|Evemaster - ‘ III’ (Inverse Records)|
|Written by Mark Ashby|
|Tuesday, 29 January 2013 03:30|
Evemaster are another of those bands that highlight the distinct lack of productivity from Finland’s black metal scene – one which always has chosen to elect for quality over quantity, as highlighted by the fact that this is (as its title suggests) this particular act’s third album in some 16 years (well, fourth if you count the fact that they completely re-recorded their debut, ‘Lacrimae Mundi’ some six years after its initial release).
Featuring a host of respected guest performers – including the legendary Dan Swanö on two tracks – helping out the core duo of vocalist Jarno Taskula and guitarist Tomi Mykkänen, ‘III’ was initially given a limited release back in mid-2010: indeed, if their press collateral is to be believed, it was only released in Scandinavia, meaning, of course, that it was not available in their homeland. After a protracted legal battle with the record company concerned, the band have now secured the rights to the release and it’s now available globally. Which, for those who most likely didn’t make the effort to track it down first time around, is a real boon, as this a damn fine modern black metal release.
It’s most obvious, and aurally pleasing, quality is its diversity. Take the example of ‘New Age Dawns’, which is built on a punishing but hugely melodic and catchy riff and counterbalances black metal growling with a majestically harmonic clean vocal refrain, or the complete contrasts exhibited on the epic closer, ‘Absolution’.
Taskula’s voice is dynamic and builds upon all the classic death metal influences with that added vital spark of individual flair, while the songs are intricate, imaginative and, most importantly, interesting – an element which so many bands, within so many sub-genres (but especially toward the extreme end of the scale) lack or purely overlook. Prime examples of this include ‘The Great Unrest’, as beautiful as it is fierce, and the guitar/keyboard counterpointing on ‘The Sweet Poison’, which by itself stands comfortably alongside anything the likes of Dimmu Borgir or our own Cradle Of Filth have produced in their respective back catalogues. There are also moments of straightforward, traditional black metal, such as the brutal beatdowns of ‘Harvester Of Souls’ and ‘Fevered Dreams’, and these work equally well.
The album also has a natural flow to it, with the seamless bleeds between, for example, the first half’s ‘Humanimals’ and ‘Losing Ground’, and the final epic quadrilogy, pulling you along and into the overall experience: that’s another word too many acts overlook, but Evemaster have developed one which is intriguing and impressive.