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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.