Death/Doom is an art which many artists struggle to perform to its fullest. Understandably, striking that balance between riff-based melody and a loved one’s death knell is not easy to formulate. But since the now distant year of 1994, EVOKEN, a five-piece Death/Doom band from New Jersey have strived to show all those lesser mortals how it’s really done.
With their 2005 release, “Quietus,” the band’s follow-up to 1998’s “Embrace the Emptiness,” EVOKEN once again trample the competition with a faultless combination of modern Funeral Doom and Death Metal. We’re not talking MY DYING BRIDE here, the band share far more stylistic similarities with bands like MOURNFUL CONGREGATION or COLOSSEUM. Throughout the album, a great wall of rumbling death perpetuates itself ominously, you hear it? It’s the sound of your death.
To those who are familiar with the band’s work, “Quietus” won’t surprise you, but much like it’s peers and predecessors, the album does succeed in crafting a range of truly world-crumbling soundscapes and unsettlingly beautiful melodies which absolutely must be heard by anyone new to the genre. “Where Ghosts Fall Silent,” the highlight of the two epic-length tracks on the album, builds so perfectly towards a self-fuelled cacophonic eruption, that you’d think Cthulhu himself dribbled on the tablature.
The album achieves these heights of grandiose, not through a constant barrage of the senses, but by masterfully honing the power of dynamics. All melody penetrates the void, and melody is not absent. But stick with the album, and here you’ll find one of the shining beacons of Doom/Death in this current age. If the droning ethics of AHAB or the melodic emphasis of MY DYING BRIDE turn you off, this is what you want to hear.
(Online May 4, 2011)