Starting out recording a couple demos, Evocation shook up the Swedish death metal scene with the sheer ferocity in their live shows and unique sound they produced with influences from many different areas. Despite their hiatus and lineup change many years ago, they eventually got back in the studio. They then recorded five full-length albums, one of which being The Shadow Archetype.
Thier music started out as straight death metal that mixed the Gothenburg and Stockholm type sounds but then later evolved to feature more carefully crafted melodies in a lot of their material.
They’ve had a long and impressive run with their legendary demos, consistently great albums featuring some guests from bands such as At The Gates and Edge of Sanity, and compilations I’ll never get tired of listening to. With The Shadow Archetype, they’re showing us that they’re not close to finished yet.
Already within the first few seconds, you’ll notice the somber hopelessness this record produces with its clever use of pretty much everything minor. All minor all the time.
The distorted fuzz coming from the guitars gives away it’s Swedish heritage and provokes a feeling of actually being there. Being there as in Sweden. But, you know, during the year 900 AD when most of the populous was way more brutal than they are now.
“Condemned to the Grave” is the ultimate battle tune. It boasts some very thickly laid out riffs that are punchy and make me itch to get up and rise to action. Some lyrics in there such as “Your time is running out, I don’t need a reason you’re condemned to the ground” (or at least that’s what I heard.) reinforce that feeling tenfold.
Some might argue that this sounds like any of their other Swedish death metal counterparts such as Amon Amarth or Entombed, but I think they did well with keeping to their own sound and rolling with what they know best.
How can you possibly argue the fact that this style of music is ripping but interesting enough to keep you pulled in? The melodies practically tug at your ancestral inner self.
Okay, that might be a little much but still. Buzzsaw tone is king and Evocation with crush you with massive waves of it when you listen. No matter whether it’s The Ancient Gate or The Shadow Archetype, you’ll find differences but I guarantee it won’t be the harsh but well-dialed guitar tone. Well, actually their tone sounds a lot better now but you get the point.
The title track is the glue that brings this album together and it’s addicting. *Enter glue huffing joke here*. No, but really, I’ve revisited this track quite a few times. The vocals drape themselves over the instruments in such a pleasing way, they almost themselves become part of the rhythm.
“Blind Obedience” is pretty clear with its message. Opening with a monolog stating that good triumphs over evil. The depressing and almost ironic acoustic piece following it convinces us without words that that’s simply not the case.
I love the nostalgic feeling that’s evoked listening to this. Because again, they’re still holding on to their roots and the sound they first started with. But they’ve grown as musicians and have taken their work to the next level with elements that switch it up and keep things interesting, while also being slightly more accessible. Being able to maintain the bleakness of tunes that remind us of our inevitable suffering and pain, while being accessible is an admirable accomplishment if you ask me.
Some of the melodies spark a glimmer of hope, but the kind that comes from some sort of victory. The tracks are all epic in nature and tell a story in that sense.
In conclusion, the indistinguishable grit from an HM-2 along with the combined imagination used to write and put this together makes this an album that’s worth picking up if you’re anywhere near a fan of death metal. Especially that of Swedish variety.
01. Into Ruins
02. Condemned to the Grave
03. Modus Operandi
04. Children of Stone
05. The Coroner
06. The Shadow Archetype
07. Blind Obedience
08. Survival of the Sickest
09. Sulphur and Blood
10. Imperium Fall
11. Dark Day Sunrise
Label: Metal Blade Records
Genre: Death metal
Playing Time: 38:02
Marko Palmén (Guitars)
Gustaf Jorde (Bass)
Simon Exner (Guitars)
Thomas Josefsson (Vocals)
(Per Møller Jensen – Session Drums)