Evergrey – Escape Of The Phoenix

Escape Of The Phoenix Album Cover Art

Evergrey – Escape Of The Phoenix
AFM Records
Release Date: 26/02/2021
Running Time: 58:43
Review by Beth Jones
9/10

Swedish progressive metallers, Evergrey, are somewhat of a mainstay within the metal world, and you’re always guaranteed top quality musicality and production with their studio albums. The upcoming 12th studio album, “Escape Of The Phoenix”, is certainly no exception to this. But what I will say is that I didn’t reach this conclusion straight away. This is one of those albums that grows on you, and I’m glad that I gave it more of a chance, and more listen throughs, than I sometimes do when writing reviews.

In keeping with Evergrey’s unique style – heavy, melancholic, and progressive – this album has given Tom Englund more freedom to write hugely thought-provoking lyrics, on any subject (the previous three albums had to reign that in a little because they were a concept trilogy). And let me tell you that he has completely achieved what he set out to, and then some. Lyrically, this album doesn’t just hit you in the feels, it tears at them, rips them out, rubs them in your face, then stuffs them back in again. One such example of this is the beautifully sorrowful, ‘Where August Mourns’. The first section of the chorus speaks so much… “If I’m just aching this can’t go on, I came from chasing dreams to feel alone, There must be changes, miss to feel strong, I really need life to touch me…” If you’re having a wobble, lyrics like these can take you one of two ways, but they’re damn cathartic that’s for sure.

But that’s really the case with the whole album, both lyrically and musically. It’s the pleasure/pain – the juxtaposition of beauty and turmoil, living and existing, and the highs and lows of emotions, which Evergrey have a masterful way of capturing. And this is why it took me a few listens to really connect. It’s too deep to just listen to without really concentrating on it.

We get an extra special treat on track 5 ‘The Beholder’ because not only does it encompass the musical and lyrical mastery that is this album, but it has a guest performance from Dream Theater vocalist, James LaBrie, who Joins Tom for a superb duet. Tom has always cited Dream Theater as one of his big influences, so I can imagine that for him this would have been an epic experience, and it has created another amazing song.

This is one of the highlights of the album for me, along with ‘Stories’, ‘In Absence Of Sun’, and ‘You From You’, for their tenderness, and expansiveness; and ‘Forever Outside’ and ‘Escape Of The Phoenix’ for their thumping, punchy riffs, and almost industrial undertones.

Yup, I’m an emotional old sausage, and the more I listen to this album, the more it draws me in. It’s huge, it’s intricate, it’s as close as anyone will get to perfection production wise, and musically it’s interesting and challenging, as well as exceptionally talented. It started as a 6/10, but has crept up my scale with each listen, and could well end up being one of my releases of the year. I feel a little foolish to have even made a quick judgement of it to begin with. If anyone wants me, I’ll be in the garage flogging myself!

‘The Beholder’ feat. James LaBrie (Lyric Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Forever Outsider
02. Where August Mourn
03. Stories
04. A Dandelion Cipher
05. The Beholder (feat. James LaBrie)
06. In The Absence Of Sun
07. Eternal Nocturnal
08. Escape Of The Phoenix
09. You From You
10. Leaden Saints
11. Run

LINE-UP:
Tom S. Englund – Vocals, Guitar
Henrik Danhage – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Rikard Zander – Keyboard, Backing Vocals
Jonas Ekdahl – Drums
Johan Niemann – Bass, Backing Vocals

LINKS:

Evergrey Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Evergrey – The Atlantic

651458

Evergrey – The Atlantic
AFM Records
Release Date: 25/01/2019
Running Time: 54:07
Review by Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King
10/10

There are certain bands, that when they pop up on the “reviews to do” list, I always try to get my name against first and Evergrey are one of those bands! Having been a fan since I purchased a copy of their 2008 album “Torn” on a whim, and also having reviewed their 2016 album “The Storm Within” I thought it was only right that I reviewed their latest offering “The Atlantic.”

Evergrey are a Swedish Progressive Metal band from Gothenburg, formed in 1995, and led by frontman and songwriter, Tom S Englund, they have always been synonymous with “technically and compositionally outstanding standards, combined with lyrics and messages which go way beyond rock ‘n’ roll prose.”

Progressive Metal is not one of my preferred genres, but there are a few bands that stand out in the field, and, for me, Evergrey have always been one of the best. With this new album, the band have manifested their reputation as one of the most unusual and innovative progressive metal acts….worldwide!

This album also sees them complete their “Hymns For The Broken” trilogy, which began life with the launch of Part 1 back in 2014, and is all about the adventure of ‘life’.
As on Hymns For The Broken and it’s 2016 successor The Storm Within, the new album is about events and experiences in our lives,” explains Englund, “it’s about relationships, beauty and darkness, about fortune and grief, about love, hate, despair, joy and everything connected with it. Life is like a journey across the ocean, on the way to distant shores.

So, it was rather apt then, to call the album “The Atlantic”, the second largest ocean on the planet, and with it, they take their listeners on a tempestuous voyage across the rough seas, something that only prog metal can really do!

The expressive cover art work was designed by Greek artist Giannis Nakos, who is renowned for his work for Oceans of Slumber and Hades Rising, among others. The album was mixed and mastered by Jacob Hansen and was produced by Tom, himself, along with drummer Jonas Ekdahl.

The lyrics of Everygrey songs have always been of the darker side, as has the band’s imagery, and this album is no different, with the words being delivered with deep feeling and emotion from the talented voice of Tom. I have always been a fan of Tom’s voice and he did not disappoint on this album. He just seems to get better and better.

There are ten tracks in total and, although together they make for a superb album, each one can stand alone with “amazing power, depth and exciting detail.” There are no bad songs here and I don’t think Mr Englund could write an awful track even if he tried.

The first track on the album is ‘A Silent Arc’ and is probably one of the fiercest and toughest tracks Evergrey have ever recorded. Says their publicity notes, it’s “brutal in a certain kind of Evergrey way!” But, this is not the only function of this track. While it also sets the whole lyrical and musical content of the album, it is also the first single release. Quite a cute move to place it number one in the track list!

There will also be videos to accompany the atmospherically heavy ‘Weightless’, my favourite track on the album, and the anthemic and melancholic ‘All I Have’, two highlights from the thoroughly diverse and haunting album. Also, check out track number two ‘A Secret Atlantis’. Those opening riffs are just magnificent.

The band’s Facebook page cites their influences as Kiss, Metallica, Iron Maiden, Korn and The Deftones, and to be honest I can’t hear any of those bands in Evergrey’s music. For me, these guys produce music that is totally unique to them. They have the riffs and the guitars, the drums and the vocals that bands of all genres of metal possess, but the way it is all put together just sets them miles apart from the rest. This is music you could break up and make up to. It’s music that makes you feel emotions that you might not necessarily want to feel. It’s music that gets you right in the stomach and tears at your heartstrings! And there are not many bands out there who can do that!

If you have not heard Evergrey’s music before….where the hell have you been for the past twenty years?? And, more importantly, GO and BUY this album! In fact go and buy them all. They are definitely a band you need to hear.

I hope these guys continue to make lots more of their fantastic music and next time they are in London (question for you there Tom??!) I will definitely be at the front!!

TRACKLISTING:
01. A Silent Arc
02. Weightless
03. All I Have
04. A Secret Atlantis
05. The Tidal
06. End Of Silence
07. Currents
08. Departure
09. The Beacon
10. This Ocean

LINKS:

103317

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Evergrey – The Storm Within

Evergrey – The Storm Within
AFM Records
Release Date: 09/09/2016
Running Time:58:27
Review by Dawn King
9/10

Having previously owned just one Evergrey album, 2008’s Torn, getting the chance to review their latest offering was too good to turn down.

Released on AFM Records on 9th September 2016, The Storm Within is the Swedish quintet’s 10th studio album and is one of the most progressive records they have produced to date. Inadvertently coinciding with their 20th year anniversary, The Storm Within, is considered by some to be their strongest album ever.

Formed in Gothenburg, Sweden, in 1995, the band have undergone various personnel changes, their current line-up undoubtedly being their best as 2014 saw the triumphant returns of both Henrik Danhage and Jonas Ekdahl on the album, Hymns For The Broken and The Storm Within picks up where Hymns left off.

In true Evergrey style, the album has a melancholy concept and is one that everyone can relate to. Described by frontman/founder Tom S Englund as the band’s first “love” album, it portrays the processes and emotions of having someone, losing them and having to pick yourself up and move on and incorporates the Evergrey trademark progressive, dark and melancholic elements.

The album is packed with elaborate guitar work, remarkable solos and killer rhythms and the combination of melodies, progressive tendencies and a heaviness only a metal band could produce along with haunting lyrics and vocals, means the band connect with their listeners on both a musical and emotional level. On a personal note, I can relate to the distinctive poignant vocals but with plenty of beefy guitars and galloping heavy riffs, which recently had been pointed out to be a favourite of mine, the album offers a delightful treat for my ears too.

We start with a haunting piano intro that steers us into Distance, the lead single and first video off the album, and the melodically and lyrically stunning Passing Through is set to become a fan favourite. My Allied Ocean is undeniably the heaviest track on the album, and The Impossible is a nice change of pace, with just the main vocal, piano work and some lovely string ambience, the band paying for real stringed instruments. The duet with Floor Jansen from Nightwish on In Orbit is the icing on the cake, the two complimenting each other perfectly and Englund is also joined by his wife Carina on The Paradox of the Flame.

Says Englund of the album: “The Storm Within is a massive album. There are no fillers on it and we’ve never been about that. I think the inspiration speaks for itself.”

I couldn’t have said it any better myself, Mr Englund. A cracking album, and one I will continue to listen to for a good while to come.

TRACKLISTING:
1. Distance
2. Passing Through
3. Someday
4. Astray
5. The Impossible
6. My Allied Ocean
7. In Orbit (feat Floor Jansen)
8. The Lonely Monarch
9. The Paradox of the Flame
10. Disconnect
11. The Storm Within

LINE-UP:
Tom S Englund – vocals, guitar
Henrik Danhage – guitar, backing vocals
Rikard Zander – keyboards, backing vocals
Jonas Ekdahl – drums
Johan Niemann – bass, backing vocals

LINKS:

1388_photo

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dawn ‘The Metal Priestess’ King and Metal Gods TV. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to do adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.