In recent years, Siberia and the geographically Asian part of Russia seems to have become a veritable fountainhead of extreme music. With a population of approximately 30.000.000 people, Siberia has (in our estimation) given rise to at least 15.000.000 bands of various types. While that number may be exaggerated or made up completely, Siberia does spawn a lot of bands. More to the point: a lot of great bands.
Evoke Thy Lords have been around since 2008, and began their career as some kind of gothic/doom band. Why, I don’t know. In recent years their style have changed, and what meets us on their very recently unveiled album Lifestories is a blend of stoner, doom and progressive/psychedelic death metal. With flute! Something like this could have been more fun than good, if it were done in the wrong way. Humor, too much weirdness or otherwise unsuitable nonsense could well have sent this album packing for the curiosities bin. Luckily, this is not the case.
Lifestories takes all of its elements and compresses them into a completely coherent, heavy style of its very own. The main adjective here is “groovy”, since virtually the whole play time consists of drawling, sleazy riffs over shuffling-yet-tight drum work. Certain elements come and go: the regular patches of Jethro Tull style flute work by Irina Drebuschak add a great note of subtle beauty, and the rest of the music moves between sludgy stoner riffing, progressive rock complete with guitar solos, and slightly more death/doom like segments. All is welded together like a massive steel component from EVRAZ ZSMK.
The vocals are mainly deep, throaty death metal growls, though there are a few standard stoner clean vocal parts. The combination of rock and death metal is somehow similar to the criminally underestimated Malaysian death/thrash band Sil-Khannaz, and a track like “Stuff It” sounds somewhat like a stoner/doom interpretation of “Eastern Barbaric Skullcrusher” or more recent “Thunder Roar”. Other than that, there is no particular reason to find similes here – Evoke Thy Lords do their own thing, and in this case that tired cliche means something. In the 12 minute epic “Heavy Weather” they come into their own completely, and it is both the best track and a magnificent synopsis for the album as a whole.
Rocking at a languorous pace, Evoke Thy Lords take the very best out of numerous genres and compress it into an utterly convincing album. With just the right balance of clarity and roughness present in the production, the groovy and sublime violence of Lifestories comes straight across to the listener, whether that listener is tending a garden or getting drunk off his or her ass. Bang Thy Head, Evoke Thy Lords.