Exclusive Premiere: Evoken Stream Their New Album, Hypnagogia
While the term ‘funeral doom’ gets bandied about left and right, Evoken have committed themselves to maintaining the genre’s quality. The band’s new album Hypnagogia represents yet another successful shift in the catalog of New Jersey quintet. Following the release of their 2012 masterpiece Atra Mors, their first work with Chris Molinari on lead guitar, bands around the globe began to shift their sounds in order to match the album’s. While Atra Mors was an exercise in the scenic beauty that can be funeral doom, Hypnagogia uses adept rhythmic shifts to herald a more classical Swedish doom sound, although tracks like Schaudenfreude remain the unmistakable core essence of Evoken’s prior brilliance.
In anticipation of the new album dropping this Friday, we sat down to chat with guitarist, fantasy football guru and all-round good guy, Chris Molinari.
These days, funeral doom seems to have risen from the underground and taken hold in mainstream metal. What do you think is responsible for that shift? How has Evoken been received in America as opposed to in Europe?
I am sure there is not just one reason for this shift. I noticed that more extreme forms of doom started getting more popular about 10 years ago. The doom/death and funeral doom bands of yesteryear did not receive much notoriety unless they changed their style and got more catchy. I believe there is more of an appreciation for the extreme style of doom these days. Either that, or people are just more depressed. As far as Evoken is concerned, there was definitely more of an appreciation from Europe, but the band has gained a lot more popularity in the USA over the past decade or so.
Your guitar tone changed quite significantly between Atra Mors and Hypnagogia. Was there any reason for that?
We always want to experiment without getting away from what Evoken is all about. This is to make sure we are not releasing the same album over and over again. The signature guitar tone has always been a part of the band, and has definitely evolved from album to album. As for making a statement, I feel as if we want to make one on every release. I personally want to keep the listeners guessing, and wondering what is to come. Hence, the change in tone from Atra Mors to Hypnagogia was definitely intentional.
In your daily life, you work with special needs children. How has that affected your life both as a musician and simply as a person?
Working with special needs children is both challenging and rewarding. It has definitely been a blessing. Fortunately, I was able to work with them in a musical capacity as well. We would play songs like Jingle Bell Rock, I’m A Believer, etc. for chorus performances. It has given me an opportunity to work with some musically talented colleagues, and some musically talented students.
You’ve played some interesting shows but probably one of the most interesting shows I’ve ever heard of involved Evoken and a suspension show, in which people were suspended by hooks over the audience. Can you tell us a bit about that? I recall a warning about blood.
That was definitely the most unique gig we ever played. Luna, who is a friend of the band, does suspension performances, and wanted Evoken to be the soundtrack to one of her performances. Of course some blood is most likely to be spilled during suspension, so we had to warn the audience.
Check out Evoken’s Hypnagogia below:
Evoken’s Hypnagogia comes out tomorrow on Profound Lore Records. Purchase it here.
Words: Zachary Goldsmith
Photos: Jenny Panic