Evoken come back with a full length five years after A Caress Of The Void and, as always, they don’t disappoint expectations, probably reaching one of the highest points of an already splendid career. The ability to immerse the listener in leaden and suffocating atmospheres, without ever being boring or repetitive, is the privilege of a select few, and the New Jersey band is rightly part of them. Compared to what was done last winter with The Book Of Kings by Mournful Congregation, Evoken accentuate, as per their attitude, the death component, favouring an impact more based on guitar riffs while not disdaining acoustic passages, mostly contained in the two short instrumentals A Tenebrous Vision and Requies Aeterna. If the guitars assume a predominant role in the sound of the American masters, the keyboards play a wise job of connection characterizing with rare effectiveness the moments of greater intensity and pathos. Atra Mors is opened by the title track, making it clear from the very first notes that, although nothing has changed, the pain continues to renew itself in a constant way, feeding in an endless chain of regrets, disillusionment and despair for a path that, day after day, gets closer and closer to its end. This terrifying journey into the deepest recesses of the human psyche continues with the wonder represented by Descent Into Chaotic Dream, whose final guitar solo is pure poetry. Grim Eloquence and An Extrinsic Divide continue with their slow pace towards the moment of final detachment, but it is with the sometimes dissonant atmospheres of The Unechoing Dread that the darkness ends up wrapping us mercilessly, with the masterful growl of John Paradiso to definitively rage on our already sufficiently tested spirit. Into Aphotic Devastation concludes, walking mercilessly on our miserable mortal remains, this path paved with suffering at the end of which I try to imagine the question that would formulate spontaneously who is not accustomed to this type of music: why should I endure all this? The answer is that death doom is not only an artistic form characterized by a rare integrity and alien to any kind of compromise: listening to works of the value of Atra Mors reminds us constantly and without remission of the aleatory character of our existence, inviting us to face it daily with the right awareness and the necessary disenchantment, before everything ends inevitably with the landing in “… a soundless realm, an unforgiving place where time seems endless …“. An album not to be missed.

2012 – Profound Lore Records