(Oaken Shield / Adipocere Records)
I regard the French Black Metal scene as the healthiest next to the Scandinavian one (and yes, I found the former better than the latter, to tell you the entire truth), and latest works by acts like MALLEUS MALEFICARUM, VOCIFERIAN, DEATHSPELL OMEGA, SPEKTR, HAEMOTH (to cite few examples) give proof enough of that. Well, you can add EVOHE to the list of bands to check out, because "Tellus Mater", their first full length, offers a lot in term of inspired musicianship. Indeed, what you can find here is a classic Black Metal feast, remarkably produced (no "authentic" shitty sound here!), not groundbreaking mind you, but performed with a concern for quality. Even the cool and original moniker and layout (at last, no goat nor pentagram on the front cover, what a relief!) add a good flavour to the music and bring forth something fresh. A strong point in favour of this four-piece is the fact they don't rely exclusively on fast and in the end boring pace (even if fast passages are numerous here), but are prone to explore various atmospheres, reaching sometimes the domain a legendary band like BETHLEHEM is renowned for. The vocals are shrieky as usual for this type of music, but sometimes a cavernous voice comes to add interesting variations. The overall atmosphere is of course all doom and gloom, and the songs are composed with class. It is always difficult to describe a very good album, because it is better to let the music do the talking. To me, "Tellus Mater" is an off-the-beaten path offering because even if the music may sound familiar in the first place, an attentive listening shows a lot of never-heard-before details that give the band an unusual sound signature and a strong personality, an exploit worth to mention within the boundaries of a very codified genre like Black Metal. And all this without using easy and cheap tricks like keyboards and ethereal voices, but in keeping a powerful and brutal identity, I insist on that. So if you look for a classic yet special band, check out EVOHE without delay! A very good surprise indeed! www.adipocere.fr.