Swedish death vets Evocation recharge batteries with covers EP ‘Excised and Anatomized’

635114128694685786Sitting at the beach is an annual rite of summer for me and my wife, and while that certainly doesn’t make us unique, it still feels like a calling back to a place we should be. Our annual sojourns also give me a chance to indulge in some of my metal favorites while on the beach, skin burning, book in hand.

It’s a great time to get to know some new records that I haven’t had a chance to fully digest yet, and with work being priority No. 1 and later in the evening exhaustion taking hold, it isn’t always easy to give new music your best as soon as you get the records. Beach time helps with that effort, and I’ve gotten a lot done simply sitting on a beach chair, reading about a strange society full of back stabbing and revenge, as fresh music from plenty of bands help make up the soundtrack.

635114129995416070Yet, it’s also a great chance to reach back to albums and bands I’ve loved for a long time and that I just haven’t visited with in a while for all of the reasons listed above. It warms the heart just as much as the sun burns the skin, and it injects a strong, welcome sense of nostalgia. I’m not saying the period in between records is the same as enjoying relaxation on the beach, but I imagine it also could be a time for a band to get back to why they love metal in the first place and recharge. Perhaps that’s what longtime Swedish melodic death metal band Evocation had in mind when they put together their new EP “Excised and Anatomized.”

Just last year, Evocation released “Illusions of Grandeur,” a decent record and follow-up to 2010’s very strong “Apocalyptic” that didn’t seem to have a whale of an impact domestically, or at least as much of one as the Century Media-released album should have had. It wasn’t a bad record, just not their best work to date. So already we have this stop-gap EP that hopefully will re-ignite their fire as it contains covers of five classic metal tracks that put the band on the path they’re on. And refreshingly, the selections are not run-of-the-mill expected choices, which is a nice touch, and the passion they have for these songs is obvious when hearing them. That doesn’t suggest the collection is perfect, but in the case of a release like this, it doesn’t have to be. It’s a fun little serving for the band’s fans, and it give Evocation a chance to get loose and do something they’l enjoy without the pressure of putting together a whole new platter.

This five-track, 20-minute effort kicks off with a spirited, honest take on the Bolt Thrower classic “…For Victory,” one of their signatures songs and one Evocation does a pretty good job kicking out. There really are not any new flourishes or reimaginations of the song at all, which is fine, and the band is pretty much offering up their take. They don’t outdo Bolt Thrower by any means, and really, who could? But their interpretation’s just fine. The beginning of their version of Carcass’ “Corporal Jigsore Quandary” is pretty honest and to the point, with their recreation of the destructive, shifty drum intro hitting pretty spot on, and the rest of the song doing the original a good bit of justice.

Same can be said for their reading of Edge of Sanity’s “Enigma,” the one song they really breathe new life into and perhaps elevate that band as one their listeners should pursue further. Again, they really take no creative liberties and instead just deliver an honest, respectful version that does the song’s creators quite well. They also do fine with their version of At the Gates’ “Terminal Spirit Disease,” a song I can imagine had a lot of influence on this band. The only rough spot, and this may sound stupid, is their stab at Napalm Death classic “You Suffer.” Yeah, how can you fuck up a four-second song? I’d argue it takes something special to make a song so short one of metal’s calling cards, and really, Evocation come nowhere near nailing this one. I don’t think it’s a dumb argument. I respect their trying it, but again, they just don’t deliver this song the way they should.

This is a pretty fun EP, and hearing Evocation pay tribute to their heroes is a really neat look into what inspired this band to create music in the first place. Maybe they can cull some magic from these bands and pour that into their next full-length record, which would be a nice result of this effort. Or maybe thinking ahead is too much right now and it should be enough to have fun with the EP before any new music drops.

For more on the band, go here: http://evocation.se/

To buy the album, go here: http://www.cmdistro.com/index.aspx

For more on the label go here: http://centurymedia.com/