Sunday, October 28, 2018

Full Length Review: EVOKEN Hypnagogia (Profound Lore Records) by Dave Wolff

Place of origin: Lyndhurst, New Jersey, USA
Genre: Death/funeral doom metal
Recorded, mixed and mastered by Steven DeAcutis at Sound Spa studios, New Jersey, USA
Artwork by Adam Burke
Release date: November 9, 2018
It took them six years, but the New Jersey doom masters Evoken have spawned a full length that re-establishes their ability to record monstrous compositions after long years of existence. The band emerged in 1994 when death metal began its transformation into an art form in spite of what its detractors were saying, and were among the first to establish their own identity among the clone bands of the time. Their follow up to 2012’s Atra Mors sees them expanding into conceptual territory. Constructing a story over the background of the first world war, it highlights the physiological impact the war had upon the American soldiers who took up arms. One solder in particular who is experiencing the final moments of his life keeps a private journal in which he perceives his imminent departure from his earthly existence. While doing so he arranges with the help of a malignant god to leave a part of his soul in his writings, so anyone who reads them becomes possessed, experiencing the horrors of the war and committing suicide; this person’s soul likewise becomes trapped and so on as the journal’s dark power increases. It’s a horror tale created just in time for the Halloween season, worthy of the most well known genre authors of the last thirty years, and the music composed for Hypnagogia consummately captures its essence, complete with dirge-laden guitars, resounding drums, penetrating vocals, piano, string instruments and some shades of black metal (together with the occasional shades of Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride, groundbreaking bands in their own right). Evoken has been a consistent force in underground doom metal, learning and growing to their own credit. And while there is always room for improvement, they make their own decisions on where to go next; Hypnagogia shows they have stumbled onto something that can set new standards when it comes to devising engaging narratives that breathe new life into time-tested ideas. Earsplit is predicting this album will become a landmark in death and doom metal. It wouldn’t surprise me if it ended up catching on with old and new fans. -Dave Wolff

John Paradiso: Vocals, guitar
Chris Molinari: Guitar
Dave Wagner: Bass
Don Zaros: Keyboards
Vince Verkay: Drums

Track list:
1. The Fear After
2. Valorous Consternation
3. Schadenfreude
4. Too Feign Ebullience
5. Hypnagogia
6. Ceremony Of Bleeding
7. Hypnopompic
8. The Weald Of Perished Men

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