Around this time last year the Evocatus boys, hailing from rural New South Wales, released a full length album which is testimony to the talent one can find in Australia if you look properly. Their latest release ‘Mortem in Deos’ certainly shows off their skill set in regards to quality, inventiveness & talent. Paying homage to melodic death metal bands of yore whilst remaining true to their own sound, the album puts faith into those who may have begun to lose interest in local artistry. The band consists of Nich Shields performing vocals, Philip Keong & Vaughan Jones coming in on guitars (as well as Jones offering up additional vocal work) Brad Delforce serving up some tasty bass and augmenting the album with even more vocal input and Adam Watts laying down the foundation on drums.
The album begins with an enchanting instrumental introduction track The Sins of a Mortal. Coming in at just under 2 minutes it successfully invokes both wonder and anticipation in the listener ending with a tease of the brutality to come with lines between two individuals, “Are sins ever forgiven”? “I’ve never tried”.
We then get what was coming to us with Immortal Chains which soon after a brief but fitting lead in, hits us with a driving bestial body of music becoming the main feel for the rest of the album. The balance between instruments, whilst a little heavy in regards to guitar, is fairly balanced which is good to see considering the unequal thus off-putting delegation one can witness in many band dynamics. The subtle but not overbearing melodic quality is certainly a pleasant change to those who indulge so much in the melodic they seem to forget they’re advertising the music as metal.
We now come to the title track Mortem in Deos, and you can certainly see why it is. The musicianship put forth in the track is astonishing, the song is an impressive blend of melodic, driving, brutal, and skilful; always keeping you on your toes but never quite throwing you out of the album by pulling you back with a pounding section you’ll find hard not to bang your head to.
Tour of Duty then graces us with its presence, offering up quite the change of pace in the beginning with the gentle yet solemn strumming of guitars with the ambient sounds of a raging war in the background, the strumming soon transforms not in sound but in context as it slowly becomes a heavy riff to lead into the heart of the track approximately a minute in. We’re soon finding ourselves kicked into a pit-provoking piece of relentless rage, the theme of which, as the name and lyrics may suggest, fighting for one’s freedom and ultimately one’s own life.
Following in the vein of brutal battle imagery we find ourselves in the chaos that is The Fall of Odin. This is an epic track, befitting of such sagas of legend. Starting out with their classic slow yet severe lead in, Evocatus soon bring us into a track of Norse-themed lyrical content and an intensely barbaric sonic score. Blood of the Nile soon rears its head and distances itself from the Norse theme before it, opting more for an eastern or, better worded, specifically Egyptian vibe, which again, is truly matched to the title of the song. This song is a little less intricate and ever-changing in nature than some of the other tracks so far have been to begin with but soon the unpredictable ferocious feeling of the album returns and remains present throughout, then ending on a tasteful, well produced fade out.
Der Erlkönig, heavily influenced by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s poem entitled ‘Erlkönig’, is a stark retelling of an old classic tale, encapsulating ideas of both madness and fantasy. Evocatus, without betraying their naturally harsh nature, explore melodic areas within the song, particularly midway, more touched upon by folk metal bands, which to anybody who knows me know I found a wonderful inclusion to the album, showing the band’s ability in realms they don’t generally tread without going against their own established sound.
The release soon escapes into a gentle melodic section entitled As the Sun Sets, which can certainly be referred to as the calm before the storm and A Red Sun Rises is certainly what I’d call a storm of a song. The song does absolute justice to the album, being the longest song on the release and incorporating so much of what makes Evocatus what they are without being riddled with misdirection or boring the listener at any point. It grabs you and doesn’t let go until you’ve been fully submerged into the mind blowing essence that surrounds ‘Mortem in Deos.’
All in all I felt this album was an impressive addition to Evocatus’ already well received works and I sincerely hope they come up with some new material in the future for us to enjoy (and don’t make us wait four more years for another full length release)!
Get ‘Mortem In Deos’ here.