Metal Blade Recordings metal gurus, Evocation, are in celebration mode due to the thrill behind a sensational fifth studio album release, ‘The Shadow Archetype’. Drenched in a layer of horror, The Swedish death metal band has exceeded their dedicated fans expectations with tracks such as “Condemned To The Grave” and “The Coroner”. I caught up with the band to discuss bringing ‘The Shadow Archetype’ to life, fellow Metal Blade Recordings labelmates, tattoos, and more.
Congrats on the release of your fifth studio album, ‘The Shadow Archetype’. Tell us about the creative and recording process this time around.
Simon: Thank you! Me and Marko started to write “The Shadow Archetype” in the autumn of 2013 and worked very hard on the songwriting until the summer of 2015. That’s when we got in touch with the session drummer for the album, Per Möller Jensen (ex-The Haunted, ex-Invocator). Per has always been a big influence for the previous drummer of EVOCATION, so it was a natural choice for us to turn to him. The recording of drums was redone over 4 days at Crehate Studios (based in Mölndal, close to Gothenburg) and then we started to record guitars, bass and vocals at our own studio – Acacia Avenue Recordings. The mixing and mastering duties were handled by the great Daniel Bergstrand at DugOut Productions in April/May of 2016.
The album artwork for ‘The Shadow Archetype’ is quite dark and elaborate. Is there a certain artist that you have worked with to create your album artwork over the years?
Simon: Michal “Xaay” Loranc did the artwork for “The Shadow Archetype” based on a few ideas from us in the band. Xaay is very easy to work with and once you give him open hands to be fully creative, that’s where he’s at his best! Xaay has also done the artwork for our last four releases.
Let’s talk tattoos. Tell us about some of your favorite personal pieces and the artists that brought them to life.
Marko: My favorite tattoo is my back piece which was made by Alf Svensson, the guitarist of At The Gates in the early 90s. Alf is a great tattoo artist and in my opinion perhaps even the very best tattoo artist from Sweden. In the Gothenburg area in Sweden most people from the early 90s Death Metal scene have tattoos made by Alf. His favorite style is fantasy motives and my back piece is from Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. I have one of the Nazgul’s on a horse on my back, made in black and white. A true masterpiece by Alf Svensson and I wear it proudly!
Any upcoming tour or festival appearance plans that you can fill us in about?
Simon: Not yet since we’re still at the planning stage when it comes to live shows. “The Shadow Archetype” is released a bit too late for summer festivals 2017, but there are a lot of indoor festivals in the autumn over here in Europe, so we hope to be able to play a few of those!
Any fellow Metal Blade Records labelmates that you’d like to give a shout-out to for releasing an incredible album?
Simon: Yes of course! CANNIBAL CORPSE truly deserves a shout-out for every solid release these past 30 years!
Your lyricism tends to carry themes that metaphorically dive into many facets of life in a unique manner. Is your songwriting a collective effort or does a member of the band really take charge of it?
Marko: The lyrics have mostly been taken care of by Thomas, our vocalist. On our first demo from 1992, me and Vesa wrote the lyrics but after that Thomas has been handling the lyrics pretty much all by himself. I think he does a great job with that. Thomas somehow paints pictures with his lyrics. When I read them and listen to them I get images in my head which is quite unique I think. Thomas has a special gift for writing lyrics and phrasing them so that they fit perfectly into the tracks. Sometimes Thomas asks us for some guidance or ideas and then we also come up with some themes for Thomas to write about but mostly he handles the lyrics all by himself. When it comes to the music on “The Shadow Archetype” it has been written by me and Simon. And the music on all our previous albums was written by Vesa, me and Janne. So there hasn’t been any release with Evocation that has been written by a single member. It has always been a sort of collective effort doing the albums. And for me it feels natural and the way it is supposed to be.
How has been signed to Metal Blade Records influenced your artistry as a musician?
Simon: “The Shadow Archetype” was written before we inked a deal with Metal Blade Records, but we immediately felt that Metal Blade Records was the right home for our new album. They’ve released so many legendary albums that have influenced the death metal scene throughout the years. It’s actually been somewhat a dream come true for EVOCATION to be able to work with the great people at Metal Blade Records.
What do fans of Evocation have to look forward to in 2017?
Simon: We’re planning the release party for “The Shadow Archetype”, which will be held somewhere in our hometown Borås in April 2017. That will be a lot of fun and we’re also hoping to be able to work with a local brewery to craft our very first EVOCATION beer, which hopefully will be available at this release party. Also be sure to check out the music video for the track “Condemned to the Grave” from our new album, out on YouTube and other media March 1st.
If our viewers were visiting Sweden for the first time and you could recommend two attractions to visit, which two spots would you choose and why?
Marko: I think I would recommend my favorite museum the Vasa Museum in Stockholm and the island Gotland. The Vasa Museum is a museum built for the medieval navy ship Vasa which sank in 1628 in Stockholm on its maiden voyage. It’s a unique relic from the medieval era and I’m very fond of naval history. I have visited the museum several times and I can spend hours dreaming away in that place. I just love it!
The island Gotland has the most beautiful landscape and nature in all of Sweden. When visiting Gotland one needs to visit the main city of the island – Visby. It’s actually a world heritage according to the UN organ UNESCO. And also one needs to travel around the island just to enjoy the spectacular nature and landscape. I would want to live there some day in the future. Perhaps some day when one gets to the age of retirement it would be a cool thing to move to Gotland and just enjoy that beautiful island all day long.
Last but certainly not least, any closing messages for your fans?
Simon: We really hope that you’ll enjoy “The Shadow Archetype” and catch us on the road over a beer or ten!