Normally, I wouldn’t write a track-by-track review for anything other than a various-artists compilation, but I can’t think of another way to plump this up beyond one sentence. So, let the ever flowing stream of consciousness begin! I’m not sure that I understand why Evocation wanted to record an all-covers EP when they wear their influences so clearly on their collective sleeve, but they’d have been hard pressed to pick better bands and songs to cover. Up first is possibly the greatest Death Metal song ever written: Bolt Thrower’s beyond-flawless “…for Victory.” Evocation’s bright, modern production does this one no favors, as it needs the thick radioactive grime of the original. And do not tweak the fucking riffs! Add to the poor decisions the terrible multi-tracked vocals that come in towards the end, and… it’s a disaster. Guys, this isn’t a call to arms, it’s a lamentation. Do you think that you somehow know better than the masters?!? You do not. Up next is every non-Carcass-fan’s favorite Carcass song. Yes, it’s “Corporal Jigsore Quandary.” And although sadly missing its intro, this is fairly by-the-numbers, and impressive in the appropriately precise and surgical performance. But it’s missing… something. Maybe it’s due to the slightly faster tempo? Whatever it is, the song’s emotion is gone. As for the following cut, it will take you longer to read this sentence than the duration of the 2-second blast, “You Suffer” (Napalm Death), so… moving on… Edge of Sanity’s “Enigma” is an interesting choice, with its cello intro and minimal use of clean vocals. Unfortunately, Evocation ditches those elements, which I think are important parts of the original, and I was curious to hear how they would be handled. Ex-Edge of Sanity mastermind Dan Swano mixed and mastered this EP, so don’t tell me that he wouldn’t have done the clean singing, too. I’d be surprised if he didn’t make the offer. Finally, we come to Evocation’s take on At the Gates’s “Terminal Spirit Disease.” It seems like an odd choice to me, but nevertheless comes the closest to capturing the “spirit” of the original, with the more modern recording/production actually helping out for once. Evocation is very good at delivering the Metal of Death, no question, but not really in the same league as any of the big boys they’re covering here. Don’t feel bad, though, almost no one is in their league - especially the gods known as Bolt Thrower. Cover songs are tricky things. A band needs to translate the original into their own style, while not changing the essence. Check out Entombed’s Venom and Motorhead covers. Or Aborted’s Entombed covers. They get it. I understand that Evocation wanted to pay tribute to their influences, but they don’t always seem to understand exactly what makes these songs classics, and a little alteration of the wrong kind goes a very long way, indeed. I will happily check back in with these Swedish sickos when their next LP comes out, but this one-listen novelty EP is certainly safe to skip.
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