Artist: Deviser

Album: Evil Summons Evil

Label: Hammerheart Records
Release Date: February 10, 2023
Location: Athens, Greece

We’ve all heard the term “epic black metal” and sometimes this accurately describes what people are talking about, while at other times its way off. If anyone were to describe Evil Summons Evil as an epic black metal album I would wholeheartedly agree. Unholy Athenian entity Deviser have given us an album with more raw power, vocal dominance, subtle atmosphere and killer riffs than I’ve heard in some time.

Hellenic black metal has always stood out to me as unique approach to the genre. If you look back to Rotting Christ, Thou Art Lord, Necromantia or Naer Mataron, what do you see, melodic black metal that relies heavily on catchy, memorable riffs and yet still delivers plenty of raw aggression and power. Not only that but they often employ a sort of gothic undertone, achieved in many cases by atmospheric keyboard or synth elements. Well, I’m happy to say that Deviser continue that tradition here, making those that came before proud and carrying the Greek BM torch for another decade to come.

The first thing most people will notice when this album kicks off are the vocals, hell it’s impossible not to with how high they sit in the mix. I’m glad that the band went down this path though, because the unique style employed by Matt Hnaras deserves the center stage. He uses a heavily layered, echoed, shrieked style that sounds truly menacing and balances raw biting aggression with powerful delivery. I can’t really understate just how rabid, raw and biting these vocals are and that’s coming from someone that isn’t usually a big fan of heavily layered vocals.

The second thing that people should pick up on is the guitar work, which as mentioned follows that Hellenic style of using captivating melodies. As well as being memorable and catchy we’re treated to some killer solos that show the technical proficiency that Matt possesses. There’s a great balance struck between rawer, more distorted guitar tone and cleaner, crisper tones used to expand that epic feeling present throughout. The drum work does an excellent job of mirroring the energy of the guitar and shifts from blast beats to a more atmosphere focused style as needed.

I should mention that a crucial element to the album’s overall sound is Nick Christogiannis’ amazing keyboard work. These elements are woven into the very fabric of the music and are a HUGE part of the album’s epic nature. They provide haunting gothic undertones, epic string-based elements and so much more. We also have Nick to thank for the album’s bass work, which may not sit high in the mix or shine through on its own, but definitely helps expand the sound on the album overall.

The album’s mastering is top notch, each element is clearly able to breath in the mix and the release as a whole sounds fantastic. We have Psychon of legendary Greek symphonic death metal act Septicflesh to thank for this. Along with his contribution we have some fantastic guest appearances including Heljarmadr (Dark Funeral and Grá), Efthimis Karadimas (Nightfall) and Androniki Skoula (Chaostar). Each brings their own unique energy and character to the mix and adds a twist to the track that they feature on. I also want to praise the always awesome work of Kris Verwimp on this album art, just like his works with Marduk and Immortal, this is peak black metal imagery.

As far as favourite songs go it’s no easy choice, but I would have to go with two in particular. Death Is Life Eternal, is the opening track and happens to be my first pick simply because of its high energy, forward marching moment, but also because it features some of my favourite riffs, hooks and solos on the album. It also has a great underlying rhythm that really works well with the vocal segments on the track. Also, that guitar tone and riff combo at around 3:15 just absolutely slays.

My second pick, Of Magick (Feat. Androniki Skoula) stood out to me for very different reasons. The song has an impressive level of underlying atmosphere to it and just draws you in from start to finish. Part of that is thanks to the haunting clean vocals of Androniki Skoula, but it’s also in part thanks for brooding undertones employed by the band. Matt’s vocals are also in PEAK form here, as he dominates the audio landscape with his raw power.

Overall, the album is a prime offering of modern Hellenic black metal and one that any fans of both the genre as a whole and this particular style should not sleep on. I can promise you that this release has fantastic repeat listening value and that the more you listen the more you will come to appreciate it.

Listen to and order the album:


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