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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!
Originally reviewed @ http://abaddonsmetalshop.blogspot.com/
This is the third full-length from Sweden's Evocation, and was my introduction to the band. They play the kind of death metal we've come to expect from their country, and boast a subtle blend of the Stockholm and Gothenburg sounds, although leaning further towards the Stockholm sound. The album has a massive Indecent & Obscene feel to it which is great (and not to mention one of my favorite Dismember albums).
Evocation do not break any new ground with Apocalyptic, but I feel they don't deserve to be penalized for any lack of originality. The album kicks a lot of back-side, and sounds relevant to appeal to both old school death metal and melodic death metal fans. While the sound might be a little cleaner than it should be (I would have preferred a rawer guitar tone), it doesn't detract from my enjoyment. There is a lot of quality material here, with face-splitters such as "Psychosis Warfare", "Curse on the Creature" and the awesome opener "Sweet Obsession" Evocation boasts enough ammunition to slay you for weeks. Recommended.
Originally written for www.metalcrypt.com
Review originally published at http://www.teethofthedivine.com by Erik Thomas
Buried under 2010′s avalanche of Old School Swedish death metal awesomeness―from the likes of Entrails, Interment, Nominon and Brutally Deceased―was the third effort from Sweden’s Evocation. Like Entrails, Evocation were actually around in the early ’90s, and included members from the relatively successful Cemetery, but never quite took off until their resurrection with 2007′s excellent Tales from the Tomb and 2008′s follow-up Dead Calm Chaos. For some reason though, Apocalypse isn’t hitting me nearly as well as the previous two efforts.
Whereas the aptly named Tales From the Tomb was pure Entombed/ Dismember worship and Dead Calm Chaos had more of a Grave groove, Apocalyptic sees the band delivering more of a NWSDM-tone that’s contains much more melody and solos. Although still rooted in those classic bands and their respective albums, I’m just getting much more of a Gothenburg-vibe from the new album with At the Gates, In Flames, Dark Tranquillity, Eucharist and Edge of Sanity all lingering musically around. That’s not really a bad thing, but with the standard set so high by their prior albums, and the efforts from the aforementioned bands, Apocalyptic just seems less impactful.
Though still a damn fine album.
Opener “Sweet Obsession” clues you in a little to the albums tone; a high energy, galloping number chock full of melodic leads. Not that the last albums didn’t have melodic leads, but these feel different, not as menacing or haunting, but bouncier, and well…more melodeath. Even the track names have a certain melodeath vibe to them. The bands geographic influence shift from Stockholm to Gothenburg can be heard consistently in other tracks like “Parasites” (which could have come from Slaughter of the Soul), “We Are Unified Insane”, “Murder in Passion” and the closing title track.
And whereas the last two albums had concrete nods to their peers (cover of Entombed’s “But Life Goes On” on Tales, the obvious nod to Dismember’s “Dismembered” on “Silence Sleep” from Dead Calm), Apocalyptic seems to go out of its way to distance itself just a little from the obvious influences and try to spread its influences around a little more, being far less blatant. Does that make it worse? Absolutely not, but for Stockholm-philes like me, it’s a regression of sorts. That being said there are plenty of strains of the Stockholm sound surfacing and the likes of “Infamy”, crunchy “Reunion In War”, “It is All Your Fault” and “Curse on the Creature”. Just not as much as I would have liked.
That all being said I appreciate Metal Blade releasing this in the US so it’s easier to get that from original label Cyclone Empire (along with another Swedish styled death metal album with Facebreaker’s Infected). And although they really didn’t promote it very well, it’s a very worthwhile album from a band that, three albums into their career, are developing a God Dethroned -like aura of consistency and quality.
Evocation deserve to be bigger than they are. The band is a relentless machine of creativity and stamina, they have been struggling for almost 20 years, only missing their original bassist and the albums of 3 years have been pure gems of death metal supremacy.
Apocalyptic, in my blatantly elitist opinion, is the best so far. The album borders on melodeath but this does not affect the overall crush of the music. It also hosts some blatantly black composition, such as the intro riff for the track, 'parasites'. Song structure is impressive the entire way through, this album offers you no respite from beginning to end.
My track of choice would be the song "we are unified insane", this song in particular (for me at least) holds the strongest chorus section on the album and the solo at the 2 minute mark can only be described as Scandinavian in it's superiority.
To make this short and sweet, this album is a must buy for any fan of At The Gates, heartwork era Carcass and Grave. For those of us who like our metal crushing yet melodic, go forth and procure this album, you will not regret it.
Constant exposure to such a vast wealth of Swedish death metal, both old and new, serves as a double edged sword. It's clearly one of the most redundant sub-genres of the style, with a clear excess of players in the field hammering out the same riffs, the same tones and the same overall atmosphere to the point that the connoisseur's tastes are soured beyond repair. On the other hand, hearing so much of this approach in the past few years certainly goes a long way towards separating the chaff from the wheat, and as Evocation have already proven with their prior albums Tales from the Tomb and Dead Calm Chaos, they are not a band to be trifled with: something more than your run of the mill, competent practitioner of the form, but still being eluded triumphant overture that will elevate them into the pick of the litter.
For sure, Apocalyptic is one of the better of this sort of offering I've heard in recent month, for Evocation do not merely rehash endless riffs from Entombed, At the Gates, Dismember, and so forth. They actually attempt to assert some of their own individuality to the proceedings, and this is often manifest by an enhanced attention to the underlying melody that complements the burgeoning brutality of that pure Swedish crunch. This is evident in "Sweet Obsession", the rather sultry opener that runs you through with a rare glimpse at beauty, and to a lesser extent "Reunion in War", "Murder in Passion", "Curse on the Creature" and "Psychosis Warfare", some of which seem to bear an influence of slightly more obscure bands Eucharist, Unanimated, Centinex and Utumno. These are measured off against the more expected, grisly brutality of "We Are Unified Insane", "Infamy", "Parasites", and the triumphant grooves of "It Is All Your Fault", which is perhaps one of the best of this lot.
All of this is handled with precision and a professional solidarity to rival the legends of the genre, and in truth, Evocation may damn well deserve a trace of recognition hovering just below the bigger names (they've been around since 1991, just took a very long vacation for over a decade). I found the album to be a mild improvement over its predecessor Dead Calm Chaos, and sitting parallel to the 2007 full-length debut, with enough memorable material to render it obvious that time and effort were evoked here beyond the mere twiddling of knobs and simple carbon cloning of the classic guitar tone, which is obviously the most noted characteristic of the country's scene and the thousands of bands worldwide who aspire to copy it. If only more would take a page from Evocation's notebook, because this is one of the bands that prove there might be something left to explore in this tired, sagging schematic, without abandoning the fundamentals to oblivion.