The sky is pale and gray. The land is desolate, and the trees are frail and leafless. A rusted copper fence encircles a lifeless, decaying garden, and crumbling statues are covered with blackened moss. I've never been to this place before, and I doubt I'll ever go back. The place is Doom Metal Eden. The band is EVOKEN, and in 71 minutes they have achieved Funeral Doom bliss.
I'll say right off the bat that this is near perfect Funeral Doom. But there is one thing that I don't want to get lost in my unrelenting praise of the album: believe it or not, some people don't enjoy 13 minute songs that lumber along slower than a snail and send the listener into a pit of sorrow. And there is the album's one flaw: this is Funeral Doom. If you don't like it, you will HATE this. But for fans of the genre, it doesn't get any better than “Antithesis Of Light.” With that in mind, enter EVOKEN.
The album opens with the "Intro," and you can hear whispering voices from all sides. As the first song starts you are introduced to the nearly overwhelming sound of EVOKEN. Throughout the whole 70 minutes the music never lets up its force or its power. In terms of atmosphere, this album is unmatched. Brutal chord voicing under gloomy clean guitar intertwined with slow and rhythmic drums take you to the dark places that very few bands can. If someone told me that EVOKEN recorded “Antithesis Of Light” in a cave, I would believe them, because that is exactly what this sounds like; some dark and gloomy cave in the mountains, of which there is no escape and where hope is just a faded memory.
The keyboard is a great touch too. It lurks quietly in the background, adding to the unsurpassed bleakness of this album. And when it chooses to come out, it is so beautiful that for a minute it might give you the illusion of hope, like a line of gray light piercing the dark cave where you are trapped. But just as soon as the beauty is there, the oppressing, lumbering guitar starts again and you are plunged back into EVOKEN's cave, and into total darkness.
With “Antithesis Of Light,” EVOKEN has created an unmatchable, bottomless pit of Doom Metal that flawlessly combines darkness, despair, beauty, and hope to just the right degrees to pierce your emotions. A Funeral Doom classic. If that's your thing, obtain this album by any means possible. But if you're looking to brighten up your happy day with some music…then stay the hell away.
(Online May 19, 2011)