Swedens Evocation have been blasting out their brand of brutal death metal since 1991 and in 2017 they are stronger than ever. The band have just released their ferocious new album The Shadow Archetype and we caught up with guitarist Marko Palmén to talk about the album, the subjects Evocation tackle on The Shadow Archetype, signing with Metal Blade and the best death metal bands and albums ever.
Your new album The Shadow Archetype is out soon. How did the recording of the album go?
Yeah, the new album is out the 10th of March which is this week on Friday. Can’t wait to hear what people think of the new album! The recording of the new album went really well although we spent almost a year in the studio. We didn’t have any deadline this time around and we really wanted to make the perfect production with this album and that’s probably the reason why we took so long time in the studio. I’m really pleased with the end result and I hope people will hear the passion and all the work behind this release.
What are some of the subjects you tackle on the album?
One of the subjects that we tackle on the album is the evil side of the human being. “The Shadow Archetype” comes from the Swiss psychologist Carl Gustav Jung’s theories of psychological archetypes. Jung meant that humans are not born as a blank sheet of paper or a tabula rasa. Instead he meant that humans inherit psychological structures from their ancestors that go thousands of years back in history. “The Shadow Archetype” is the psychological structure which holds all the dark or evil side of the human psyche. On the title track we also featured a sample of Professor Stanley Milgram when he speaks of his conclusions on his famous “Obedience and Authority” experiments that he did in the 60s. His conclusions were that all humans are capable of evil acts as long as somebody else takes responsibility. Professor Milgram meant that this mechanism is inherited and a result of thousands of years of evolution which in a way confirms Jung’s theories on the psychological archetypes.
Can you tell us a bit about the artwork for The Shadow Archetype?
The artwork is a symbolic interpretation of “The Shadow Archetype” or the dark side of the human psyche. The evil of man flashes out in a second in an uncontrollable rage… I think our artwork artist Xaay captured the theory extremely well and one reason for that is probably that he was very well read up on the subject. He did a paper on the archetype theories at the Cracow University a couple of years ago.
The album will be the first of yours to be exclusively released on your new label Metal Blade. How are things going with the label?
I would say that things are going extremely well with our label I would say. We love Metal Blade and for us it is a huge honour to be signed with the finest extreme metal label in the business.
You have had your first three albums licensed by Metal Blade in the U.S and Canada before. How did the actual signing to the label come about?
Metal Blade Records was the only record label that we contacted for this album. The reason for it was for the first that we were really pleased with the previous co-operation with them when they released our first efforts on a licensing deal. But second, and that is perhaps the most important thing, is that on the European office there is a guy that has been a friend of the band ever since the start of the band. Back in 1992 when we released our very first demo “The Ancient Gate” there was a guy named Andreas Reissnauer that had his own record label named Concrete Records that distributed our demo. Andreas is nowadays head of A&R at the European Office of Metal Blade Records. For us it feels as if the circle has closed when we are working with long time friends of the band and in this time of our career it was perhaps also one of the most important factors when we decided to contact and sign with Metal Blade Records.
Were you a fan of the label and its acts before you signed to them?
Definitely we were fans of the label before we signed with them! I mean, who isn’t with that amazing roster of bands… Cannibal Corpse, Behomoth, Mercyful Fate, King Diamond etc.
Who are some of the bands influences?
I would say that Evocation’s main influences are many of the classic death metal bands of the early 90s for instance Entombed, Dismember, Carcass, Bolt Thrower, At The Gates and Morbid Angel just to name a few.
What are your touring plans when the album is released?
At the moment we are planning a release party show in April in our hometown which usually is a lot of fun. And after that we hope to do some tour in the autumn and festivals as well. We haven’t scheduled any festivals for this summer since we just recently completed our line-up. But hopefully we can make it up by doing more festivals for the summer of 2018 instead.
Who would you love for Evocation to tour with?
At The Gates, Behemoth or Carcass would be a dream come true to tour with. 3 absolutely amazing bands in the extreme metal scene and I think any further comments are unnecessary!
Who has been the best band you have ever toured with?
I would have to say both Cannibal Corpse and Amon Amarth. Both bands are amazing and the guys in the bands are just so great people to hang with. Very good memories from our tours with both those bands and we are still in touch with the boys and try to meet up every time they are passing by our area in Sweden.
Have you got any plans to play at any of the summer festivals yet?
Unfortunately not since we just recently completed our line-up with a new drummer. But hopefully we can make it up by playing more festivals in the summer of 2018 instead.
Alongside Evocation, which other five bands would you pick up to play your own festival with?
I would pick some of the bands that we have toured together with since then the backstage party would be absolutely awesome… hehehe So I would choose; Cannibal Corpse, Amon Amarth, Obscura, Dying Fetus and The Black Dahlia Murder.
What song do you love playing live the most?
I would say that “Feed the Fire” is a favourite since our crowd more or less always demands that we play it. The interaction between the band and the audience on that track is fantastic and therefor that track must be my favourite.
Where has the best venue you have ever played been?
Jalometalli Metal Music Festival in Oulu, Finland was by far the best venue we have ever played. The backstage area was absolutely amazing with jacuzzi, sauna, bar etc. and the service was impeccable. I will never forget that one and I hope we can get back there to play someday again!
How would you describe an Evocation live gig?
Like an American muscle car with a 6.0 litre V8 engine coming for you, driving over you, backing up, driving over you, backing up, and driving over you and over again!
Is the extreme music scene in Sweden healthy at the moment?
I would say yes on that question at the moment. Some years ago the extreme metal scene was quite unhealthy though. The main things over here some years ago were these quite boring rock and sleaze bands. But during the last years the pendulum however has swinged over and the extreme metal scene is quite healthy at the moment.
What about metal worldwide in your opinion?
I think there are quite many interesting bands out there at the moment. And there are still many classic bands out there that are still doing albums and touring. However there have also been some bands that are retiring which of course sometimes is a bit sad. I’m for instance thinking of Bolt Thrower which is a band that I have always loved. When they called it quits last years that was something really bad for the scene and I will always miss them but I totally respect them for their decision.
Which Swedish metal bands inspired you when you were first starting out as a band?
At The Gates, Carnage, Entombed, Dismember, Edge of Sanity, Liers in Wait and Unleashed.
What are your favourite death metal albums of all time?
At The Gates – Slaughter Of The Soul
Bolt Thrower – For Those Once Loyal
Carcass – Necroticism: Descanting The Insalubrious
Dismember – Like An Everflowing Stream
Entombed – Left Hand Path
Morbid Angel – Altars Of Madness
Are there any new bands that you can recommend to us at the moment?
What music are you currently listening to the most?
Iggy Pop – Post Pop Depression
Thanks lot for the interview! Hope to see you folks on some show when we come and play!