Evoke – “Seeds Of Death” (Pulverised Records)
Battle Helm Rating
Instant detonation! A vicious Norwegian trio formed by ex-members of the aptly titled Nuclear Genocide including drummer Hans Magnus (Enter Obscurity), bassist Wilson Urrustarazu (Blodrunk) and acclaimed guitarist / vocalist Kato Merchant (Deathhammer, Electrocution), who is also a full-time member of Black Viper and did live sessions for the now-defunct Condor, Evoke take it right back to the glory days of 80s death / speed / thrash when bands like Destruction, Possessed and Kreator were the cutting edge face of metal, along with a 90s Scandinavian touch in Dissection and the hyperbolic furore of South American bands like Krisiun! Combining blinding intensity and mesmerising technical proficiency with the composing skill to create 7 deadly but catchy tunes on this excellent debut, “Seeds Of Death” shows the full blossom of a trio whose demos go back to 2016. Despite its seemingly tranquil title, ‘Souls Of The Night’ drum rolls into a stampede of blistering riffing offset by warbles amid fretboard wails as Merchant’s spat vocals with a classic 80s ghostly echo bring forth Evoke’s might as Urrustarazu adds in his voluminous bass. What sets it all apart are the epic grooves inherent in the music, along with stirring melodies and superb arrangements to ensure that amid the fire there’s plenty of gold in there too and indeed on ‘Leviathan’s Victory’ the hooks and melodies are absolutely superb as Magnus adds in more drum rolls along to his double bass drumming blast beats, while Merchant’s guitar work would make the late, but still greatJon Nödtveidt proud. There’s little let up on this album, and as ‘Demons Of War’ hammers in, it’s almost as if Urrustarazu and Merchant are competing with Magnus kicking them both in the ass but the performances are ultra-tight and it all holds together as the haunting vocals once again do their trick thanks to the superb live sound mixed by Hellforge Studio’s Marco Brinkmann (Vulture, Scalpture, etc) and mastered by Patrick W. Engel at Temple Of Disharmony (Black Viper, Degial, Grave Miasma, etc). Bringing this superb debut to a close is ‘Satanic Rebirth’ with its somber violin intro building the ominous atmosphere that is shattered by a nuclear explosion before sonic waves of more epic riffs lead the Scandinavian onslaught with Merchant almost spitting out his lines to keep up with his frantic shredding, although once again, the melodies and his harmony laden sound together with some dramatic arrangements take this release to the high levels befitting the trio’s musical accomplishments to date.