Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Evoken: Atra Mors (2012)


Profound Lore is a label that's been on a winning streak essentially since its inception, and over the last three years at least has become the premier all-around metal label. To mark a milepost in the label's history, PL tapped Evoken for its 100th release. The band is a wise choice for the occasion, since they released the classic Antithesis of Light and have never put out a bad (or even an OK) record. Atra Mors is the fifth full-length from a band that I have cited numerous times as one of the best funeral doom bands in existence.

This record is going to make me change my tune on that, because you're going to have to forget about being "one of" the best. They are now easily "the" best.

The record is 68 minutes of crawling, lurching, and sometimes steamrolling doom, made possible through perfect, unassuming drum work. Few bands can make a record that works for every moment of its runtime, let alone for over an hour, and yet that's what we have here.

All funeral doom requires atmosphere. Atra Mors has that in spades. The rumbling heaviness and gut-wrenching death growls are accented by other sounds, like eerie clean melodies, strings, and synths. But the sound goes far beyond atmosphere. The riffs are slow-headbanging brilliance, memorable in themselves, and made even better by the aforementioned melodies. I've already mentioned the dynamic tempos and rhythms, but there are also dynamics of volume and texture, as they switch between funeral doom's standard mode and clean sections of acoustic guitar or synth, and occasional spoken vocals.

Atra Mors is one of those records that is so perfectly crafted that it's difficult to find much to say about it, short of going into a play-by-play. They weave so many aspects together so expertly, you can hardly describe it with any specificity. For example, the last track combines all of the elements of pure funeral doom with strings and prominent synths into many different rhythms, seamlessly changing tempo or accent while tying it together with a prominent melody.

Profound Lore's 100th release could not have been marked with anything better. I thought I had my album of the year figured out already.

The Verdict: 5 out of 5 stars

Buy Atra Mors


  1. I've been meaning to listen to this, since I loved Antithesis of Light, and now I know I have to check it out.

  2. I have not checked out a lot of funeral doom bands, mostly just Ahab and Catacombs, but I have really liked them. I will have to check out Evoken.

  3. Great album!!!! favorites of 2012 so far