Inescapable emotion is the order of the day for Evoken. Anyone familiar with the bands earlier work will be aware of the unrelenting melancholy that permeates every aspect of their work and with “Atra Mors”, Evoken remain true to form with an album steeped in pummeling, unrelenting misery.
There is so much scale to “Atra Mors”, so much variation in texture, timbre and force. From the sledgehammer fury of the eponymous title track things segue immediately into the quiet, restrained reflection of “Descent Into Frantic Dream”, the effective is to create an atmosphere of tempered anticipation as the “what will they do next” factor holds full sway.
As the album unfolds, each thread leading in a new and unpredictable direction it is the sheer sense of scale that remains the constant. The production is absolutely breathtaking, creating a monolithic soundscape that swirls, surrounds and ensnares. The outside world becomes nothing but a faint memory as the sheer totality of musical experience makes Evoken’s conjured world the only one that exists.
So tight and clearly planned is each separate segment that the full force of emotional impact is allowed to be felt. As the music crescendo’s and then dials back in, each section adds significance, building on everything that has come before while building foundation for the next movement. It is no understatement to say that this is a meticulously planned work.
Fans of doom will find much to love here but so well-developed is the album that it by rights should reach a far wider audience. In fairness, anyone with an interest in heavy music of any description will find the combination of heart-achingly powerful emotion, exemplary musicianship and pummelling force difficult to resist. This is an easy contender for album of the year, and should be considered essential.