Evocation is the eagerly awaited debut album from US duo Skin Drone, a web based project consisting of vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Erik Martin (Critical Dismemberment) and multi-instrumentalist/producer Otto Kinzel (Chemical Distance/Bluntface Records). Both have released and been part of many striking and praise luring proposals but it is as Skin Drone that the pair arguably creates their most un-conventionally inventive and imposingly experimental adventures as evidenced by Evocation.
The album is a collection of emotionally and lyrically dark tales fuelled by insanity and torment encased in a hard to pin down tapestry reaping the raw and caustic might as well as beauty of certainly extreme, industrial, and avant-garde metal. Each track is a tempestuous journey through ravenous shadows, hellacious landscapes, and emotive turmoil but songs which equally at times share melancholic beauty and intimate psychosis. All grab keen attention on the first listen, each enslaving ears and thoughts, but it is through the journey of numerous plays that their layers, depths, and full compelling characters compellingly truly come alive.
With one half of the band in Hot Springs, Arkansas and the other in Boston, Massachusetts, it is hard not to be quickly impressed by the skilful and coherent weave of almost kaleidoscopic textures and ideas, an organic unity which has blossomed through assumingly a torrent of ideas and files being passed back and forth between the duo. Admittedly though, as opener Scarlet Road consumes the senses, Evocation has thoughts swiftly engaged in other creative dramas and intrigue too. The first track envelops ears with a rousing roar of vocal squalls amidst technical and death metal animosity. It has a swagger and toxic virulence which needs little time to infest appetite and imagination, with the latter also persistently gripped by the glimmer of unpredictable incitement which rises from the track’s mellow and provocative slips into emotional dissonance. The track is pure fascination, a challenge and poetic tempting leaving a lingering imprint on the psyche whether washing solemnly over the senses or nagging them with torrential antagonistic discord.
Its emotional turbulence is matched by that of the following God Complex, another ravenous proposal of extreme and venomously grooved metal entangled with sinister disharmony and emotional dissension. The raw vocals squalls create a great rapacious texture in the tempest and the haunting ambience sharing the song’s air, adding great discord and heart bred turmoil again in an offering inflamed with raging ire or sharing sombre caresses. The track continues to envelop and involve across its ever evolving body, sharing its discordancy with its outstanding successor, Death Sentence. It is a carnivorous piece of music and invention, but equally a thrilling adventurous dive through a wealth of avant-garde/progressive experimentation amidst a toxically grooved and rabidly irritable incitement; it all colluding for one breath-taking and emotionally pestilential offering.
Shepherd of the Damned is an inharmonious crawl over the senses next, organ and vocal menace a caliginous calling aided by pained clean vocals before a ravaging expulsion of intensity and sounds spills their animosity. The track continues to weave in and out of vicious and elegant melancholy without escaping the emotional hell at its heart before making way for the nature-esque soundscape and again haunting charm of Ghost Reflection. As always though, even in its warmest melodic seducing, shadows lurk, biding their time as strings and keys skilfully serenade and seed the imagination. They are never allowed a real grip here though, instead a tribalistic rhythmic shuffle emerging to surprise and draw the listener closer as similarly bred vocals dance on their beats.
That darkness does get its moment though in the infectious rock ‘n’ roll of City Lights; a track which seems to stalk the senses even as it launches tenacious roars and bruising tides of rhythmic temptation. Even in that predacious intent, guitars create veins of sonic enticement subsequently leading to seductive noir lit physical and emotional scenery. The track is another pinnacle of Evocation, a fiercely memorable and greed sparking moment backed up just as dynamically and imaginatively by Witching Hour. Evil lines every beat and savage riff, Martin’s scarring vocal trespasses too but again the band creates infectious grooves and a raw catchiness which simply pulls you into the fire of the track. An addictive throaty bassline only adds to the irresistible bait of the track’s quarrel and creative rancor too, a lure equalled by the song’s industrial fizz and melodic oasis further in.
Classical keys coax ears and thoughts into the dark conflict within Darkness Within next; the track a heavy resonating smoulder of emotional and sonic disunity growing from a calm reflective charm into intrusive discordance. As with all tracks within Evocation, every moment is in flux and evolving into a new shade of turbulence and anguish brewed intimacy with matching character of sound to enthral and thrill.
Closing up with Salvation, a similar but individual tapestry woven from varying shades of darkness aligned to emotional greys, Skin Drone leave ears and emotions numb and enjoyment rampant. As suggested, Evocation should be embraced over numerous listens, every one bringing something new to explore while casting fresh twists on ideas already nurtured by previous ventures into its impressive depths. This often viscerally impacting album will not be for everyone but for those with bold imagination and a taste for a band pushing its and metal’s boundaries, Evocation and Skin Drone are worth a heavy slice of attention.
Evocation is released June 14th via Bluntface Records with pre-ordering available @ http://skindrone.bandcamp.com/album/evocation
https://www.facebook.com/skindrone/ https://twitter.com/skindrone http://www.bluntfacerecords.com/
Pete RingMaster 10/05/2016
Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright
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