Released: 2012, Century Media Records
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson
If you're new to Swedish deathsters Evocation, this is a perfect time to get to know them. Not only does the band have a brand new album to offer – more on that in a sec – there are recent re-releases available of their 2007 and 2008 albums Tales From The Tomb and Dead Calm Chaos along with the Evoked From The Depths – The Early Years compilation that charts Evocation's beginnings – they split after but a couple years together in 1993, then regrouped to start over in 2005.
But if you had to pick just one to start with, I would recommend their latest, Illusions Of Grandeur. The steady work of the last few years really pays off on Illusions which harnesses the raw Swedish death metal fury of Tomb, etc., but brings more confidence and maturity to the writing and performances. And it avoids the “old school-itis” you hear so much these days as bands try to capture the roughshod Tomas Skogsberg/Sunlight Studios/Left Hand Path-era Entombed sonics that broke so much ground - 20 years ago.
At least these guys, after a decade-plus long hiatus, would have something of an excuse to embrace the old days. Instead, Illusions has a very modern almost slick sound – echoing, at times a bit too closely as on “Divide And Conquer,” Amon Amarth, who's frontman Johan Hegg guests on “Into Submission.”
And there's certainly no “illusions of grandeur” in the presentation here. It's big, bold and, well, grand, allowing the ample melodies shine to through while at the same time pummeling you with galloping drums and hulking riffs. “Metus Odium” or “I'll Be Your Suicide” are as catchy as the come, but still swing for the fences, making for a powerful yet memorable centerpiece to an all-around very satisfying album.