Evoken "A Caress of the Void" CDPosted on Thursday, January 31st, 2008 @ 6:29am » permalink
As is often the case with genres for which I've only been a marginal fan over the years and have a hard time keeping up with, "A Caress of the Void", the fourth full-length from New Jersey's Evoken (their first for Swedish label I Hate), is actually my first true exposure to the band's output. And while I can't speak for their past, I can't help but assume they've been impressing a core legion for many years now, as this album displays some unquestionably top-shelf doom that balances expected doses of absolutely crushing slow to midpaced surges with just the right amount of tactful atmosphere. With just seven tracks making for an hour's worth of material, the average running time is about nine minutes per song, but great effort obviously goes into these compositions, because not one of 'em – including the 7+ minute instrumental "Mare Erythraeum" – starts to feel tedious or overbearing (which is quite shocking considering the faintness of my attention span as of late).
I'd definitely say the heart of Evoken's approach is built upon a foundation of the standards, from the aforementioned slow to midpaced tempos to the deep, guttural vocals (which are not without some feeling and emphasis, which is important to point out), as well as the more textural uses of subtle lead melodies and clean guitars layered throughout. These statements may seem as though I'm trying to candycoat some way to indicate that the band is somewhat typical, but that's not it at all. As limited as my listening spectrum within this general realm has been over the years, I can tell that there's a vision here, you know what I mean? The base is familiar, but there's an overarching sense of quality here that makes a huge, huge difference. There's enough creativity and distinction alone to prove the album's worth, but when it comes to doom I've always been much more concerned with the material being powerful and perhaps most importantly not boring, and as I touched on earlier, this is not a boring album at all. The superbly dense yet surprisingly crisp mix, the richness and texture of the tones themselves… everything falls into place perfectly to unite for the good of the whole, and those are pretty "nice" circumstances – even for an album as bleak and monolithic as this!