Album Review: Aldious – Evoke II 2010-2020

Peter interviewed Aldious recently, and now turns his attention to their upcoming release…

Changing vocalists is always a risky move, and especially so in the traditional world of heavy metal. Iron Maiden did it twice with Bruce and Blaze, AC/DC achieved the impossible with Brian but Skid Row and Van Halen failed spectacularly (Gary Cherone). Fans are quite precious about singer so I’m sure Aldious lost a few fans with the addition of new singer R!N but, on the evidence of self covers album Evoke II 2010-2020, they’re sure to gain many more.

The second such album released in a calendar year (hence the title) Evoke II 2010-2020 contains nine cracking, career defining songs re-recorded with R!N at the helm. They’re essentially the same tracks but the new vocals cause a strange transmogrification to occur. Opening cut “Luft” originally appeared on 2010’s Deep Excited opus but R!N’s voice renders it far heavier, more earthy and less cutesy (always a good move). The double tracked vocals have a shadowy haunting effect that renders “Luft” simultaneously heavy and otherworldly.

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If your only exposure to Aldious was their album sleeves and promo pictures then you’d find the sound bursting from your speakers quite a shock. The fluffy dresses and pink bows in which they wrap themselves belies a sound that could quite easily swing with DragonForce. Songs like “Re:fire” and “Believe Myself” (both from 2015’s Radiant A) veer into thrash territory and it’s not until we reach fourth track “Reincarnation” that we’re afforded a breather of sorts. Trading speed for power it’s a brutally heavy slab of metal that swings like a huge wrecking ball.

The history of metal is full of stellar guitar combos: Würzel and Campbell, Murray and Smith, Tipton and Downing. Well, now you can add Aldious’ Yoshi and Toki to that illustrious list. Throughout this album their interplay is exceptional as they pepper the songs with neo-classical lines and explosive solos while throwing in the occasional acoustic flourish to add a touch of variety. However, it’s the more raucous tracks where they really shine as on the amphetamine charged “Confusion” and I swear you can almost see those studio speakers smouldering!

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Evoke II 2010-2020 is a well sequenced album that ebbs and flows perfectly and it’s something of a wild ride but power ballad “Fragile” ensures a soft landing. Full of soaring guitars and waves of sonic goodness it ensures the album ends on a rather ethereal, whimsical tone.

I’m usually wary of compilations and covers releases, like live albums they seem a lazy addition to a discography, but this record kind of makes sense. With a new singer this feels a rebirth for Aldious and R!N has certainly put her mark on the band’s back catalogue. As a calling card it’s the perfect introduction and paves the way for world domination.

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Evoke II 2010-2020 (Special European Edition) is released via JRU Records on 29th January 2020.

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