In a way, Evoken have made a career out of making us wait. In 1998, when their debut Embrace the Emptiness hit the streets, doom metal wasn’t what it is now. Then, people still had the bad habit of referring back to the puppy days of Paradise Lost whenever they felt nostalgic and would think of My Dying Bride whenever they wanted to drown their happiness in an imaginary bottle of absinthe. By all standards, Evoken never broke down musically, but the robustness of their metal, the capricious nature of their moribund beats and their unrelentless determination to not evolve would eventually catapult them to where they are now, which frankly, is still a fairly unknown spot in the annals of metal, but respected they fucking are.
In this split with Sweden’s Beneath the Frozen Soil, our favorite New Jersey sad boys basically state that evolution is for suckers. Little has changed in the way of the sonic maelstrom. As heavy and guitar oriented as their songs are, they are also lush and charged with an atmosphere that seems to claim our souls from and to beyond. “The Pleistoscene Epoch” is almost like a good episode of the Twilight Zone, except if you really really want visuals you will have to shut your eyes and let your imagination run wild. If you have this set to loud, you won’t have to think too hard; deep stench vocals, a beat that goes and then refuses to move at all and heaviness superseded by keyboards will shape nightmarish visions.
Beneath the Frozen Soil on the other hand are ten years younger (formed in 2004) and have a discography that does not spell P.R.O.L.I.F.I.C.. With only an EP and one other split with Negative Reaction, they prove to be up for the challenge though. Getting paired with one of the most excruciating doom bands was definitely far from a mismatch. Not only do they also move at a turtle pace, but they also lush out their metal with some reverent keyboards. Like with Evoken, the addition adds atmosphere without loading up the music with lactose products.
There is certain duality to the vocals (Goran Nilsson), while both are macabre, one tends to veer towards the black metallish, while the other has got this cavernous angle. “On “Monotone Black I” the band defies the song title as the vocalist adopts this ‘this fucking hurts’ approach. It’s a third and one more than Linda Blair. The vocalist goes natural but bends his syllables. It is not only the vocal changing and the vowel movements which make their half even more hard to swallow, but the music itself, coming from both parties, is doom at its most sorrowful.
Beyond the Frozen Soil Official Site
Written by Bobby Peru