Immoral Arts


I am unreasonably mad.
July 11, 2024

Evoked – Immoral Arts
“I Am Unreasonably Mad”
By Big Bear Buchko


I sit down to write in a horrible headspace. I feel cranky. Frustrated. And you may think well, that’s a horrible place to write an article from, and you’re not wrong. But I press forward in this state for one reason and one reason only: I am in this mood because of this album that I’m reviewing. Let me tell you my process…

It’s usually about midnight, maybe one in the morning, when I decide to creep down to my living room with my laptop – for a smoke and a toke and a listen. Nothing on the t.v., a couple sleepy dogs at my feet, and I envelope myself in whatever record my kind and patient editor-in-chief has sent me. And that’s what I find myself in right now; midnight, dogs, dark t.v., and the new album Immoral Arts by self-described “German death metal rats” Evoked. That… is a direct quote from their press release. Yup. So, you see, I have just finished this record, and as this record is why I am in such a fowl mood is why I will draft this article in this state; so I can properly convey my confusion and currently suppressed rage.

But first: spoiler alert: I’m going to be rating most of this album with fives across the board. I’m doing this and telling you now because I honestly can’t decide if this album is a brilliant piece of nostalgic tribute bordering on satire, or something so horrendously dumb that the band may owe me flowers, a backrub, and a personal apology. And it’s only in this moment that I think to look at the rest of the band’s press release. The difference, for me, between “brilliant” and “dumb” is whether or not what they’re doing is taken seriously. For example, one of the reasons why groups like Mr. Bungle or Dog Fashion Disco work so well is because they’re obviously in on the joke. At no point do they seem like they’re taking themselves too seriously, and I like that. I say this because – upon looking at the low-resolution photos of the band themselves – I realize, no… no, I think they’re taking this very seriously. It reminds me of the work of Andy Warhol; some people may think this is incredible. I don’t see it. But maybe. So, fives across the board. Find the album, listen to it, and decide for yourself. Good luck.

The first track is also the name of the album – “Immoral Arts.” It hits and hits hard, with a good natural progression to the core of the song. With this first exposure, I feel optimistic about what’s ahead. I can dig this. I like this. There is a beautiful, authentic ode to the early days of speed and thrash metal, and I can see this playing comfortably beside Kill Em All, Morbid Visions, and Bestial Devastations. The recording is relatively poor, but I have to assume that’s part of the homage. The vocals are non-traditional for any of the modern genres, and as true to form, are mixed way too far to the back. The drums are kept at a volume that starts to hit your inner ear in a terrible way, and the guitar solo near the end is brought so far forward when it happens that, not only can you no longer hear any other part of the song, but it becomes so loud that you have to turn away. It hurts. Physically. I’m convinced at this point that it’s satire. No one would intentionally make something sound this bad unless it’s an over-dramatization of music from the period. It has to be that. Right?

From the Distance.” It’s here that you can really hear the early-70s influence that punk would have on the formation of speed and thrash metal. It’s present and it’s heavy. Thick. This is frilly jean vests and spiked jewelry music. It’s also here that you get a clearer view of the vocalist’s sound and abilities, and what he does and is doing here is almost… comical. He doesn’t sound like a grown man doing heavy metal. He sounds like a crazy, old, woman in a horror movie, out of breath and screaming at you about bringing your teenage shenanigans to her house near the swamp. What the hell is going on here?

My mood starts to shift from enjoyment and optimism to annoyance, and “A Nameless Grave” doesn’t fix things. If this is satire, it’s too good. If it’s a tribute, it goes too far. If this is meant to be taken seriously, then I’m getting pissed. I can only assume that the engineers behind the production of this album were first year students having to mix audio for a grade, and I can only assume that grade here was a D-. But it doesn’t seem like a mistake. It seems… intentionally, aggressively bad. With guitar solos, again drowning out the band, and vocal effects that sound like a PS1 horror game villain cutaway. It’s one thing to pull focus, but it’s another to make your guitar or drum or vocal effect 800% louder than the rest of the song. Why are they doing this to me? What did I do to deserve this?

There’s only five tracks on Immoral Acts, and as I click to start track four – “Behind the Eyes” – I have to audibly tell myself okay, there’s only two more, you can do this. It’s a 20-minute album where my fill is reached halfway, which is a first for me. Here, the drums again, too exact at such a frequency that the monotony of it hits ear ugly after a repetition of the same blast beats over and over. I wince, waiting for it to finish. There’s a sudden bass solo while doesn’t quite seem to fit where they stuffed it, and I realize this record is starting to make me mad. But the worst for me is yet to come; a guitar solos, again mixed way too loud, but now it’s off-rhythm and doesn’t fit the song in the slightest, almost as if someone is playing two very different songs at the same time. I’m starting to feel like I don’t get the joke.

Another part of my process is that I take active notes throughout whatever I’m listening to, and for the album ending “Blunt Force Trauma,” all I could stand to write was “I’m relieved this is almost over,” and “Whenever you can understand the lyrics, the lyrics are…”       well, look, I wrote down some expletives and then some other not very nice things, that’s all you need to know. I also usually re-listen to the album two or three times while working on my article, and this time I instead chose the charms of Midsommar on Hulu to get me back to center. I’ll not be adding this one to an iTunes playlist.

If I’m off-base here about Evoked and Immoral Arts, if there is an intended caricature of the early metal zeitgeist prevalent throughout, then, you know, I bow my head in respect. However… I don’t see it. This isn’t Spinal Tap, and I don’t see these average bunch of North Rhiners being that level of satirical geniuses. And even if that was the case, the physical discomfort brought about by the overly-loud mixing was real and unpleasant. But, hey, find the record, stream it – whatever, make up your mind for yourself. But for me, if I had a hard copy of this record, I’d probably toss it in the fireplace, but since this is the digital age, the Recycling bin will have to do.

5 / 10









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"Immoral Arts" Track-listing:


  1. Immoral Arts
  2. From The Distance
  3. A Nameless Grave
  4. Behind The Eyes
  5. Blunt Force Trauma


Evoked Lineup:

Artilleratör - Drums
Bonesaw - Guitars & Vocals
Gravecrawler - Bass

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