Evergrey – The Storm Within

Evergrey - The Storm Within

Over the course of past 20 years no band achieved to come close in creating a strong bond between darkness and progressive metal like Swedish metallers Evergrey. Seriously though, the Gothenburg-based band can easily be thought of as a band that established a new subgenre of progressive metal by adding the “dark” adjective to the root. This is mostly to be assigned to the guitar riffs and unique voice of Tom S. Englund, which are probably the biggest trademarks of the band.

During the 20-year long career, Evergrey had a fair amount of share of ups and downs, the latter reaching its climax after the release of 2011’s Glorious Collision and departures of drummer Hannes Van Dahl and guitarist Marcus Jidell in 2013. However, the following year brought return of Jonas Ekdahl on drums and Henrik Danhage on guitar resulting in Hymns for the Broken, an album that was sort of a creative revival for the band which received many great reviews around the world.

This year Evergrey are back in the game with their tenth studio offering in the shape of The Storm Within, which is considered by the band as the biggest in terms of the concept it tackles through the 11-track journey. Being a brainchild of Englund, Evergrey are no strangers of writing concept albums based on personal experiences of its creator. What is more important is that Evergrey after 20 years and 10 records under their belt still know how to offer engaging records and succeed in delivering something different.

Although often simply described as “prog metal” and rightly so, there’s a lot more to Evergrey‘s sound than simply genre tags. Top-notch instrumentation, excellent and well-honed vocals courtesy of Englund and a sort of innately engaging song-writing method that many bands struggle to ever make on their own. Add to that the whole field of prog rock and heavy metal and a few sprinklings of previously unheard influences and what this album offers sounds like a delectable eleven course meal.

Evergrey 2016

The chords on The Storm Within are slightly darker compared with the previous album; the progressions are equally as new sounding and dramatic, almost out of character for the genre. Englund and Danhage have included some riff ideas and playing styles that are unheard on earlier releases and feel pretty new on an Evergrey recording. The synths and backing keys of Rikard Zander feel more modern and inventive than before. They’ve solidified a direction to go towards.

As it mostly happens with Evergrey albums, the opening song sets the course for the rest of the album. Lead single “Distance” does exactly that — it shows a way for the tracks that come after. Developed around a repetitive piano intro and an equally brooding guitar riffs followed by the voice of Tom S. Englund. The following “Passing Through” comes along as a take on a hybrid of genres comprised of alternative rock and prog metal, and wrapped with the industrial influences.

With its beautifully dirty riffs and aggressive movement, “Someday” and “Astray” allow Englund’s voice to be pushed to the limits, balancing on the lows and effortlessly reaching the highs — impressive, to say the least. This tracks are dominant with a heavier drive and is what I would consider to be a definite bitter-sweet taste of The Inner Circle / Recreation Day.

Evergrey write killer progressive metal songs but they should also be noted for their ability to write and create outstanding outpours of emotion, much like, “The Impossible.” Though this song is an evident diversion in sound up until this point, there is no lack of technicality on the musicianship front, nor is there an ounce of let-up in Tom’s vocals. This is a definite stand-out track that will be on repeat for quite some time. Mellower not really your thing? Not to worry, there’s plenty of tracks that provide exactly what the majority look for in an Evergrey record. Look no further as the following “My Allied Ocean” gives you exactly that.

“In Orbit” features guest appearance from Nightwish’s Floor Jansen, who sounds great in tandem with Englund, but the biggest highlight here are guitar solos courtesy of Henrik Danhage whose tone is definitely captivating. Jansen also appears on a bit experimental “Disconnect,” which sees the band exploring different soundscapes. In the meantime, “The Lonely Monarch” and “The Paradox of the Flame” keep the level of diversity on The Storm Within high. The latter one is another duet, featuring Carina Englund on vocals, who together with Tom delivers the most emotional moment on the album.

Finally the closing title track brings another epic Evergrey journey to a closure in a big style. It’s an epilogue to where the band stand in 2016. And considering everything that’s been said on this fine piece of music Evergrey is right up there where they belong.

The Storm Within is a sturdy display of originality, whilst staying true to form. It is just one more piece of evidence that Evergrey is simply among the best progressive metal bands this genre has to offer.

Tracklist:

01. Distance
02. Passing Through
03. Someday
04. Astray
05. The Impossible
06. My Allied Ocean
07. In Orbit (featuring Floor Jansen)
08. The Lonely Monarch
09. The Paradox Of The Flame (featuring Carina Englund)
10. Disconnect (featuring Floor Jansen)
11. The Storm Within

Line-up:

* Tom S. Englund – vocals, guitars
* Rikard Zander – keys, backing vocals
* Johan Nieman – bass, backing vocals
* Henrik Danhage – guitars, backing vocals
* Jonas Ekdahl – drums

Links:

www.evergrey.net

www.facebook.com/evergrey

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