Although the similarities to its predecessor and earlier recordings are unmistakable, “Evoke” also distinguished itself as a clearly new step in the band’s evolution. Most notably, founding member and original guitarist, Elizaveat, had decided to leave Sabbat permanently during the band’s recording hiatus of the late-1980s, though he returned for his swan song on “Envenom.” During this transitional period prior to the first album, Sabbat found its replacement for Elizaveat in Temis Osmond, who was invited to contribute a keyboard intro and outro for “Envenom,” as well as the guitar solo in one song, at the invitation of Elizaveat himself. On “Evoke,” Temis Osmond officially assumed the full-time guitar duties vacated by Elizaveat, which is evident not only in his style of playing, but also in a shift in songwriting tendencies that is demonstrated on this second album. With Elizaveat on guitar, Sabbat’s music had been more heavily influenced by the NWOBHM movement and Venom in particular. Beginning with Temis Osmond’s influence on “Evoke,” song compositions became somewhat more varied and less reliant on the formulas established by traditional heavy metal and perpetuated by the NWOBHM. Elements of the style adopted by Elizaveat are still present on many of the individual riffs, but multiple progressions within a song are somewhat less predictable and more complex, involving scales upon which more exotic riffs and solos are constructed.
In addition to this shift in songwriting, “Evoke” is also characterized by greater variation in Gezol’s vocal styles. Although the band’s mastermind had been known previously to alternate between lower, growled vocals and high-pitched falsettos, he predominately employed the former on “Envenom,” with the notable exception of the song “Carcassvoice,” where he utilized both in unison. On the other hand, on “Evoke” he moves more liberally between the different registers and includes whispered vocals (see “Hellhouse”) and even somewhat cleaner and more melodic vocals on “Beyond the River.”
These differences with the previous album aside, “Evoke” is anything but an aberration in Sabbat’s development. Instead, it would be more accurately interpreted as a transitional work that began cementing the dynamic among these three members that would endure for almost two decades. As such, it is appropriate that it once again be made available as both an essential archive in Sabbat’s history and also as a monument that reflects the admiration that the band continues to demand worldwide.