 part Gothenburg. But don't let that worry you, the Gothenburg influences it isn't the flowery folk/power metal stuff of bands like In Flames but the thrashy guitar harmonies of AtG. I personally enjoy this greatly.

Sweet Obsession kicks off the album with a fast picked intro that calls to mind the hallmark Sunlight Studios buzzsaw guitar tone the Stockholm bands are known for. Evocation seem to be masters of creating pleasing yet aggressive melodies that are catchy without being pretty. Every song on the album is a winner in my book. Psychosis Warfare showcases the band's ability to seamlessly blend the conflicting OSSDM and melodeath sounds perfectly. The band plays mostly mid paced death metal but they occasionally slow down here and there like on Its All Your Fault.

Expect a lot of the fast snare hits from drummer Janne Boden which isn't too different from what you hear on SotS. He also throws in some nice blasting here and there as well but doesn't do it the whole time. The Swedish bands always seem to know just when a blast is most effective rather than blasting the whole song long like many of their American counterparts were prone to do. I can hardly hear the bass of Martin Toresson but I do feel what I do hear is him giving a helping hand to the low end by following the already crushing guitars.

Vocalist Thomas Josefsson has a very strong voice. It is a bit on the higher side and he wouldn't sound out of place in a Carcass clone band imitating the brand of vocals Jeff Walker popularized. At times he will let out a lower proper death growl which sounds just as good.

If Evocation had just been another Dismember or At the Gates rip off band this probably would have been a rather boring album. But the fact that they use the templates laid by both bands puts them in a very unique spot giving them a niche for those who enjoy both sub-genres. While I enjoy the 90s output of Dark Tranquillity, At the Gates, and In Flames, this is true melodic death metal played the way it was meant to be. And not only does the band have a foot planted on both sides of the fence, they are damn good at it!

Score: 9/10
Standout Tracks:Psychosis Warfare, Sweet Obsession, Infamy

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