Evestus – This Is Dramacore
Evestus are an unconventional Estonian voice in the industrial scene. a potent mix of live orchestral music discordant vocals, samples and noise that comes together on 2010 release This Is Dramacore to tell tales of ego and pretension through both the voice of frontman Ott Evestus and Bioshock’s Fontaine, who is heavily sampled throughout the album. Harsh snares and kick drum machine loops affront the listener at the same time as a whole string section performs and otherwise soothing arrangement behind Evestus’ lyrics.
Ott Evestus is the singer, sole composer and producer of Evestus’ third album ‘This Is Dramacore’ which marks an instrumental boost for the band with live shows supported by a steady backing band including keys, guitars, drums and 4 cellos. Ott describes the sound of Dramacore as an “absinthe reeking carousel” where aggressive industrial and heavy orchestration meet in a “dynamic theatrical fusion”. The package of This Is Dramacore is just as weighty as its sound and concept with a hefty 28 page booklet featuring art and lyrics with artwork that is both complements and expands on the albums concepts. Aesthetically the package seems similar to In Strict Confidence’s Steampunk influenced album La Parade Monstrueuse but musically the two bands could not be further apart.
On the whole Dramacore paints the picture of the many costs of fame, scene drama and the rock and roll lifestyle. Its unconventional mix of strings, electronic music and metal that at times jars and grates but often works to spectacular effect. Whereas most symphonic metal is accompanied by operatic vocals or death metal wails Evestus’ throaty growlings are neither and best described as more of an offbeat croon.
As well as being richly steeped in its anarchic orchestral sound Evestus’ work is heavily influenced by cinematic RPG gaming with Dramacore rife with samples from Irrational Games underwater art deco epic “Bioshock” and previous album Wastelands inspired by Fallout 2. The sampling is expertly peppered throughout and used to great effect. Without descending into obvious repetitive “goth-foolery”.
In opening track Demons of fame there is a rap like vocal section that I was initially dubious about until I realised; I’ve heard this before to great effect, and some how, I was oblivious to the quality of the performance and how it sat in the song, though upon a second listen it was much better.
Demons Of Fame is about the time honored tradition of selling out your principles and talent to the almighty dollar and is a spooky blend of samples leading to Pitchshifter like bass riffs, all against a backdrop of orchestral strings sums up the Evestus sound in a single track.
The steam engine like pumping of Pikachu Warriors drum loops is made all the more urgent sounding by the keyboard sections. “We are the freaks, we’re here to entertain you” is heard over the horn like tooting of the keyboard evokes a sort of circus like atmosphere, complemented by the dirty and degraded artwork of the This Is Dramacore slipcase package with its twisted clowns and performers.
Conveniently confused continues the twisted circus theme with its swaying and soaring orchestral pretensions.
Sacrifice is gloriously discordant vocally while instrumentally charming and a symbolic moment of strength in an album where people are either confronting drama or their own personal demons.
At times this album has been reminiscent of late Skinny Puppy with a little less in the way of subtlety in their sampling choices. Evestus have made an effective and listenable album which only suffers as it tries so hard to fill a multitude of niches. However, the fact that Evestus have endeavored to produce something fully modern and genuinely experimental and is something that I can truly appreciate and enjoy in Dramacore.