EVOKE - Dreaming the Reality (SYSTEM SHOCK - CD 1998)
Not really a well known band, I am afraid, even though Evoke was formed in 1993 and since their formation they managed to put out several demos, as well as two full length albums. I suppose Evoke goes into the category of “one of many death metal bands from the 90’s, which never managed to distinguish themselves from the rest” and that’s probably why they never got much attention. And I guess I could agree, but I definitely do not agree that their music was just mediocre or low quality. It’s not another uninteresting and unworthy band, surely not one, which you can easily skip. Here I have their debut album “Dreaming the Reality”, which System Shock released in 1998, and in my opinion this is a very solid and nice death metal recording. Surely an album, which I enjoy to listen to and which I can easily recommend to all, who simply like old school death metal and love all those classic 90’s albums.
I need to point out first that I don’t really care if someone will accuse Evoke for being just average death metal band, with nothing new or special to offer. Not once I said that I don’t care for originality, as long as the music is solid and kicks ass. And surely “Dreaming the Reality” does that pretty easily. Personally I like their combination of different styles of death metal, melted into one deadly pot, with the obvious influences from the British, Scandinavian, as well as the American death metal styles. All together it gives a nice, diverse slab of crushing music, which I am sure the fans of the old stuff will like. So, don’t be confused with the fact that it is little known band. “Dreaming the Reality” is actually pretty fine release!
OK, it’s not a perfect album and it contains some better and also maybe a couple of worse tracks. But there are 13 songs in total, so it is normal that some of them I will like more, while others less, but the majority of them is really damn fine! And no, it’s not the superb “Altars of Madness” highest quality, but damn, if you love bands like Fleshcrawl, Cancer or Demigod – which means great, classic, but from the second row bands - then Evoke will please you. For example “Through Blood Stained Eyes” sounds in my opinion a lot like Bolt Thrower, with great chunky, brutal riffs and dark, obscure vibe, but the melodic guitar lead in the end reminds me some Swedish acts. “Among Mere Mortals” shall remind you Benediction and Cancer, with that heavy, aggressive riffage, while “Bloody Rites” is one of the fastest tracks here, strongly combining the Scandinavian and British death metal styles. And the same can be said about “No Repent” and “Manipulate Then Ridicule”! But one of my favourite songs is “Equanimity Lost”, as it has some slow bits with (again) a strong Swedish style. Good thing about Evoke music is that they just came up with many killer riffs, their arrangements and song structures sound very good. The band did very good lesson and I can honestly say that this album doesn’t lack much. Maybe some of these songs are slightly too short, what may give an impression that the band had no ideas to really develop them more… but that’s not really something what would even bother and disturb.
So, “Dreaming the Reality” is really cool album and I am quite surprised that it is so little known. OK, it was released in the year, when death metal was received a very small attention and was just overshadowed by black metal stuff. But come on, you must listen to it. And who knows, maybe in times, when simply everything what was recorded in the 90’s and is called death metal gets reissued and recognized, will give Evoke also a second chance? I do hope so.
Standout tracks: “Through Blood Stained Eyes”, “Equanimity Lost”, “Bloody Rites”, “Among Mere Mortals”
Final rate: 75/100