Always good to hear a new record from one of the hidden gems of the Swedish death metal scene. Always the underdog and criminally overlooked in the scene, Evocation have been in existence for what must be 25 years now but this is only their fifth album. But while Evocation lack an enormous back catalogue they more than make up for that with the quality of their output.

Refusing to conform to the usual Stockholm template of HM2 drenched fuzz  the lads do have a characteristically abrasive Swedish buzz to the riffing but this is simply aids in conjuring a quite oppressive & melancholic vibe to the songs that sets them apart from say, Unleashed & Entombed. The production here is stellar with a real punchy sound to the guitars, drums & vocals that helps to draw you in to Evocations’ hook filled nastiness. This is classic sounding but without a tired retro feel.

Tracks like “Survival Of The Sickest” have a real old school Paradise Lost feel to them. “Condemned To The Grave” has a surefooted groovy swagger that will definitely bother your cervical vertebrae  while album closer “Dark Day Sunrise” is a genuinely haunting (for a death metal track) song with an epic feeling to it from the movie score style intro all the way through to the fade out. I guarantee this song will stick in your head.

And while the music is spot on in its accurately measured and paced approach to death metal, lyrically vocalist Thomas Josefsson has taken a broad interest in control themes. Whether its psychological issues, drug dependencies, sex, the media, or more sinister government forces at play, songs on this album are less about gore / zombies / war and more along the lines of what you’d expect a mature adult to be writing about.

Evocation is, in my opinion, one of the hottest DM bands coming out of Sweden at the moment and this album (as with the rest of their back catalogue) deserves your attention.

(8/10 Mark Eve)