Evocation play a brand of Swedish death metal which will be instantly recognisable to fans of the genre. Originally kicking off in 1991, the band went on indefinite hiatus in 1993, an unsatisfactory state of affairs that lasted until 2001. Despite countless traumas and ruptures within the line-up, 2007 saw the band receive heavy acclaim for ‘tales from the tomb’ while 2008 saw the band garner the support of in-demand producer and musician Dan Swano amongst others. A tour with the masters of US brutality, Cannibal Corpse clearly did Evocation no harm either and now, in 2010, the band unleash the appropriately titled Apocalyptic.
A vicious, snarling, unrepentant death metal album from the off, Evocation don’t mess about with instrumental introductions or swirling synth. Instead they set about the simple task of bludgeoning the listener for almost forty minutes with solid, technical riffs and vocals torn from the depths of hell. While this is an effective trick, it is not one that sets the band apart from their peers and so Apocalyptic ends up being more of a solid and effective outing rather than a remarkable one. That, however, is not a terrible thing. ‘We are united insane’ has a ferocious groove which is guaranteed to see necks snap in the mosh pit thanks to the exceptional guitar playing and the tearing dive into ‘infamy’ is also a noteworthy blast of none-more-vicious guitar playing backed up by a fantastic vocal performance that is both throat-rippingly intense and well-phrased enough to be clear and memorable – a not-unimpressive feat. With hints at Lamb of God style groove metal edging into the band’s ferocious approach, there’s an accessible edge to the band that certainly helps to draw you into the album. It’s not the most original album of all time, then, but Evocation are astonishingly good at what they do and no metaller worth their salt will be able to resist the chugging guitars and mid-paced double-kick-drum work.
‘Parasites’ is, as its name suggests, a hate filled track filled with spleen-venting invective while ‘reunion in war’ sees the guitarists playing at lightning speed before breaking into a slower, heavier riff that is about as subtle as a brick but just as liable to get a grin on your face. ‘Psychosis warfare’ adds a touch of dynamics to proceedings with some necessary light and shade to drag you away from the totalitarian grind of the record, although it’s short lived and ‘murder in passion’ is a gruelling deathly workout played with dexterity by the musicians involved. ‘It is all your fault’ continues in the same vein with little to distinguish it from the rest of the album and ‘curse of the creature’ also offers little variation. The final (title) track shows that the band have been keeping the best for last – it’s a storming, absolutely brutal number that leaves you sweaty and excited and the tempo changes benefit the overall feel of the track as well.
Ultimately there’s nothing at all wrong with evocation. They are a solid, talented band but they also offer little innovation to a scene that is not uncrowded. Their passion and commitment is beyond question and there are a fair few numbers here that are guaranteed to ignite any pit the world over but equally there’s little of the innovation that you need to class an album as exceptional. This is rather a good album that will please fans of the Swedish death metal genre but for those who prefer a little more light and shade you may have to look elsewhere. The overall verdict, therefore, has to be solid and often exciting but unremarkable.