Evoken - Embrace the Emptiness
Solitude Productions
Funeral Doom
7 songs (70'35")
Release year: 2006
Evoken, Solitude Productions
Reviewed by Adam
I always relish the chance to hear the early recordings of bands I enjoy so I can compare them to their current sound and see how it all came to be. Unfortunately, these recordings tend to be difficult to track down as they are usually self-released in small quantities or fall under the catalog of small and sometimes defunct record labels. One such album is the debut full-length from funeral doom kings Evoken, entitled Embrace the Emptiness. Originally released on Elegy Records in 1998, this album has become quite scarce due to its limited release and popularity among fans of the genre. Enter Solitude Productions, who have graciously re-released Embrace the Emptiness just in time so that it can serve as a history lesson for Evoken fans before the band unleashes their next album later this year.

This album starts off with a three and a half minute atmosphere-building instrumental, which in funeral doom terms qualifies it as an intro. Following this is the monstrous Tragedy Eternal, and it becomes immediately apparent that Evoken have done little to tinker with their sound over the years. While the sound is not quite as bleak or terrifying as that of 2005’s Antithesis of Light, the framework is evident. The guitars of Nick Orlando have an amazing density to go along with John Paradiso’s tortured vocals. These are both paced and furthered by the outstanding drum work of Vince Verkay. He has stood out on each album, basing his attack off the style of diSEMBOWELMENT’s Paul Mazziotta while taking it to another level all his own. I love hearing him seamlessly transition between sped up rolls and fills to slow snare pops, as evidenced in Curse the Sunrise. Back to the overall atmosphere, I think that the keyboards have a lot to do with the somewhat lighter sound. Original keyboardist Dario Derna employs a much different and classical style than that of his successor, Denny Hahn, who tends to opt for an eerie foundation with his compositions. It is interesting how this subtle change has much influence on the band’s overall sound.

Embrace the Emptiness contains some of the heaviest riffs of Evoken’s career. The brutal Lost Kingdom of Darkness contains a few that just explode out of your speakers. The production on this album is fantastic, though I can’t speak to whether or not it has been improved from the original since I have never heard it. It’s also nice to hear a track like To Sleep Eternally, which sounds the least like the Evoken of today, with its clean vocal bridge and organ sound. This is not to say that the song isn’t amazing though. In fact, I consider it to be one of the best on the album.

Evoken sounds much more crisp than most bands due on their debut. There are occasional raw elements, but overall they seem to have honed in on their desired sound early, and have only altered it slightly since this release. I have to admire a band with this kind of consistency of great output. Listening to this album crosses one thing off my “to-do” list, and furthers my rabid anticipation of Evoken’s upcoming album. Now that it has become easier to find thanks to Solitude Productions, no fan of the band should be without it.
Killing Songs :
Tragedy Eternal, Lost Kingdom of Darkness, To Sleep Eternally
Adam quoted 85 / 100
Other albums by Evoken that we have reviewed:
Evoken - Hypnagogia reviewed by Alex and quoted 88 / 100
Evoken - Quietus reviewed by Milan and quoted 91 / 100
Evoken - A Caress of the Void reviewed by Adam and quoted 91 / 100
Evoken - Antithesis of Light reviewed by Adam and quoted 91 / 100
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