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Evadne : Dethroned Of Our Souls (Compilation)

Something of a mixed bag with this compiled reissue of Evadne's widely-spaced "demo" releases - but it's nonetheless a nice piece for Doom collectors.

Funere are something of a new and anonymous label in the Doom scene, operating out of Armenia since late 2018, and with a small back catalogue that has thus far only dabbled in a slightly eclectic set of CD co-releases and co-re-releases. Nonetheless, their diverse partners - Weird Truth, Solitude, Satanath - are all names you'd recognise and trust, so Funere are obviously a genuine player, and this sixth release - representing their first fully solo venture - arrives as a rather nice physical package: digibook format, 12-page integral booklet, and a "mini-LP" look to the CD all add up to an aesthetically-pleasing presentation.

Content-wise, well, perhaps that's a little more head-scratching. There is an undeniable trend of the moment for labels to unearth and repackage all sorts of older and more obscure Doom offerings, and this clearly falls into that category. I have nothing against that, and in some cases it's been an absolute pleasure to have rare and long-lost gems placed back within everyday reach (as with Russian Gothic/Doom band Revelation's trilogy of albums), or given a luxury presentation (as with the Mistress Of The Dead complete coffin package). More often, though, it's resurrecting material that never quite made it in the first place - old demos by long-defunct bands, out-of-print self-releases of long-since improved tracks by bands that have stuck around, cutting-room-floor rejects that - at best - might be unlistenable 'bonus track' filler used to pad out a CD to 70-odd minutes.

This, I guess, really falls into the middle category. It's basically a compilation of the Spanish Gothic/Death/Doom band's 2014 self-released EP 'Dethroned Of Light', plus their 2004 self-released demo 'In The Bitterness Of Our Souls', all remastered - and in some cases tweaked with alternative versions - as of 2019. It is offering something new, as far as I'm concerned - even my extensive Doom collection falls short of including the latter original demo, though I do have all Evadne's later releases. Problem is, 'In The Bitterness...' wasn't actually all that good, and no amount of remastering helps disguise that the earliest material - with its heavy reliance on some fairly mediocre, somewhat laboured, female vocals - lacks any great sparkle or compulsion. I do have the 'Dethroned...' EP, itself a retread of tracks that appear elsewhere in the discography, and with a strong enough original production that the remastering can't and doesn't add a whole lot to it.

Don't get me wrong, I do rate Evadne as a band: I gave their third and latest full-length ('A Mother Named Death', released by Solitude productions in early 2017) a solid 8.5/10, based mainly on the quality of execution - there aren't any great surprises to be found in their Daylight Dies/Swallow The Sun/October Tide-esque sound, but they deliver it well, and with enough individuality and enthusiasm to counter the most egregious traces of familiarity. However, the disparate selection of tracks gathered on this compilation fall short of the consistency and charm of any of the full-length albums - even the decent sound levelling doesn't do much to camouflage the nature of the beast as a bit of an artificial collection of odds'n'sods.

That doesn't have to be a complete turn-off, in fairness. If you're a fan of the band and missed out on their hardest-to-acquire releases, they're both available here. Anyone fond of Natalie Koskinen's vocals (which is pretty much everyone, surely) gets a nine-minute treat to look forward to. The 'Like Atlas' cover is a bonus only otherwise available on the 'Born To Lose...' double tribute to Officium Triste. And, as previously mentioned, it is a very nicely packaged piece of work. Counter to that - well, you don't often hear anyone clamouring for the release of a new Evadne album, far less for the re-release of older ones... The band have justifiably earned themselves a small but loyal following rather than (by Doom standards, of course!) broken into 'big-name' or 'popular' territory; 'Dethroned Of Our Souls', patchy as it is, may have the variety or individual headline track to change that for a few people, but, really, I'd primarily see it as an inessential 'nice-to-have' for existing fans. Add a mark, and maybe a 'recommended purchase' if you really love collectible digibooks, though: I'm really not kidding that it is a nice piece of packaging!

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Reviewer's rating: 7/10


Tracklist :
1. Bleak Remembrance (feat. J.F. Fiar)
2. Awaiting (feat. Natalie Koskinen)
3. The Wanderer
4. Like Atlas (Officium Triste cover)
5. Colossal (Live Session)
6. At The Edge Of The Cliff
7. The Autumn Of The Withered Roses
8. Bleak Rememberance

Duration : Approx. 66 minutes

Visit the Evadne bandpage.

Reviewed on 2020-02-05 by Mike Liassides
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