Evoken / Beneath the Frozen Soil – Split   Leave a comment

Evoken are a band that needs no introduction with four full length monolithic slabs of doom to their name including their best two in my opinion, 2005’s “Antithesis of Light” and 2007’s “A Caress of the Void.” The other albums also worthy of mentioning is 2001’s “Quietus” and 1998’s “Embrace the Emptiness.” Add to that impressive demos and their 16 years together as a band has been nothing short of excellent. Beneath the Frozen Soil” from Sweden are only 6 years old and still haven’t produce a full length album as yet (I think) but have released a EP in 2005 titled “The First Wreath” and did a split with Negative Reaction in 2007. Now they find themselves on another split this time with doom-lords Evoken but this split is kind of strange. Evoken have 4 songs stretching over 40 minutes which is a full-length in itself while Beneath The Frozen Soil has only 3 tracks for a grand total of only 21 minutes so I am thinking maybe each band should have released their own deal here but I guess they have their reasons for this unbalanced split album. I was real excited to hear that after 3 years, the time had come to hear new Evoken material and they don’t disappoint at all while Beneath The Frozen Soil unleashed some hellish blackened death doom with elements of droning sludge and after getting a ear-full of their 3 tracks, I cant wait to hear a lot more from them and I hope it is soon. This comes on the I Hate Records label, a label that seems to be getting better with every release they put out.

Starting with Evoken that have 4 new songs, well kind of anyway. “Omniscient” was recorded for a demo in 2002 but was re-recorded in 2007 for the “Caress” sessions while the other three songs were all written and recorded in 2007 but haven’t seen the light of day until now. “Omniscient, The Pleistocene Epoch” and “Vestigial Fears” are 3 epic tracks, all over 10 minutes long and all in a similar style to what you might have heard on the “A Caress of the Void” album. People who have not been lucky to enjoy the overwhelming weight of Evoken’s doom-metal will not know they have never been a band to really repeat themselves too much. The debut album, “Embrace the Emptiness” was a very ambient album while keeping a strong death-doom element, “Quietus” was total funeral-doom while on other releases they have been a strictly death-doom band. These first three songs on this split however are more in the dense minimalism tradition of doom while still crushing you with atmospheric heaviness. It is not all about heavy guitars with Evoken as they have an incredible knack of writing long pieces that have subtle variations that makes the songs flow by so fast you don’t notice their extended running times, no padding, just mesmerizing heavy music. The fourth song here is the odd one out being an instrumental for one thing and for being just a bit different. The track titled “Into The Primal Shrine” is the weakest of the four but it is still good, I just found that I missed the vocals on this one, like a key element was missing.

Beneath The Frozen Soil’s first track up is “Ironlung” which even gives Evoken a run for their money in terms of cinematic dynamics. This deathly dirge combines blackened death doom and ambient sludge and in a small way the influences of Khanate can be heard. The song has a morbid, depressive vibe as the band simply crushes with the intensity of the riffing of guitarist Linus Pilebrand. The vocals display a feeling of suffering and sadness fueled with hatred and anger, a great track. The rest of Beneath The Frozen Soil’s time on this split is spent on the two-part “Monotone Black” which didn’t quite grabbed me the same as “Ironlung” but it is still a powerful 13 minutes of atmospheric doom-metal that is heavy enough to crack concrete. As 2010 draws to a close, we are faced with another inclusion into the top albums list for the year. You can’t go wrong here, for Evoken fans, this release is essential and for people wanting to hear one of the next Swedish super-doom groups Beneath The Frozen Soil really impress even though their shorter playing time is a little overshadowed by the brilliance of Evoken…..9/10
Evoken @ Myspace.com
Evoken Official Forum
Evoken @ Facebook
I Hate Records
Beneath The Frozen Soil Official Website
BTFS @ Myspace

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Posted December 15, 2010 by doommantia in Beneath The Frozen Soil, Evoken

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