(Metal Blade Records)
When brothers Janne and Vesa Kenttäkumpu – both founding members of Evocation – quit the band in 2013, it looked like the death metallers were destined to disappear from view once again. But guitarist Marko Palmén, plus vocalist Thomas Josefsson and bassist Gustaf Jorde, decided to carry on: four years later, The Shadow Archetype is the result.
Recorded in three different studios and several years in the making, it’s an important album for Evocation, an act whose stop/start career has prevented them from being mentioned in the same breath of fellow Swedes At The Gates, In Flames or Dark Tranquility. And the time taken over its creation – plus the additions of six stringer Simon Exner and veteran sticksman Per Møller Jensen – has for the most part paid off. Listen to the title track or The Coroner and you’ll hear a band reinvigorated, resurgent and intent on cleaving you apart with an arsenal of steely, melodeath riffs.
And unlike many of their peers, Evocation can soak their music in a genuine sense of melancholy: closer Dark Day Sunrise, for instance, sees the quintet descend into an icy crevasse, a place devoid of hope, and it’s all the more powerful for it.
The Shadow Archetype dips in places though, with Sulphur and Blood sounding lumpen and unimaginative and the crusty Imperium Fall failing to deliver a killer blow, despite its ferocity.
Nevertheless, Evocation’s fifth album is, on the whole, a potent slab of emotionally-charged DM… and an opus that makes a powerful statement.