Swedish newcomers Evilon have announced themselves to the world with an outstanding debut album, full of mystique, Celtic influence and Nordic mythology. When the various pieces of the band started to click together in 2015 the influence was very much along traditional Swedish melodic death metal and the familiar figureheads of At The Gates and In Flames.
The sound though has moved on a little from the original foundations put together by Kenneth Evstrand and Jonny Sjödin, with the injection of folk elements much more influential when the band’s debut EP Shores Of Evilon was released last year. That’s certainly the case with the album’s opening number ‘Eye of the Storm’ which opens amidst a violin swordfight before rumbling off like a disgruntled troll pounding the floor in anger.
What Evilon haven’t been prepared to do is sacrifice melodies, superbly exemplified in the album’s heartfelt second track ‘In The Shadow of My Grief’ on which Björn Wildjärn delivers some spinetingling emotive clean vocals.
On the darker sounding following track, ‘The King of a Thousand Suns,’ it is the deathly growls of Joel Sundell that assert their authority on what develops into a menacing march of a song, although one that does stir impressively towards a heady crescendo. The tempo is again restrained on the album’s title track, a brooding intro eventually unfurling into a brighter soundscape as Evilon unleash further sparkling melodic cuts sandwiched between more of Joel’s gravel-throated vocals.
Possibly the album’s standout track is ‘The Sacred’ on which Wildjärn and Sundell’s contrasting vocal qualities go head to head, complementing each other sublimely as a kaleidoscopic explosion of grooves erupt all around them. Wonderfully heartwarming and infectious, Evilon really exhibit the full range of their capabilities on this masterful track.
‘Serpent Eye’ and ‘Souldrainer’ are shorter compositions, full of mystical wizardy and tidal wave power. Impressive album closer ‘When The Leaves Are Falling’ puts a tidy seal on things, Sundell’s bark taking you through a portal of darkness around which a cacophony of folk-lined melodies interlock.
Evilon have married a diverse range of styles and musical threads to great effect here and this is a storming debut release that should not be allowed to pass unnoticed.