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Heading into this one I had high hopes for a sterling Swedish death metal release: Evocation come with a solid B-league name for their field and, if nothing else, the cover has Pestilence "Testimony of the Ancients" written all over it which can never be a bad thing. However, from 2 seconds into my first listen to the dozen or so as I write now, all I can wonder is how the band have the gall to write and record an album so entirely, utterly derivative of (recent) Amon Amarth with bits of At The Gates and Hypocrisy thrown in. The total absorption of the victorious Vikings' sound cannot be ignored when critically reviewing "Illusions of Grandeur" but how do the ten songs on offer stand up to their analysis?
Well, not too bad. "Well Of Despair" is a good indicator of Evocation's knack for mixing melodic fast-paced riffs with slower moments of scene setting. "Divide and Conquer" I do actually like - it is more ominous (a pre-battle fighting song you could say) but its adherence to the Amon Amarth template is over-whelming and frankly embarrassing. I love those festival -friendly Swedes more than most (they've been a personal favourite band since the days of "Versus The World") but if I wanted to listen to them I would choose to do so; I don't want another band to play "Twilight of the Thundergod" covers for me. "Perception of Reality" and "I'll Be Your Suicide" follow the classic At The Gates inspired melo-death formula to a tee, so naturally are easily appreciable little ditties. "Crimson Skies", "The Seven Faces of God", "Final Disclosure"...all perfectly decent melodic death metal songs but about as original as a cumshot in a hardcore porn movie.
Perhaps all would not have been so bad if the production to Evocation's AA-influenced tracks gave them an edge, but the clarity of tone in the rounded riffs, standard drumsound and Johan Legg-lite vocalist do them no favours here either. Taking influence is of course standard procedure but if you're going to ape a band perhaps it is best to wait ‘til that act is no more - ala Thulcandra?
Originally written for www.Rockfreaks.net