Review Summary: You're sitting in a snowstorm, raging and violent, threatening to consume the land as far as the horizon...
You probably envision vast arctic wastelands, a snowstorm, raging, violent, threatening to consume the land as far as the horizon. The bleak despair within your soul is almost too much to bear. You need something to abolish the sadness and bring you catharsis. You search for music which can match the bottomless depths of these emotions within.
Evoken is your band. They take funeral doom and improve it. They combine all the elements of great funeral doom into one amazing package. The slow, crushing downtuned guitar riffs, giant cymbal crashes and extremely guttural vocals. We've heard this all before in Ahab, Ataraxie and Swallow The Sun. So what sets Evoken apart from the pack? Well, for starters they are one of few American doom metal bands still plowing along and creating crushingly depressing music today. They are well known however in the doom/funeral doom metal scene (although I confess it wasn't until recently I discovered the band from a good friend here on Sputnik) creating music since 1992 (as Funereus). 18 years later the band has stayed true to their roots. Haunting clean riffs overlap simple distorted riffs and almost painfully slow drums.
As most fans of the genre know, listening to any funeral doom album takes a lot of patience and many listens to truly appreciate. This album is no different. The album starts off discordant with a clean riff chiming through. Then A Caress of the Void
truly begins, a journey of absolute powerful emotion. Think Ahab
except the drums are a little bit more up-tempo and the vocals not quite as deep. Lyrically, A Caress of the Void
treads themes of death and the afterlife. The lyrics are incredibly poetic and even majestic at times. Take for example this passage from Suffer a Martyr's Trial
Lead us unto ruin, devourer of hope
In night's solemn presence
The accursed procession approaches their destiny
Fields in neglect; unconsecrated by blood and monumental agony
Behold, crosses for the dead
Their distorted shadows forewarn the tragedy
The vocals often switch from growls to spoken lyrical passages and some clean singing as well. One major flaw I found with the album is the production. I know a lot of doom fans say that low production quality adds to the overall sound and in some cases that is true. On this album, and other Evoken
albums though, the production quality and mixing is inconsistent. Many times the drums are mixed too high or the guitars overpower everything else. Take it or leave it though, it seems inconsistency is a staple of doom for the foreseeable future.
Aside from that, you definitely need to be in the mood to enjoy this album or any other funeral doom album for that matter. As summer's ending is upon us and the decay of autumn is nigh, throw this album on the next time you find yourself sitting in front of a dark window staring out at the bleak skyline or in winter when a snowstorm rips through your city. It may suit your mood and give you the right soundtrack to a moment of despair.