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Evoken : Evoken / Beneath the Frozen Soil

Beneath The Frozen Soil will stay in the shadow of Evoken.

After the highly acclaimed íA Caress Of The Void', and before the release of their sixth full-length to be expected in 2012, the American Death Doom juggernauts Evoken have put a final point to the contract that linked them to I hate Records and together with Beneath The Frozen Soil, inaugurate what is for them a first: the participation in a split. Two bands, two visions that share enough similarities to justify this kind of hazardous mating. The Evoken part takes off where íACOTVí had landed: on a quite melodic ground of vast proportions. Those four tracks are in perfect line with their previous works: dark and bones- and soul-crushing.

Evoken stay faithful to their musical ambitions and once again, this release wonít catch their absolute integrity out. Fans know what to expect: their Doom is as heavy, powerful and bigger-than-life as ever. However, I feel there are minor changes: if they still write arid and cold songs, they have let a big part of the cake to the synths this time. It lets the songs moving windingly, with an increased smoothness and bombast; overall, their 4 tracks sound richer and less dry and monolithic than before.

But the moods are alike, their music is deeply carved in antediluvian stones, black as onyx, laden with an ancient terrible evilness. The growls are really mean, gurgling and thundering. It all trudges with flashes of accelerations, always threatening and authoritative and burdened with the heavy weight of a transcendent wisdom. Evoken fling their supreme and savage truths with the self-confidence of an impassive and unstoppable subterranean sliding.

Beneath The Frozen Soil is a good band and I was really curious to hear what they could sound like now, many years after their last release (a split with Negative Reaction) and as many years of complete silence. I must say, they do a worthwhile job, and it resembles a true victory not to give more ground to the Death Doom masters than they actually do.

Guitar notes that sound as water drops make the direct link with Evoken. It begins softly, a murmur before it explodes in a crush. their Doom is rougher, raw and ascetic. It is built on the variations of the voices, growls, raspy grunts, shrieks; the vocals are monumental and ponctuate the music like a huge forge hammer. Beneath The Frozen Soil is as stern as Evoken is majestic; forbidding, unseductive, it doesnít shine at all, but mumbles its bitter imprecations in the way My Shameful can do. Dry, cold and uncompromising it conjures up utterly desolate landscapes.

At the end, you have a good split. But it brings nothing new. Evoken rest on their laurels and experiment very little. But their talent is intact and every song brings its load of brilliant moments. Beneath The Frozen Soil manage to take from Death Doom all its more bitter juice, itís mean and dead somber; but still a bit too impersonal to win you over with a burst of enthusiasm. All in all, itís definitely worth checking out.

Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
Evoken 1. Omniscient
2. The Pleistocene Epoch
3. Vestigial Fears
4. Into the Primal Shrine (Instrumental)

Beneath the Frozen Soil 5. Ironlung
6. Monotone Black I
7. Monotone Black II

Duration : Approx. 64 minutes

Visit the Evoken bandpage.

Reviewed on 2010-11-20 by Bertrand Marchal
Forever Autumn
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