Evocation Guitarist Vesa Kenttäkumpu Answers PMM’s Burning Questions

One of the criticisms of Illusions of Grandeur among metal critics seems to be that your sound has changed on this effort and has been described as some to be “Amon Amarth meets Dark Tranquility”. How would you respond to these critics?

I´m honored because I love those bands. I think it is a natural way for Evocation to go, we are all from Sweden and Swedish death metal is quite similar to each other in a mystical way. And of course, all of us in those bands are the same age, so we have the same background and influences I think. The funny thing is when I write a song or a melody to Evocation, there always is a little bit of Finnish melancholy in it. I never think about how it sounds, I just write songs with a feeling I have. I think it is the same thing with Olli in Amon Amarth– he’s also Finnish like me, so maybe there is a connection to the roots somehow.

What type of influence did producer Robert Laghi have on the end product of Illusions of Grandeur?

Roberto supported us when we were recording and was kind of a mentor with tips about what we should think about in the recording session. He did not get involved in any kind of melodies on the album, just how to bring the melodies to the front. Roberto was also involved when Tomas did his vocals, and he was like a psychological mentor for him, supporting Tomas all the time and testing new kinds of grooves to the songs. And of course, he did the whole sound for the album with his beautiful mix, which I really love.

What are your favorite tracks from your catalog of songs to play live and why?

I think my favorite track is from our new album Illusions of Grandeur. The song’s name is “Divide and Conquer.” This song has everything; it has a groove, suitable melodies that the listener will remember, and it has a nice solo which I like very much. I love to do solos live because you have to be focused when you are playing it and that’s a challenge for me.

If you could tour with any three bands (existing or defunct), who would be on that “dream tour”?

A dream tour would be Entombed, Evocation and Edge of Sanity.

For the death metal uninitiated, what songs/artists would you recommend?

My favorite album that will always give me goose bumps is Entombed’s Left Hand Path. This album really has an epic sound, and it has melodies which are both very harmonious and brutal in a depressing kind of way. When I heard Left Hand Path for the first time, I said to myself, “I will start a band like this.” This album got me to do death metal, and I will never regret that.

What guitar gear setup are you using for this tour?

My setup is two guitars: Gibson Les Paul custom (black), ESP Eclipse (black and grey), which I always play on. The Gibson is for fun and for recording sessions at my home. The thing is that the guitar itself is very heavy on the shoulder, which is bad when you play a lot. The guitar gives you a twisted spine. The amp I use is an ENGL Savage 120, which is really good and it has a crispy nice sound. The cabinet I use is a Marshall 1969 with 25w greenback elements. And for my solos and lead stuff, I use an effect rack TC Electronics G-major, which is good to bring up the leads live.

Favorite thing and worst thing about touring in the U.S.?

I don’t know because I have never been to the US, so that’s a tricky one. 🙂 But we would love to come to the US for a tour. Let’s see what happens in the future.