Written by: AP on 31/12/2010 14:27:33

Despite having released just two full-length albums, the history of Evocation stretches back to the early years of Gothenburg scene death metal. During their indefinite hiatus, an unsatisfactory state of affairs which lasted eight years from 1993 to 2001, the band seem to have buried their original songs in a time capsule, to be unearthed and faithfully restored at an opportune time in the future. And what better time to resurrect a genre once admired by all, than in a time when impostors have begun to lay claim to melodic death metal with sloppy parodies like Sonic Syndicate's "We Rule the Night" and Dead By April's self-titled debut. With its sights set on the origins of the genre, "Apocalyptic" aims to rectify this sad situation, and, in the process, pay tribute to the legends that helped shape it.

It should be no chore to guess from that introduction that "Apocalyptic" should sit well with fans of At the Gates, elder In Flames and Dark Tranquillity, and Unleashed. Despite the modern production, it retains the distortion, tremolo and endless repertoire of staccato riffs that has grown to be the signature of the genre, and comes across sounding like Gothenburg in the late 90s. Those fond of the glossier In Flames and Dark Tranquillity albums of recent years will likely find the perpetual darkness and howling despair of "Apocalyptic" off-putting, as it offers neither remorse nor memorabilia. What it does excel at, however, is in creating a sinister atmosphere bordering on the more commercial end of black metal.

Without instrumental introductions or swirling synth, Evocation are interested in bludgeoning the listener with unrepentant, solid, technical riffs and vicious, snarling vocals that sound like hell itself spat them out. The album is filled with hate and spleen-venting invective, but not without the necessary light and shade to relieve the totalitarian grind in more dynamic songs like "Parasites" and "Psychosis Warfare". But these moments are short-lived, and most of the album is so grueling and brutal that ultimately, through relentless repetition, the band's greatest asset - their unwillingness to compromise - becomes as suffocating as it is intriguing.

But ultimately, while Evocation are an unquestionably talented band, they fall short of the genre heavyweights because their ferocious approach sounds too much like a product of their influences, with identity forgotten. Those true to the original sound of Gothenburg metal can look forward to ten tracks jampacked with the best of the genre, while others looking for innovation akin to "Slaughter of the Soul" must continue to hold their breath for now. Keeping in mind that "Apocalyptic" is only the third album Evocation has composed though, and that they have tremendous experience to tap into, it should only be a matter of time before this most promising of bands writes a modern classic.

Download: Sweet Obsession, Parasites, Psychosis Warfare, Apocalyptic
For the fans of: At The Gates, Dark Tranquillity (old), In Flames (old), Unleashed
Listen: Myspace

Release date 29.10.2010
Cyclone Empire

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