Reviewed: October 2019
Released: 2019, Non Serviam Records
It’s been almost ten years since Stortregn released their debut album, Devoured By Oblivion. In the years that followed, the Swiss black metal band have maintained a steady course of live shows and regular album releases – one such album was 2013’s Evocation Of Light. A record the band describe as a zenith point in their discography.
They have spoken about the 9 songs on the disc being among the most personal, inventive and extreme the band had written at that point; so it is with a sense of pride that they revisit this work and offer us a newly released edition on delicious, marbled vinyl.
For those unfamiliar with the record, Evocation Of Light is a blackened thrash metal album that showcases some energetic and skilled musicianship from all involved.
The album’s overriding appeal lies in the clear passion Stortregn have for heavy music. Across the 9 songs, the band have managed to infuse their enthusiasm into each galloping riff and soaring guitar harmony. The end result is a breathtaking, dynamic listen that utilises the whole heavy metal spectrum; from gentle acoustic passages (such as the opening Inner Black Flame) to full-bore, headbanging thrash-outs and doom-laden mournful riffs – It’s all here, propelled along by some impressive, rapid-fire drumming courtesy of Samuel Jakubec, who deserves to be applauded for his relentless percussive attack.
From a production point of view, Evocation Of Light is clear and bright sounding for a black metal album. There are none of the grimy, dank sensibilities of the underground here. Instead, the band are using an approach that better demonstrates their obvious musical skill. It offers the listener a level of clarity that pulls out the Maiden-esque melodies and ensures a song like Moonshade becomes a rousing, metal highlight.
Perhaps the most crucial consideration for an album that is now half a decade old is how well it has aged and whether it still stands as being worthy of your time.
The good news is that it certainly does.
It’s positive to note how vibrant and fresh this album still sounds. Negative Theology crackles with intent, vocalist Romain Negro sounds particularly savage on Thoroughfares, and The Call is an uplifting thrust that is likely to get your fist in the air while you headbang along to its strident riffs.
To summarise, Evocation Of Light is a quality heavy metal album that deserves to be back in the spotlight via this re-released version. If you missed this the first time around, I urge you to check it out.