Sunday, July 10, 2005

Review: Evocation - Nightdancer (2004)

Evocation [ Website | MySpace ]

The frozen forests of Scandanavia have become known for producing some fine atmospheric Gothic metal bands, with Sentenced, Tiamat, and Amorphis among the most well-known of the genre. Germany, on the other hand, calls to mind such power metal greats as Blind Guardian, Helloween, and Grave Digger. Thrusting aside the stereotypes, Berlin-based Evocation has produced three quality demos of atmospheric, melancholic metal one would normally expect to discover among the ice and snow of more northerly locales. Nightdancer, the band's third release, has everything fans of the genre love - and more.

Established in 2001, Evocation relies heavily on guitarists Christian Kikel and Thomas Glase for the dark atmospheres that make the disc such a good listen. There are no keyboards to enhance the mood, but they're hardly missed as the leads and riffs from the two axeslingers accomplish the task expertly. The guitar harmonies come into play immediately on the title track, alternating between crunchy riffs, twin leads, and licks with a slight progressive touch. The majority of the music is written by Kikel, and he proves to be quite skilled in that regard. Incorporating frequent time changes, his transitions are smooth and well-placed, enhancing interest in the music without disrupting the mood of the song. "Sleepless (re-evoked)", my favorite track, displays these time changes nicely, combining aggressive riffs with crystal clear licks in the speedier passages and moody leads with thoughtful bass lines in the more drowsy refrains.

Another distinctive element to Evocation's sound is the voice of frontman Andreas Hörl. Fluctuating between a baritone croon and a gritty shout, he for the most part compliments the aura of the music. There are times though, particularly when he utilizes his softer style, that his voice feels a little out of place. It's a minor complaint made moot by the fact that he has since left the band.

Fans of atmospheric metal heavy on mood and melody will most certainly enjoy the music of Evocation. The quality of their future works is unquestionable as far as the music is concerned, but as the band seeks a new singer the jury will remain out until their next release.

Track Listing
2Under the Water Surface3:59
4Slow Down3:03
5Sleepless (re-evoked)4:45

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