|It's been almost three years since we last heard something new from Evoken and almost five years since there was an official release. All of this characteristic doomy slowness causes the expectations of fans to mount to great heights and this certainly goes for this album. And now, 'Antithesis of Light' is here, and let me tell you, this one should keep doom/death fans 'happy' for a long time to come.|
The 'Promo 2002' sounded very different from the previous Evoken work, due to the (lack of) production. The keyboards had a strong presence and that gave all of the songs a very mellow feel, compared to the rest of the releases. The question was: "Is this how the new album is going to sound?" Well, no. As far as overall sound goes, this album is more like 'Quietus' than the 'Promo 2002'. On the other hand, there is enough of a difference in production as well. The guitars are again upfront in the mix and are a bit raw at times. In general the album has a rougher edge to it than all of the previous releases.
And then, I believe the songs themselves deserve to be treated one by one. After a short, spooky intro, the album kicks off with 'In Solitary Ruin'. This song is some severe diSEMBOWELMENT worship, finely cast into an Evoken mold. Characteristic leads and some truly ravishing speedy parts make this a great opener. After this, 'Accursed Premonition' offers the first glimpse into the past. In the middle of this brooding song with the trademark style we encounter a riff from 'Among the Whispering Spirits', which appeared on the 'Promo 1997'. Up next is 'The Mournful Refusal', which is the last totally new song on the album. This is a seriously heavy song, with some great guitar solo and lead work, definitely one of the many highlights of the album. 'Pavor Nocturnus' is the new title of 'Reverie in Tears' from 2002. Besides that it's pretty much the same as the original version: a dark keyboard-driven, slow-paced track, presented here with a crisp production and finishing touches of guitar work. 'Antithesis of Light' differs a bit from the older version. A lot of change has gone into the song structure and especially the sound, giving the song a wholly new character and appeal. At the end, the final riff from the 2002 song 'Coveting Elysium' was added. Very, very captivating. The closing track on the album is 'The Last of Vitality', a song with composition and lyrics by ex-member Dario Derna. Again from 2002, and again very keyboard-based. And it is, however boring it may sound, very, very good.
So, what does this mean in the context of the entire Evoken oeuvre? Well, first of all it's safe to say that the band doesn't dwell too much on past successes and have given this album a great appeal of its own. The songs from the 'Promo 2002' definitely represent a new, more trance-like side of the band, while the first three songs remind one more of the earlier works. All of these influences receive a new treatment. Compared to 'Quietus' the musicianship has improved even further; the drumming is varied and engaging, there is a lot of room for different guitar sounds and solos, and some small other touches, such as the cello or sound effects finish the album up superbly.
There's only a few things left to say: this is a great and worthy follow-up to 'Quietus'. It has a great theme in the artwork and lyric sheet. This is over 70 minutes of grim winter for when everything's starting to turn green again. Everyone who's even remotely interested in modern doom should own this.
"Darkness, therefore, is much more than the mere absence of light; it is the very antithesis of light."
2. In Solitary Ruin
3. Accursed Premonition
4. The Mournful Refusal
5. Pavor Nocturnus
6. Antithesis of Light
7. The Last of Vitality
Duration : Approx. 72 minutes
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