No bullshit, absolutely no frills or fringes or tufts of feathery atmospheric anything that’d gild or add gloss to the ‘old school’ death metal formula infects the vision of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany based trio Evoked who blast heavy-handed and late 80’s thrash propulsive death on this debut full-length ‘Ravenous Compulsion’. The Autopsy-esque title’s splatter on the crushed artwork speaks volumes of the contents but the key point of inspiration you should pick up on immediately lies in the early years of Pestilence and blood-brethren Morgoth when approaching Evoked. The comparison is inescapably there but that shouldn’t at all hinder the average classic death metal fandom from the experience on hand which may be puritanical to a fault but offers such a stunningly vivid example of death metal’s power beyond the 80’s as bands like Sinister, Pestilence, and Death battered their way into the 90’s.
Perhaps the only band that loves ‘Consuming Impulse’ more than Skeletal Remains, Evoked began grinding their victims as a duo in 2013 going quickly to work on their ‘Return of the Dead’ (2014) demo tape. That demo made their influences clear, landing somewhere between Rude and Excoriate in the realm of raw and thrashing Pestilence/Asphyx worshiping death metal upstarts. The tone had shifted just slightly towards some ‘Leprosy’-esque riffs on certain parts of their ‘Lifeless Allurement’ (2016) EP, which featured bass from Kremator (of Go Fuck Yourself Productions) but the release didn’t sound like a step forward in quality at that point. The three years since have found the band a permanent bassist and taken some great care with fine-tuning their sound so that it could stand out among the number of fairly similar releases coming from Germany these last several years. As much as you should hear some Van Drunen in the vocals and early Florida/Netherlands in the thrash riffing Evoked deserve some credit for doing more with this sound than most, writing intricate riffs that always serve as a complete musical statement rather than a salad of heavy guitar fragments. It is hard to see at first but the finer details is where Evoked shine.
The second half of “Not of Human Flesh” is likely the first point in the album where you’ll begin to shake off some of that early Pestilence hammering and soak up the big fuckin’ Protector riff that they transition into midway. I found myself coming back to this song frequently just for how much they nail that thrash riffs application to early 90’s death metal, even Morgoth fumbled with this half the time. Side B starts to work just slightly outside the box with “Into Obliteration”, a song that’d fit just as well on an obscure Swedish death record like Authorize‘s ‘The Source of Dominion’ but without escaping from their already noted sonic similarities. “Festering Alive” is another certain highlight for its similar breaks into thrashing ‘old school’ death riffs that take a very conservative dip into black metal territory at the peak of the song. I could go on all day about each song and the various intricacies of the riffs but the gist of it is that you might’ve heard this sound before but again, what Evoked does with it is absolutely worth experiencing even if you’re just in need of a refresher course on what authentic early 90’s death metal sound actually is.
There is no deep conversation to have about it and no doubt that many folks will overlook ‘Ravenous Compulsion’ because it doesn’t attempt to escape from the power of its influences nor is the project pretentious enough to pretend they’re reinventing the wheel. Evoked punch out an effective beating as if it were the summer of 1991 and they knew they could do better than an album like ‘Cursed’. No punches pulled, it hits and that is all there is to it. Moderately high recommendation. For preview purposes I’d suggest starting with “Not of Human Flesh” for the big stuff up front and then the title track to see the broader range of the full listen succinctly set into one piece.
Escape the unreal. 3.75/5.0
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