Evoke – Seeds of Death Review

I’m a hammer kind of guy. I wield the Banhammer in the comment section, one of my favorite historical figures is Charles “the Hammer” Martel, my favorite Avenger is Thor, and I love the throwback 80s speed and insanity of Norway’s Deathhammer. Albums like Evil Power take me back to the glory days of speed and provide all sorts of nostalgic amusement and berserker energy. Evoke hail from the same scene as Deathhammer and vocalist/guitarist Kato Marchant has played for them live. Seeds of Death is Evoke‘s debut full-length, and it aims to hammer you with blinding speed and tongues firmly planted in the cheek of the 80s. It’s like the Bride of Deathhammer, taking influences from 80s speed/thrash and injecting them with the bestial warlust of South American acts like Sacrofago. In a nutshell Evoke sound like early Venom mixed with RazorPossessed and a bathtub full of biker-grade meth. That means a good time for all, except those tasked with cleaning the tub afterward. Speed is the mindkiller, and brother, minds are gonna get killed here for sure.

With no time wasted on moody intro jiggery pokery, Evoke introduce you to speed for speed’s sake on opening blitzkrieg “Deadly Revenge.” It’s deadly hyperactive as classic speed metal riffs spiral through the stratosphere while primal drum abuse ensues. Kato’s vocals are manic and so reverb-drenched they sound like they occupy several layers of reality simultaneously. It all reminds me of Desaster, which is high praise, as I’m very partial to those evil freaks. There’s nothing new or inventive in the delivery but there’s a wealth of furious and fast riffage and the well over-the-top, foaming at the mouth energy the style requires. And they keep on foaming in the free world as the album runs amok with cuts like the title track and “Leviathan’s Victory” going all Bütcher on your arse. “Wrathcurse” is a standout both for the amusing title and the 6-plus minutes of furiously effective thrashing it drops on you like so much dëvil göat wëngeance.

There’s no let up in the speed until closing cut “Satanic Rebirth,” which opens with cellos and something akin to Apocalyptica covering Metallica‘s “Sad But True” before launching into a more traditional metal foray that sounds like Mercyful Fate played at 78 RPMs. At 33 minutes, Seeds of Death is over in the blink of an eye and you’re left battered, bruised and amused. There’s no bad song, but the almost non-stop speed causes things to bleed together into high velocity hummus by the end, making the album feel a bit one note. It’s a fun note though.

Mr. Marchant delivers everything you need guitar-wise for an old school thrasher like this, peppering the material with driving, kinetic riffs and crazy flourishes. Some of his accents sound like the were purloined from Possessed‘s Seven Churches, which is super duper cool. He’s not the most technical slinger but he knows his way around a propulsive riff and understands how to use them to beat listeners into the ground and leave them smiling. He’s especially adept at switching riffs out before they get too familiar and tedious. His vocals are like an unholy compromise between Venom‘s Cronos and Tom Araya. They’re so drenched in reverb and effects that you can’t understand what the man is screaming about but who cares? This isn’t some stuffy Harvard lecture, it’s speed metal insanity! Wilson Urrustarazu puts in a yeoman’s effort on the kit, having to work hard to keep up with the lunacy. Since the drum sound is almost exactly like the one on Kreator‘s Pleasure to Kill, I’m a big fan. Hans-Magnus Johnsrud is particularly notable for his very present bass-work which bulges out like an untreated hernia at times, running off the rails entirely at others.

Evoke don’t try to rewrite the book on olde school speed, and why should they? Seeds of Death is a maniacal dose of adrenaline-soaked napalm jelly assembled for those who cherish throwback sounds. As one of those musical Luddites, I appreciate the craftsmanship. If you enjoy hammers and being hammered upon, this will pound you into dust good and proper. Get you some cheap beers and scuzzy denim and crank this thing to 13. Oh, and don’t forget it’s a B.Y.Ö.W. event (bring your öwn wömit).

Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Pulverised Records
Websites: evoke666.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/evokeoslo
Releases Worldwide: September 18th, 2020

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