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In the lead up to Illusions being released I was very excited to consume new material from these Swedes. Their last album, Apocalypse, is one of my favorite death metal albums because of its expert blend of old school Swedish death metal and Gothenburg melodic death metal. They played a style that kept both feet on the side of death metal while embracing more melody and guitar harmonies. This is why Illusions of Grandeur is unfortunately a let down for me.
When I hear IoG the bands that come to mind are first and foremost, Amon Amarth, and secondly a touch of At the Gates. Of course their previous work already had that AtG styling to it. But the Amon Amarth influence takes the front seat here. The riffs especially wreak of that band, and it saddens me that while Evocation were not necessarily unique in their past releases, they were still one of a handful of bands doing the melodic death metal sub-genre justice. Even the buzzsaw guitar tone is gone, and its loss is oh so felt!
Thomas Josefsson still gives a pretty good performance on the album. His throaty growls border on the standard black metal rasps. But even vocally the album doesn't seem to escape the Amon Amarth touch with Johan Hegg doing guest vocals on Into Submission.
Josefsson also takes over bass guitar duties on this album as well. The bass plays a much smaller role in the music here than on Apocalyptic. Where before it was a buzzing heavy bottom end now its buried behind the guitars. Even Janne Boden's drumming is slower and less frenzied.
Illusions of Grandeur is a step down in quality by Evocation. They have pretty much abandoned their Swedish death metal roots and instead here are more of a Amon Amarth clone. Still I will admit they do Amon Amarth better than Amon Amarth do but still, it is pretty disappointing. This time around they even opted for the clean modern sounding production. These songs are still decent but I seriously hope on their next release Evocation decides to move back towards their older sound which was far more enjoyable.