posted on 1/2006 By:
I see Norway, I see France, I see Grutle’s underpants…translation: French Black Metal with an old Enslaved feel.
What the hell is going on in France? Based on the amount of Black Metal funneling in from that part of the world, you’d think the streets were swarming with misanthropic Metalheads spitting blood, cursing the light, and brandishing bats with nails driven through. Probably more likely, however, is the fact that commercial success for bands like Deathspell Omega have people (and record labels) focusing their attention on this region in hopes of discovering the next great Black Metal horde. And to be perfectly honest, there are some truly fantastic French bands, old and new, getting good press lately because of it; Nehemah, Mutiilation, Vlad Tepes, Blut Aus Nord, and Alcest, just to name a few.
Enter Evohe, yet another addition to the French Black Metal mix. Tellus Mater is the band's first full-length release, and features a nice mixture of re-recorded songs from their first two demos, and new material to boot. The album has a decidedly Norwegian flare to the overall sound, with early Enslaved being the obvious comparison. Just about every song follows the “fast part here, slower part there, raspy vocal here, growly vocal there” formula, which fans of the genre are already quite familiar with. While not exactly pushing boundaries, Tellus Mater indeed delivers what many Metalheads like to hear in an album; solid musicianship, varied songwriting, and rancorous vocals.
Although I find Tellus Mater to be a strong release, I have yet to be blown away by any one song on the album. Track three, “Drawn in Fire”, is certainly a standout, with its Bathory-styled, romping ‘drawn in fi-rrrrrr-e’ chorus, but on the whole the album begins and ends without much grandeur, an obvious drawback. One can probably attribute this to the slightly flat production of the album, because you can definitely hear the talent of each musician at nearly any given interval as you move from song to song. My only other criticism would be the “angry duck” feel to the vocals as the album begins. Vocalist, Abssyd, was perhaps a bit too eager to get the ball rolling, but luckily things seem to calm down as the album progresses (either that or I just got used to it pretty quickly). On a positive vocal note, whoever bellows the deep growls on this album is a fucking monster…and cheers to Evohe for using them to balance the shriek and give the album a bit more depth.
Evohe can certainly count themselves among France’s ‘noteworthy newcomers’ as far as Black Metal’s concerned. Again, while not really pushing any boundaries, Tellus Mater is definitely the type of release Black Metal fans will likely enjoy, I just hope to see them step a bit more out on their own with future releases. Quite the promising young band.
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