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 Did you guys liked Kamni? Did you loved the filth of Dopethrone? Well as it turns out Siberia has it's answer, and it's been around for some 7 years now. For all you doom, sludge and stoner lovers, here's a band that I promise you'd be interested in Evoke Thy Lords. Crushing sounds from Novosibirsk in the good vein of the first album of Kamni, Dopethrone, some nice parts of Elder are there, all in the mix and sounding really badass! Sounds and themes reaching towards themes of H.P.Lovecraft (here I just can't miss an opportunity to say how much I love Lovecrafts work!). And the flute and the female vocal interludes give it an almost symphonic feel at times.

Evokers of Kthulhu released 2 full-lengths and a split with Riders on the Bones. One of the albums is completely fresh and got out just this february. The Drunken Tales is the one that really made me post this in this blog, so mainly pay attention to that. Their earlier stuff tends to be more goth/doom metal in that sense, but still pretty good. So if you, readers, are also into metal, the earlier albums might be your cup of tea! For instance, it's a good listen if you liked bands like Swallow the Sun or, I don't know, Draconian?

So go on, press on those links, I know you want to!

Quel ristretto manipoli di sventurati che abitualmente legge le mie recensioni su Iyezine credo abbiano intuito che, quando parlo di doom, tendo a diventare più integralista del peggiore dei talebani. Partendo dal presupposto che questo genere musicale deve semplicemente fluire dal cuore di chi lo suona per approdare direttamente a quello di chi lo ascolta, rigetto l’idea che possa diventare oggetto di contaminazioni pseudo avanguardistiche, utili solo a compiacere chi il doom lo snobba a prescindere.

Nonostante questa mia premessa, i siberiani Evoke Thy Lords sono riusciti a fare breccia in questa spessa corazza protettiva proprio perché gli elementi innovativi inseriti nel loro sound, sono tutt’altro che futuristici ma provengono, di fatto, da molto lontano, attingendo in gran parte alla tradizione del prog più psichedelico. Di per sé, questo, potrebbe non sembrare una novità così dirompente se non fosse che la conduzione dei brani, invece d’essere affidata, come sempre accade, alla chitarra, lascia ergersi a protagonista il flauto di Irina Mirzaeva. Chiunque ricordi l’utilizzo di questo strumento fatto dai Cathedral nel loro inegugliato capolavoro “Forest Of Equlibrium” può farsi in maniera più esaustiva un’idea di ciò che lo attenderà ascoltando Drunken Tales: chiaramente il tessuto sonoro dell’album non possiede i tratti catacombali proposti all’epoca dalla band di Lee Dorrian dato che qui il genere proposto è, a grandi linee, uno stoner doom quasi del tutto strumentale.

Gli Evoke Thy Lords, dopo il gothic doom dell’esordio datato 2008, hanno decisamente mutato pelle trasformandosi in questa creatura dai tratti cangianti e in grado di evocare, grazie all’uso intensivo ma appropriato del flauto, sensazioni dall’alto tasso lisergico.

I primi quattro brani sono quelli da prendere realmente in considerazione per verificare la bontà dell’operato della band di Novosibirsk, visto che la quinta traccia è una bonus track che, riportandoci indietro di qualche anno, è utile solo a farci capire quale sia stata l’evoluzione stilistica degli Evoke Thy Lords, nonché a mostrarci quanto questa svolta abbia fornito peculiarità ad una band che, altrimenti, avrebbe rischiato di restare confusa tra la miriade di altre proposte provenienti negli ultimi tempi dalla fredde lande sovietiche.

Drunken Tales è davvero una ventata d’aria fresca (pure troppo, considerando la provenienza geografica dei nostri …)

The great thing about Doom Metal is its tendency to bring out and highlight Metal’s Rock and Blues background. With a lot of other subgenres, the Rock and Blues sound is almost obliterated, making Doom Metal much more listenable to rockers of all genre affiliations. A prime example of such a Doom Metal record would be EVOKE THY LORDS’ “Drunken Tales”, their second full-length release off Solitude Productions. Veering off the traditional path set by Doom Metal pioneers CROWBAR, which included less interludes and more agonized screaming, EVOKE THY LORDS has produced an album that sits more on the atmospheric fence than the normally neck-snapping heaviness of other Doom Metal records.

This is in line with their description of themselves as Psychedelic Doom Metal, as they have incorporated atmospheric effects to change-up the genre. Progressing from their last two releases, this can be seen as a revamp of the band’s identity in the Doom Metal scene. As they said: “The renovated EVOKE THY LORDS include solid guitar sound, powerful groove base and meditative trance dressed with hypnotic flute sounds”. The flute does a lot to accentuate and highlight melodies that the crunching guitars cannot, bring out the melodic side of Doom Metal, which is most of the time lost in other records, buried beneath the heavy buzz of instruments.

The vocals have a distinct relation to MARILYN MANSON’s style, evident in the whispered verses and low tone. “Drunken Tales” also eludes the normal Doom Metal musical themes that serve to conceptualise the recurring themes of “agony, suffering, and pain”, floating into a more Zen vibe that blends nicely with the genre’s typical slower and heavier sound. Track number 2 “Dirty Game” even had a little (to my ear) “Freezing Moon” a la MAYHEM vibe with all the background descending arpeggio-ic tinkling.

That being said, I am not of the opinion that Psychedelic Doom Metal is exactly a great idea. It’s not bad, but it isn’t great either. It would be like having Punk / Thrash Metal or classic Symphonic Metal – it just isn’t very necessary or current. In fact, it is a bit of a repetition. Doom Metal already has a very sludgy sound. Psychedelic Rock on the other, is all about stoning and zoning out. Couple the two together and it is like trying to get a fit between like-charged particles. I’m not trying to say the two styles repel each other. However, the Psychedelic influences do get too easily absorbed into the vibe of Doom Metal, making it an overtly subtle and not very effective stylistic choice, especially when the songs are rather long.

For a Doom Metal record, the band definitely took a risk and experimented. Kudos to them for being standouts in the scene in terms of style, but they have become less listenable with that experimentation. This is not a bad album, it is rather good, and this is probably one of those “to each his own” situations. I would give the album a 6/10 review because I acknowledge that it is a commendable effort, I just didn’t enjoy it fully from beginning to end.

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