Illusions of Grandeur

Label: Century Media
Three similar bands: Dark Tranqullity/At The Gates/Somber
Rating: HHHHHHH (3/7)
Reviewer: Caj Källmalm
1. Illusions Of Grandeur
2. Well Of Despair
3. Divide And Conquer
4. Perception Of Reality
5. Metus Odium
6. I’ll Be Your Suicide
7. Crimson Skies
8. Into Submission
9. The Seven Faces Of God
10. Final Disclosure
11. Shades Of Shame (Digipak bonus track)
12. Dark Day Dawn (Digipak bonus track)
13. Dead Without A Trace (Digipak bonus track)

Thomas Josefsson (vocals)
Marko Palmén (guitars)
Vesa Kenttäkumpu (guitars)
Janne K. Bodén (drums)
Gustaf Jorde (bass)

Evocation (2004)
Tales From The Tomb (2007)
Dead Calm Chaos (2008)
Apocalyptic (2010)
Evoked from Demonic Depths - The Early Years (compilation 12)

Johan Hegg (V on 8)

recorded at IF Studios
producer Roberto Laghi
mixed at IF Studios by Roberto Laghi
mastered at Bohus Sound Studios by Dragan Tanaskovic
Cover artist Xaay

Released 24/9-2012
Reviewed 21/10-2012

century media

I'm not exaggerating when I say that the demo compilation 'Evoked From Demonic Depths' I reviewed last week was one of the worst albums I've heard all year. This time Evocation is releasing a new album, however, and this is the fourth full length album by the band and immediately it's obvious that the 20 years and many thousand liters of water under the bridges that has gone since they recorded the demos has made Evocation good.

In the early 90's this band set out optimistic and enthusiastic by recording two demos in 1992 before completely disappearing for over ten years. When they finally returned in the mid 00's they'd changed their sound and traded that raw and uncompromised music they set out to play for something with a clear relation to Gothenburg death - a genre that didn't even really existed back when Evocation begun but had gain a big popularity during the years they'd been gone. The Gothenburg inspirations are clearer than ever on 'Illusions Of Grandeur' and compared to the demo compilation released a few months before this it's much more melodic and have everything from a better sound to better songs. In all fairness everything sounds much, much more better today than when this band started in the 90's but despite this I can't help feeling that they've somewhat taken water over their heads by changing character this way.

Regardless of how bad 'Evoked From Demonic Depths' sounded, they still made something with an own identity back then and in my opinion they don't anymore. The first half of 'Illusions Of Grandeur' sounds like a shameless cheap copy of Dark Tranquillity and it's very clear how they've been inspired by all the Gothenburg death pioneers here. In fact it shines through more or less everywhere on this album and if they're trying to deny it they're only embarrassing them selves because it's so obvious a hamster could spot it. Now I'm not saying that it's necessarily something negative and in a way it isn't something negative for Evocation either, considering how this album is miles better than their demo compilation and the songs they did 20 years ago as the music flows, the vocals doesn't sound like annoyed throat clearing by someone with serious throat issues (kind of dark and trollish - in the same vein as Stanne and Lindberg who defined the genre) and this makes this album way better automatically.

The music we get is thick and fast and the guitars have the main focus as they play in an almost marching way - straight forward and true to the beat and most tracks have a harmonic lead guitar on top of everything that lies like blanket on top of it all and makes the trip more comfortable and very much more melodic. The second half gets rawer and angrier than the first and here they lose that forward momentum for a lower tempo and less attractive melodies. And at least I feel that when it comes to this point, after 5-6 songs that hasn't had anything particularly different from each other and has the same kind of sound and concept, it gets a bit boring. As Final Disclosure ends the album I think there's been about two songs that has made some sort of impact on me - something better than the rest. The rest just feels pretty much as repeating the same thing over and over - repeating the Gothenburg metal and repeating them selves.

All in all I think 'Illusions Of Grandeur' is a decent album that lacks those real bummers and compared to the demo compilation I reviewed just last week with songs from 20 years ago - it's another dimension. But… I really didn't understood why they even released that album from the beginning and to compare an album, let's say this album, with that is like comparing two different kinds of breeds. Like comparing beavers with owls - it's just pointless as they don't have anything to compare. Overall it's okay but I really don't think these guys make something overly interesting compared to other bands and other albums in the same genre, hence my rating is decent, but only just.



läs på svenska