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mysterious, heavy and fascinating! - 100%

the_lonliness_metal, July 16th, 2014
Written based on this version: 2012, CD, Profound Lore Records

We find one of these works in that it is very difficult to find some kind of "error" or shoddy composition in all its magnificence listening and repeating songs and never end up getting tired to hear the same album all the time and among them is this album definitely became my favorite albums in my collection. The beginning of this journey begins with the powerful, mystical, mysterious, dark and depressive Atra Mors, which is the song of the same name titled album. Here the use of synthesizing resulted in a novelty, as in previous work by the band, the use of keyboards is very low, providing an exquisite ingredient within the atmosphere of the album. Atra Mors is extraordinarily spectacular as it is the eve of a dark journey, full of heaviness that will freeze your heart from beginning to end; also growls of vocalist evokes great despair, making you feel the only person listening to music a thousand times.

But entering the review, the album's sound is novel because it incorporates a synth that is in keeping with the established sound of the band, giving a rawness style accompanied by the sound of distorted guitars. Also a song worthy of recognition is the song 'Descend into Chaotic Dream' in this song is very noticeable with the use of acoustic guitars and a rich court setting with synthesizers and clean vocals used by singer giving the song an air of hopelessness and depression characteristic of funeral doom. In the song 'A Tenebrous Vision' is an instrumental where most exploits the use of keyboards as well as in the song 'Requies Aeterna' in which he experimented with the use of cellos and acoustic guitar; noteworthy that these two songs in spite of being much shorter enrich the sound and instrumentation used in the production of this album.

In my opinion, the quality of the album and the bulk of the sound brings the songs "Grim Eloquence', 'Into Aphotic Devastation', 'An extrinsic Divide' and the monumental 'The Unechoing Dread', where the band expresses melancholy, aggression and despair at its best. It is also a novelty solos used in the song 'Grim Eloquence', which is very difficult to find it in the sound death / funeral doom used by the band as well as the sick and heavy laden atmosphere completes very well with the rate used in this record. Finally, unlike other works Evoken, anyone can differentiate changing sound of the band and you may notice the use of synth and keyboards. For me it is a change that achieved engage the style and creativity of the band and this gem certainly a valuable means to death / funeral doom contribution. Recommended!

Legacy - 100%

FullMetalAttorney, August 6th, 2013

Profound Lore is a label that's been on a winning streak essentially since its inception, and over the last three years at least has become the premier all-around metal label. To mark a milepost in the label's history, PL tapped Evoken for its 100th release. The band is a wise choice for the occasion, since they released the classic Antithesis of Light and have never put out a bad (or even an OK) record. Atra Mors is the fifth full-length from a band that I have cited numerous times as one of the best funeral doom bands in existence.

This record is going to make me change my tune on that, because you're going to have to forget about being "one of" the best. They are now easily "the" best.

The record is 68 minutes of crawling, lurching, and sometimes steamrolling doom, made possible through perfect, unassuming drum work. Few bands can make a record that works for every moment of its runtime, let alone for over an hour, and yet that's what we have here.

All funeral doom requires atmosphere. Atra Mors has that in spades. The rumbling heaviness and gut-wrenching death growls are accented by other sounds, like eerie clean melodies, strings, and synths. But the sound goes far beyond atmosphere. The riffs are slow-headbanging brilliance, memorable in themselves, and made even better by the aforementioned melodies. I've already mentioned the dynamic tempos and rhythms, but there are also dynamics of volume and texture, as they switch between funeral doom's standard mode and clean sections of acoustic guitar or synth, and occasional spoken vocals.

Atra Mors is one of those records that is so perfectly crafted that it's difficult to find much to say about it, short of going into a play-by-play. They weave so many aspects together so expertly, you can hardly describe it with any specificity. For example, the last track combines all of the elements of pure funeral doom with strings and prominent synths into many different rhythms, seamlessly changing tempo or accent while tying it together with a prominent melody.

Profound Lore's 100th release could not have been marked with anything better. I thought I had my album of the year figured out already.

originally written for http://fullmetalattorney.blogspot.com/

Masterpiece - 95%

Papyrus11, September 20th, 2012

This album has been out for nearly two months now and, after repeated listening, I am only just ready to write a review. Why? Because it’s the lengthy and desolate masterpiece that we’ve come to expect with every Evoken release, and they always take time to fully absorb.

Evoken have their sound fully established by this point in their career: bleak, horrendous-sounding epics that wallow in desolation but at the same time have a sense of grandeur: their songs create images of worlds beyond our perception, worlds of grotesque and sorrowful nothingness. Luckily, they haven’t shifted their style too much with ‘Atra Mors’ – it’s the classic Evoken sound, but this time it’s a little more refined, with the addition of a few added dimensions.

Some of these additions are: clean/spoken vocals on some tracks that add to the sombre atmosphere, cello interludes and even a melodic guitar-solo. All of these are integrated perfectly into the ebb and flow of the music; they aren’t simply hammered in for the sake of variety. The songs (and album as a whole) seem to demand the inclusions of these elements. The guitar solo at the end of ‘Descent into Chaotic Dream’ works perfectly: a melodic and achingly melancholic coda to the album’s top song – it starts off as a classic Evoken dirge, eventually interspersed with pieces of moderately speedy and ugly death metal, before ending quietly and melodically with the solo. It is the album’s highlight for sure, closely followed by ‘Grim Eloquence’. This is not to downplay any of the other tracks; the whole album is great and of course, like all Evoken albums, best listened to in its entirety. In light of this the cello-lead interlude tracks add to the overall journey feel of the album; plaintive and emotive stops for breath amongst the onslaught of the other tracks. They work perfectly.

Special mention must also go to the artwork and lyrics. The cover is my favourite Evoken cover ever: a black and white picture of hooded figures moving away from, what I believe is, a plague pit. Evoken have found the one image that perfectly personifies their sound; just look at it and you’ll understand where this band is coming from. Lyrically Evoken capture images of hopeless voids better than almost anyone:

“I will diminish those centuries and persecute those with quiet desperation...”

This comes from ‘Atra Mors’ (Black Death), and the lyrics are written from the perspective of the plague itself. A novel idea, and one captures the feeling of something that exists beyond man, something hideous and eternal that looms over every living thing, until eventually nothing lives at all. On the album’s final track ‘Into Aphotic Devastation’ we are given:

“A soundless realm, an unforgiving place where time seems endless.”

The imagery creates visions of a place of no life, light or hope; a nowhere realm far beyond our consciousnesses. This concept is key to grasping Evoken’s essence. There is something meaningful about staring into the void. In some ways you may even want to experience the void, and with Evoken’s music you can in some way.

The bottom line here is that if you liked anything Evoken have unleashed before then you will like this. Everything is here: the crunchy and low-tuned guitars mixed with plaintive clean playing, the low, guttural vocals, the perfectly paced and powerful drumming, the keyboard atmospheres, and overall the long and sorrowful walls of grief and pain. But everything is a bit better this time around. The five year gap between this and the last album has clearly refreshed the band. Each element of every song works perfectly, not a note is wasted. These are long songs that require their length, not songs that go on forever just to be epic. Essentially, ‘Atra Mors’ is a masterpiece. It is probably too early to tell, but give it a few years and I can see it overtaking ‘Antithesis of Light’ as their greatest work in most listener’s estimations. It seriously is that good.

While Evoken are a funeral doom/death band (and no doubt one of the best to have ever existed) their total mastery of their sound and dynamics, their dedication to utter musical bleakness and their frankly brilliant compositional skills make them transcend genre, to take their place on a plateau of Neurosis-like greatness, where they create their own genre of ‘Evoken-metal’, something that exists on its own plane, going to places where others can only follow or look on in awe.

originally written for: http://hauntingtheobscure.blogspot.co.uk/