“Guitars tuned in B-flat since 1991” is a phrase Evocation guitarist Marko Palmén uses to illustrate his
band’s place in the bygone times of Swedish death metal. He’s not bragging but merely stating a fact.
Evocation were there when it mattered. Sure, the Swedes have had a bifurcated existence—fizzling in
1993 but officially reanimating in 2005—but as the saying goes, what does kill death metal only makes it
stronger. In fact, few bands have ever come back to plague the denizens of death metal quite like
Evocation. With four full-lengths, the newest of which is the bewilderingly barbarous and Century Media
Records debut Illusions of Grandeur, in five years, the group has a work rate that’s second to none. But
we’re getting ahead of ourselves here.
To celebrate Evocation signing a new agreement with Century Media Records, the two paired up to release
Evoked from Demonic Depths - The Early Years, the ultimate re-issue of the band’s demos, live bootlegs,
and bonus tracks incl. a re-recorded version of “Genesis”, a song written back in 1992. Palmen sums up
how this cooperation came into being:
“During the years that we have been active—since the reunion in 2005—we have met the people at
Century Media at different festivals and tours,” recalls Palmén. “Evocation has always had a reputation of
being a ferocious live act and probably we left some impression and interest with the people at Century
Media thanks to that. For us, it was the best thing that could happen. To be signed with Century Media.
They have always had their roots deep within the death metal scene, so for us it was a natural choice to
make. And as a matter of fact it also feels as if we finally have found our label home.”
Formed in a small town outside Gothenburg in 1991 and named after the classic Asphyx track, Evocation
had, like many young guns during the Golden Age of Swedish death metal, a limited number of options to
pursue. Nevertheless, the quartet—vocalist Thomas Josefsson, guitarist Vesa Kenttäkumpu, guitarist Marko
Wacker (Palmén), and drummer Janne Kenttäkumpu (Bodén)—penned four songs over the next few months
and booked a visit to Sunlight Studios to record 1992’s The Ancient Gate demo with producer Tomas
Skogsberg. Recorded over two days in February, The Ancient Gate was hailed not only by tape-traders but
also Skogsberg as the Sweden’s new death metal hopeful. Evocation wouldn’t repeat their Sunlight Studios
That didn’t stop follow-up demo, Promo 1992, from appearing a mere seven months after The Ancient
Gate. Put to tape at GMP studios in Evocation’s hometown of Borås, Promo 1992 blended the punk-fueled
brutality of the “Stockholm Sound” with the signature sounds of Gothenburg’s best and brightest. As early
as 1992, Evocation had developed the “Stockburg Sound”, a neologism used to describe the group’s
blended bicoastal brutality. Reviews were fantastic and label interest was high. But something happened.
Despite third-party praise and heavy courtship by labels large and small, Evocation splintered a year later
due to creative differences and an uncertainty in musical direction.
Fast forward 11 years. With an untimely demise still fresh in the cranium, the musically-active exmembers
discussed reforming—even if just for one gig—Evocation for, as Thomas Josefsson recollects, “the
156th time.” But Evocation 2.0 didn’t spark up from within. Certainly, the drive was there, but it took a
re-release of The Ancient Gate and Promo 1992 demos by Merciless Records sub-label Breath of Night
Release Date: September 24th, 2012
Records and Vesa’s addiction to At The Gates milestone Slaughter of the Soul to finally shock Evocation’s
long-dormant system into action. It took two years, but Janne, Vesa, Marko, Thomas, and new bassist
Martin Toresson self-released Demo 2006 perhaps more out of revenge than anything else.
“When we started to rehearse together again in the summer of 2005,” remembers Palmén, “The plan was
merely to play the demo tracks from 1992 and see how it would work out, and if it would be fun. As it
turned out the magic from the early ‘90s was there, clear and immanent as ever before. From that
moment it just started to grow exponentially and the initial plan of just rehearsing the demo songs from
1992 was quickly scrapped. Some years later, we did our first full European tour as support for Cannibal
Corpse, and before that we had already played numerous open air festivals, including the world’s largest
metal festival—Wacken Open Air! The plan is just to keep on playing as long as we enjoy it.”
That Evocation were able to re-amp and modernize the so-called “Stockburg Sound” wasn’t a minor
miracle. They knew what they wanted to do and soon found a partner with German underground label
Cyclone Empire. The first of three excellent long-players came in 2007. Tales from the Tomb had the
benefits of an on-fire Evocation, throwback Dan Seagrave cover art, and a reinvigorated affinity for prime
Swedish death metal by fans and bands alike. Follow-up albums, Dead Calm Chaos (2008) and Apocalyptic
(2010) continued to see the Swedes in fine and finer form. Apocalyptic marked also the band’s first US
release through a license deal with Metal Blade Records. Revenge continued to be sweet.
It is clear Evocation were not only making up for lost time, but also show no signs of slowing down. New
album Illusions of Grandeur follows predecessor Apocalyptic and tracks like the ultra-catchy “Divide and
Conquer”, the galloping “Perception of Reality”, and the brilliantly penned “The Seven Faces of God”
distill the group’s strongest attributes— melodies, groove, hooks, and brutality—into a formidable melodyenhanced
death metal attack. Illusions of Grandeur also marks debut of bassist Gustaf Jorde, who
replaced Martin Toresson earlier this year.
Recorded, mixed and produced at IF Studios and Evocation Studios by Roberto Laghi (In Flames) and
Evocation respectively, Illusions of Grandeur is yet another brilliant example of Evocation spit-polishing
Swedish death metal with blood, sweat, and determination. Whereas Dead Calm Chaos had Anders Björler
and Dan Swanö as guests, so too does Illusions of Grandeur. The mighty Johan Hegg from Amon Amarth
roars on “Into Submission”. Also, Michal Xaay Loranc returns from his Apocalyptic stint as cover artist to
haunt Illusions of Grandeur.
Illusions of Grandeur is out September 24th, 2012 on Century Media Records and trust Palmen when he
states: “I think the new album is the one which comes closest to the essence of what Evocation really
is.”(Evocation biography 2012 by Chris Dick)
- Thomas Josefsson: Vocals
- Marko Palmén: Guitar
- Vesa Kenttäkumpu: Guitar
- Gustaf Jorde: Bass
- Janne K. Bodén: Drums