Published Nov 08, 2018Six years after the release of their last full-length, Evoken have joined the decorated ranks of Profound Lore for Hypnagogia, a construct of towering and majestic funeral doom that stands apart from the majority of its genre brethren in its toying with light as well as bleak darkness.
Bearing all the trademarks of the genre, with a pace that rarely ever leaves its dreamwalking trudge, earthen guttural vocals and general atmosphere of sadness and mystery, Evoken characterize themselves with the injection of the melodic and even symphonic. The guitars rise up in a victorious tone just as often as they dredge the depths of the soul, and the use of both synth and symphonic string sections permeate the album to contrast or complement the heaviness. In that sense, Evoken could be paired well with a band like Hooded Menace or Mournful Congregation.
At its best points, Hypnagogia paints visions of a melancholic, romantic nature, as "Too Feign Ebullience" would attest, which balances the horror with a kind of sentimentality. But there are nearly as many moments when Evoken step over the line into melodrama and somewhat cheesy territory, to the point where it can detract from the impact of otherwise solid tracks like "The Fear After" or "The Weald of Perished Men."
In a genre that rarely knows respite from the blackness of the void, Evoken nurture a light in the dark, even if the nature of that light is not always favourable. An accurate comparison for Hypnagogia and Evoken in general would be Gothic horror, defined by its blend of melodrama and romance with the grotesque to create a tapestry of layered emotion and feeling, to varying effect. (Profound Lore)