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Evraak – Evraak I

Evraak
Evraak I
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 18 November 2022, 6:41 AM

From their EPK, EVRAAK is a Progressive Rock band from Japan, formed in 2018 by Koji Kawashima, Hayawo Kanno, Marina Seo, Takeshi Yoshida, Miki Hasegawa, and Tengoku Imagawa and the lineup has remained intact since the beginning. Their sound is dark, dynamic, and dramatic, and that sound appeals to traditional Prog-Rock, Metal, Goth, and Post Rock fans. They have been active for less than five years because each member played their music before formation.” The album has six songs.

“Saethi” is the first. The opening notes are slow and heavy, with some odd saxophone notes that don’t really fit the sound. The clean female vocals over a bed of heavy bass also does not connect well. What am I listening to?  In the realm of weird, this takes the cake. “Stigma” is a 12-minute beast. The opening sequence highlight’s the bands strong musicianship, darting in and out of meter changes. From there however, the weirdness continues. It’s a little more straightforward but the sax and bass playing in unison combination almost gives the song a circus sound to it. The keyboard passage that follows further shows that these various elements just do not connect and there are no transitions. It’s just “bam!” we are going to hit you with a totally different sound. “Asylum Piece” is a bit shorter, and has a more linear sound, with dancing bass notes and smooth vocals. Koji is very capable on the bass, but Marina’s vocals are a little pitchy. It sounds a bit like Jazz crossed with Progressive Rock, and there are some Middle Eastern influences.

“Into the New World” starts off fairly innocuous. From there, the strange elements gradually get, well, more strange. There is a lot going on in the song…thick bass notes, some leads, and the saxophone mixing in the background. There are even some psychedelic elements. There aren’t the rough transitions of other songs here, and you can discern a few melody lines, but it is still fairly disorganized. “Cure” has a smooth, mellow sound. I feel like I wandered into a smoky bar with only a few people sipping drinks and listening to the evening’s entertainment. The sax makes a little more sense in this song. After the half-way mark, it gets darker and more mysterious, and then it transitions back. “Sacrifice” closes the album; another odd song with nearly everything but the kitchen sink. It’s a bit of a free jam for a while until the vocals come in. It’s almost too mellow to even enjoy, and waxes and wanes several times throughout. I really question this album on a few levels.

When giving a rating to an album, I always try to imagine who the music might appeal to, and who is the intended audience. There are obviously exceptions to this, as some of the artists I listen to don’t really give a fuck and just want to express themselves in their art. In recognizing that this is a band from Japan, I also have to confront some of my cultural biases. With all these factors considered, my final verdict is that although the band is very talented, the music is just too weird, even for this Progressive fan.

Songwriting: 4
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 2
Production: 8

2 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Saethi
2. Stigma
3. Asylum Piece
4. Into the New World
5. Cure
6. Sacrifice
Lineup:
Koji Kawashima – Bass
Hayawo Kanno – Guitar
Marina Seo – Vocals
Takeshi Yoshida – Drums
Miki Hasegawa – Keyboards
Tengoku Imagawa – Saxophone 
Record Label: WormHoleDeath Productions
     


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