On July 31, Profound Lore will issue the label’s 100th release, and it will be Atra Mors [“Black Death”], by Evoken. This is the band’s first album in five years, and only their fifth in a career that has spanned 20 years.
I gather from reading about the band that many regard them as forefathers of the funeral doom movement in the U.S. And you can correctly infer from that last sentence that I’m a newcomer to Evoken. As far as I can remember, the sum total of the music I’ve heard consists of a brand new song that Profound Lore began streaming yesterday: “An Extrinsic Divide”.
The song makes quite an impression, which is sort of like saying that World War II was a bit of a scrape. At more than 10 minutes in length, it exhales a suffocating fog of dank miasma, creating an all-encompassing atmosphere of catastrophe. The uber-distorted music is very heavy and generally ponderous — the sound of dinosaurs walking the earth and making the ground tremble with their might.
But that’s not the sum total of the song by a long shot. It also includes some beautiful, albeit haunting, melodies (ably assisted by reverberating guitars and keyboard overlays), as well as accelerated passages of gut-churning death metal.
The vocals are tremendous, the kind for which “cavernous” is aptly applied as an adjective: hollow, echoing, awful in their power. Sometimes they climb out of the abyss with hair-raising howls.
“An Extrinsic Divide” is both magisterial and macabre, mercilessly crushing and yet at times almost mercifully peaceful. Have a listen: