The first time I listened to this album I thought “what the fuck is going on with my computer?” The vocals were lost in the mix, so it must have been a problem with the equaliser (fans of Edward Woodward need not despair, he is still the man!). Play two, same problem; despite much fiddling of electronic knobs, and still, the vocals are indecipherable. It was only at play three I got the whole point! This is an instrumental album where the vocals are just another layer, not a deliverer of stories that needs to be followed! It was within seconds of that realisation that the whole album made sense and I could settle back and let the excellence of the music just drift over me. For me, this is an instrumental album in which the vocals were just another layer, not the driving force.
When I tell you that this is a full length album with only four tracks you’ll know you are in for a laid back stoner trip. The fact it has an extra fifth track as a bonus to pad it out to 43 minutes is in no way a criticism; this is not a CD for flailing elbows and mad moshing; this is an album to loll back to and left it drift over you like a THC flavoured London Smog.
Opener ‘Routine of Life’ sets the pace, drawn out deep bass lines interplaying with a beat that sounds like every few seconds the drummer was awoken by his spliff burning his lips, growled vocals being interchanged with stoned guitar riffs, the whole marijuana influenced dirge bound together by a hypnotic combination of sustained guitar chords and warbling flute. Did I say “flute”? You are damn right I did! Eschewing guitar solos, the only vague urgency of the track is brought about by the flute, an instrument that sounds as urgent as Ian Anderson wandering into a dope den whilst high on ‘shrooms!
‘Dirty Game’ positively staggers out, riffs like swirling smoke fumes intertwining with the strident call of the flute as short, growled vocals interject. Think Tool, but without the pretence and unpleasant ego (and yes, I was at Download 2006 when Keenan went out of his way to abuse the audience). ‘Down the Drain’ equally suffocates the vocals in a sludge of bass, guitar, flute, and drums, with ‘Dregs’ being the perfect accompaniment to stoners young and old just to lean back into the wall and absorb. Back in the 80’s the saying “Pink Floyd Phase of the Party” was coined by me and friends; it represented that time at a metal party just after the Old Bill knocked on the door to make a complaint and the thrash was turned off to be replaced by ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’ and frantic moshing was replaced by chemically enhanced huddles and giggles in assorted corners; this album perfectly encapsulates that chill out state. Listening to this album makes denim, long hair, and the floating stench of patchouli positively mandatory.
What Evoke Thy Lords is aiming for, who knows? What they hope to achieve, I just don’t care! What I do know is that they make this 43 year old so called reactionary pillar of the community want to get into a time machine, fly back twenty years, drop some acid, and just chill!