Album of the Month

Both perfect and perfectly bleak, Hangman's Chair unflinchingly face up to the dark side of human existence.
(Read more)

Featured debut

Classic revisited

Random band

(read more)

Evadne : A Mother Named Death

Only history can judge whether an album becomes a 'modern classic', but it's tempting to reach for that description of Evadne's latest anyway.

Well, OK - I hadn't encountered Evadne before, and sticking this on the player brought something of an initial "sure, heard that before" reaction, along with a brief moment of wondering which genre classic would be the most appropriate comparison to fit in the 'sounds like...'. I'm rather happy to say it took a little less than than three minutes to disabuse me of that option. It's true to say that 'A Mother Named Death' offers up some familiar staple elements of the Gothic/Death/Doom canon, from lush, mournful melodies to vast backing choirs, from uptempo lilting gallops to bombastically dramatic riffs, mixed male growls and cleans with a dash of added female vocals, acoustic and simple keyboard interludes...well, to be fair, it probably wouldn't be Gothic/Death if it didn't. So, if you're familiar with bands like Forest Stream, Novembre, Daylight Dies and later Novembers Doom, don't expect to find too many stylistic surprises coming your way.

The devil, here, is almost inevitably in the attention to detail, and that's where this experienced Valencian five-piece unit (originally launched in 2000, under the name Hexenprozesse) put their stamp on things. The first, and most obvious, one is that they have a talent for both composition and arrangement. It's easy, with the fairly genre-typical eight- to ten- minute track lengths, to err on the side of either messy eclecticism or excessive repetition. Evadne do neither, filling the time with well-thought-out and flowing transitions of mood and music; sometimes dipping into more abrupt contrast, such as sections of blackened high-speed double-kick tempo.

The second strong point is clearly the handling of instruments: not only do they have space to work in, but the musicians make the most of that, and the core ensemble of twin guitars, bass and drums each present their own distinct contributions with accomplishment. At times, there's a hint of Opeth-like progressive metal to be found in the mesh of the individual layers, though those technical elements fit in smoothly as a means to an end, rather than an end in themselves. I particularly like the bass, frequently offering its own lines and movements with a satisfyingly deep and solid tone. The keyboards, used reasonably sparingly, are nonetheless a significant supplement to the more constant driving guitar melodies, blending in and out of proceedings like delicate punctuation, as in 'Colossal' or adding a more grandiose and dramatic body to the sound - such as in 'The Mourn Of The Oceans' , or even carrying the melody entirely, as on the instrumental '88.6'.

The final point I'd note as particularly worthy is the vocal performance. Frontman Albert Conejero alternates between powerful growls and some remarkably emotive cleans, both of which are highly effective vehicles for defining and shaping the mood and trajectory of each track. Add in backing by drummer Joan Esmel, and some female soft whispers and delicate clean contributions, and the range and diversity of voices are a real complement to the shifting evolution of the songs.

I could do a lot worse than compare 'A Mother Named Death' with Soijl's recent 'As The Sun Sets On Life', also released by Solitude. They're not all that close as a musical comparison, but they both have that same feeling of being familiar, yet not too familiar, of using their compositional and musical ability to not merely shoulder anonymously into a well-established part of the Doom spectrum, but to stride in with justifiable aplomb and head held high, and of having a character of their own. It seems a shame, sometimes, to review albums with that sort of feel at point of release: I might almost reach for the phrase 'modern classic', but, of course, only history will be the true judge of that. Nonetheless, Evadne's sparkle and creativity comes highly recommended, and I would strongly suggest getting in quickly with an order if you want one of the limited edition deluxe 6-panel digipak copies - if there's any justice, they'll be selling like hot cakes from day one. Me, I'm off to correct having missed their earlier works: a brief glance in the usual places suggests that's also a back catalogue worth having...

Click HERE to discuss this review on the doom-metal forum.

Reviewer's rating: 8.5/10


Tracklist :
1. Abode Of Distress
2. Scars That Bleed Again
3. Morningstar Song
4. Heirs Of Sorrow
5. Colossal
6. 88.6
7. Black Womb Of Light
8. The Mourn Of The Oceans

Duration : Approx. 64 minutes

Visit the Evadne bandpage.

Reviewed on 2017-06-25 by Mike Liassides
Advertise your band, label or distro on doom-metal.com