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Evocation - Tales from the Tomb Review

by Matt Hensch

Evocation would've fit well into a What If tale had the band been converted into a Marvel Comics entity sometime before the group's temporary death, which canned activity for this Swedish death metal squad back in 1995. The alternative conundrum stems from the very act of putting Evocation to rest in the first place: would they have achieved the same level of consistency and quality as cohorts like Dismember or At The Gates had they not decided to throw in the towel? Speculation is masturbation. Evocation eventually made its return after fifteen years of eternal silence with "Tales from the Tomb," the band's only full-length album at the time. The body of work throughout the opus, although not excellent, shows an interesting concoction of Entombed-glazed violence mixed with an underlying vitality of melodic elements ΰ la At the Gates or Dismember.

As one might guess, Evocation doesn't come off as some fourth-rate tribute act or an outsider doing its best to act like a Swedish death metal band for the sake of doing so; it's a rather genuine and orthodox relic from this niche of death metal. The album boasts an organic production that delivers an honest guitar crunch and comprehensive clarity without jeopardizing the collective sound Evocation presents. The guitar work focuses on the customary buzzing riffs that are often found in this type of thing, and it's safe to say that most of the guitar parts perform generally well despite having little to offer in terms of originality or deviation. Other aspects of the whole shebang, including the vocals and the drums, are honest recalibrations of this death metal niche—at day's end, this is truthful and competent to its roots.

However, what Evocation does here is a lot better and natural than the efforts of most, mainly because they were a core piece of the scene's original uprising in the first place and that essence definitely shines through many of their anthems. Several songs have the harsh atmosphere of death metal mixed with a clear coat of melody, which strengthens some very catchy tunes like "Feed the Fire" and "Blessed Upon the Altar." I'm personally more attracted to the less-modern blitzkriegs of "The Dead" and "Chronic Hell," although Evocation usually stays quite consistent throughout the whole journey. The group's cover of Entombed's "But Life Goes on" is savagely redundant and pointless, however; they bring nothing noteworthy or peculiar to this poor choice of tribute. Other cuts overlap at times, but "Tales from the Tomb" still comes out tasty.

As I said, Evocation is another cultural export from Sweden that enjoys gnawing on flesh and killing indiscriminately, and that's pretty much the name of the game when dealing with "Tales from the Tomb." No tricks or unexpected stops come from the work of Evocation, and I find the record to be a satisfactory voyage despite it taking many bits and cues from several death metal classics without bringing anything to the table that would otherwise show Evocation ruling this domain of death metal. "Tales from the Tomb" is quite decent overall, although I feel like its focus dwells on the strength of some of its offerings instead of the whole package. Definitely worth purchasing if you can't get enough of this stuff.

Evocation - Tales from the Tomb


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