The words “don’t judge a book by its cover” come to mind here. From examining the band name, logo, album title, and cover art, one would be forgiven for expecting Involution’s self-released ‘Evolution of Thoughts’ album to be an exercise in progressive metal wankery. That impression couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, ‘Evolution’ is chock full of stout’n’sturdy German heavy metal anthems, twin-guitar heroics, and the endearing vocals of Erdmann Gorg, who at times sounds like a young Hansi Kursch on this recording (like on the semi-ballad “Rise”). Don’t get me wrong: Blind Guardian is not really an apt comparison for Involution’s brand of German heavy metal. It’s more in the style of mid-period Rage, anthemic Iron Savior, or even a less chunky, more melodic Brainstorm (or for a more obscure example, the German band Sencirow). So it’s traditional guitar-driven Teutonic steel all the way, with occasional nods to thrash (parts of “Inner Denial”), a few light backing keyboards, and more than the typical degree of versatility in the melodies and feels on display. ‘Evolution of Thoughts’ is one of those albums that kind of sneaks up on the listener. Upon first traversing the 11-song, 46-minute affair, my thoughts were that it was good but nothing particularly noteworthy. Subsequent spins proved me wrong, however, as these songs really opened up and revealed their hooks and their power. In addition to producing (with bassist, Stefan Schrieck) and mixing the album, guitarist Marcel Levermann also receives the lion’s share of the music writing credits, and he proves to be quite a talented writer. Many of these songs have undeniable “earworm” tendencies, as they worm their way into your brain and your consciousness, then never let go. “A Search” is just such a song, with striking melodic dual-guitar interplay courtesy of Levermann and partner in crime Bastian Wehowsky, cool tempo changes, a huge chorus, and a monster vocal performance from Gorg. Another tune that has especially captivated me is track 10, entitled “Another Torch,” which features a crushing main riff before giving way to a double-bass feast in the ultra-catchy refrain. Wow. But every song is cool and adds something to the album.
If you dig classic German twin-guitar heavy metal, have the patience to listen to an album all the way through a few times before making any judgments, and are willing to give an unsigned, unknown band a shot, you could do far worse than to pick up a copy of ‘Evolution of Thoughts’ from Involution. These guys are off to a fine start, and I’ll be keenly waiting to hear what they come up with next.
~ Review by Kit Ekman ~