As most of the melodeath pioneers have largely fallen by the wayside, it’s been left to a new breed to carry the torch. Though the album title may allude to an exploration of new boundaries, Evolution’s strengths are the hallmarks of latter-day Arch Enemy and a heavy dosage of US groove to offset the Gothenburg blueprint.
With ex-Machine Head man Logan Mader now flanked by two more guitarists, the scratchy sound of their debut, The Life I Remember, has been beefed up, with the triple harmonies of Flock Of Flesh taking on an almost symphonic nature. The bass-playing and proggy blips of Damien Rainaud often come to the fore while vocalist Lauren Hart sounds as comfortable on the soulful moments of Paragon as she does tearing her vocal chords to pieces. The weighty dynamics of Drain and Eye Of Chaos’s wall of sound are standouts on an album that is more meaty than it is memorable, but with an improved production that accentuates every cacophonous riff and double bass salvo it’s a sturdy benchmark with which to start 2017.