|Another wait is over: here is Evoken's fourth full length album. As ever, expectations were, at least for me, quite high, because albums like 'Quietus' and 'Antithesis of Light' have set a new standard in the world of funeral doom and death/doom. However, 'A Caress of the Void' has proven to be a tough nut to crack for me.|
From the start, the sound is familiar, smooth, heavy, and you know Evoken is at work here. All the elements that have come to define the band's sound and that of this area of music in general are there: dark, slow riffs, deep growls, some spoken word, mournful lead melodies. The drums, as always, are exciting and varied. Yet, for some reason, this album doesn't grab me in the way the previous two did. There is no doubt that there are fine compositions on this album, but it lacks the directness and power that was present so prominently before.
But, don't get me wrong, there is lots of goodness in here. "Mare Erythraeum" is based around a single riff, but only a band of Evoken's level can explore it so excitingly, including an excellent guitar solo, of which I sadly hear too few on 'A Caress of the Void' as a whole. "Astray in Eternal Night" is a classic Evoken track, and one of their best yet, with some great dark melodies and a strong song structure. Then there is the equally strong "Descend the Lifeless Womb", another dark and heavy track. "Suffer a Martyr's Trial" is perhaps a bit long, but I really enjoy the part at the end, which incorporates one of the final parts left over from the 2002 Promo. Finally, there's "Orogeny", one of the tracks released as a teaser online, a short but quite heavy death/doom stomper.
The album is embellished with some excellent (dark green!) artwork and fittingly morbid lyrics. It's safe to say that taken altogether 'A Caress of the Void' is a solid album, full of excellently produced funereal and death/doom in that unmistakable Evoken style. In the end, though, I feel it doesn't quite reach the level of their earlier work. In a few places, I feel as if the band is operating on autopilot, while I would have appreciated some more innovative touches. As a final verdict, this is a very good album, and certainly one of the better ones of the year in extreme metal, but it pales slightly in comparison to the band's - for me - classic second album, 'Quietus'.
1. A Caress of the Void
2. Mare Erythraeum
3. Of Purest Absolution
4. Astray in Eternal Night
5. Descend the Lifeless Void
6. Suffer a Martyr's Trial (Procession at Dusk)
Duration : approx. 62 minutes
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