Evergrey | The Storm Within
Label: AFM Records
Release Year: 2016
Genre: Progressive Metal
Tom. S Englund – Vocals/Guitars
Henrik Danhage – Guitars
Rikard Zander – Keyboards
Johan Niemann – Bass
Jonas Ekdahl – Drums
Floor Jansen – ReVamp/NIghtwish on (In Orbit & Disconnect)
Corina Englund – on (The Paradox And The Flame)
For well over 20 years Evergrey have maintained a steady and progressive growth as a band and as songwriters. When some of there peers have either broke up or have lacked in maturity, Evergrey still grows and blossoms how they are planted. Tom Englund – Vocals/Guitars has also maintained a clear vision for the direction of the band he and Don Bronell founded in around 1995.
Anyone who knows about Sweden’s metal scene over the last 20+ years will know that Evergrey either shared in a renaissance of music growth with the likes of countrymen like Opeth, Arch Enemy, Pain Of Salvation, In Flames, etc, or they have changed their sound progressively or even personnel changes. Everygrey have certainly been through this growing pain process, however with one of the most under rated band leaders, vocalists, songwriters and man of vision in Tom Englund, Everygrey have certainly weathered many storms in their 20+ years.
In 2016 the band has returned with The Storm Within, their second release from their new recording label home AFM Records. With The Storm Within, Evergrey have certainly removed any sophomoric jinx that may of happened coming off the widely acclaimed and highly successful offering of 2014 Hymns For The Broken. The classic Everygrey lineup also returns with The Storm Within as well as it did with Hymns For The Broken. The Storm Within sees the band pick right up where they left off with Hymns For The Broken. This is uncompromising, free spirited and mature progressive metal. Here are some highlights from track to track of The Storm Within.
Distance begins with a very dark melodic isolated piano passage before exploding into a riff frenzy. There is a lot of depth between the rhythm section on both side between the stringed section and bass/drum section. There are also very solid concurrent running vocal harmonies that run with the depth of the rhythm section. Most of this track rests on the vocal harmonies with the band and children’s choir towards the outro and guitar solo’s that interchange in and out with swift time signatures. I see this track as a track the band can do a lot with live in concert with adding the children’s choir. Maybe potentially backed by a orchestra if the band chooses that direction.
Passing Through opens up with a blistering rhythm guitar passage that is accented with lush keyboard highlights. This is a straight away progressive metal track that most metal listeners will be able to adapt to. Tom’s vocal matches the chord progressions in the rhythm section to really place a emphasis with that part of the track. There are some very mature and soulful guitar solo’s within this track as well. The time signature interchange is very spot on towards the objective. Lyrically it is a story of temporary lifestyle events.
Someday begins with a dark passage as if a army are brooding down on their opposition. The rhythm section is very heavy handed with quality of depth and maturity. The vocals once again play up more towards that rhythmic section than the stringed section. The vocals have a depth of warmth to them that really invite the attention of the listener. There is a break around the 2:30 mark that showcases the lead guitar as a instrument that works towards a simulated vocal that matches up to the main sung vocal. The guitar solo’s really tighten up about now showcasing the bands vision for the album.
Astray is definitely one of the more heavier tracks on the album. It explodes with a fierce and heavy rhythm section compounded with a shredding string section. The keyboards accent certain points and highlights within the heavy frenzy. The rhythm section walks the fine line towards a thrash metal section with progressive elements. Once again the band really pays attention to detail with the vocal harmonies as well as the well engineered guitar solo’s.
The Impossible starts out with a dark haunting piano passage with a warm vocal passage to keep the listener anchored into the album. There is a hint of the presence of a violin in here that continues to showcase the bands maturity and depth. This is the track that really sounds like the more diverse track of some of the album. I would not call it a ballad although it carries some of the qualities that a ballad would.
My Allied Ocean definitely opens up into a progressive thrash metal frenzy. A fierce and blistering one at that. I mean the rhythm section is heavily brooding and totally relentless. If that band does not have the attention of the listener yet, I believe they do now with My Allied Ocean. This track takes both right channel and left channel in the sensibility of the listener and puts it front and center in the theater of the mind of the listener. The dark content of the lyrical half certainly is a perfect compliment to the relentless instrumental half of the track.
In Orbit (Featuring – Floor Jansen) is the first of two tracks that feature current Nightwish and ReVamp vocalist Floor Jansen. It is also the first time since Ayeron’s 010110010 in 2008, that Floor Jansen and Tom Englund appeared on anything together. This one opens up with a very dark symphonic core with the appearance of a female chant in the background either provided by keyboard or Floor Jansen herself. Floor Jansen adds a very beautiful feminine side to this track while maintaining to integrity of the distinct Evergrey sound. I really like how the band wove both progressive and dark symphonic metal together for this track.
The Lonely Monarch is probably the more pop friendly track on The Storm Within. It opens up with a passage that is very easy to listen to. This track display’s Evergrey’s ability to appeal to a larger and more objective audience. This track is very melodic metal based by nature with the keyboards allowed more room to breathe and be displayed. It also carries great guitar solo’s with hook after hook. The verse, bridge and chorus are all on a more melodic backdrop than a progressive one on The Lonely Monarch.
The Paradox Of The Flame (Featuring Carina Englund) is perhaps the best and most profound love letter I have heard in the last 30 years I have been into progressive metal. The masculine and feminine parts really cut to the core of the listener. This begins with a beautiful piano passage that soon is picked up by the very warm side of the lead vocals. It really catches fire when Carina Englund enters in with her feminine vocal quality that gives this track a two tier sound in one track. Her voice is as warm as Tom Englund’s. This is a progressive masterpiece in of itself because this is rarely done in the industry at this level of excellence. This one really took me by total surprise. The violin really makes this a dark romantic tale at the highest levels.
Disconnect (Featuring – Floor Jansen) obviously marks Floor Jansen’s second vocal appearance on the album. This one really opens up with a blistering heavy handed rhythm section with the vocal range really extended. Floor Jansen presents a wonderful and tasteful operatic chant in the backdrop of the blistering frenzy in the intro. This is certainly one of the heavier tracks on the album much like Astray and Passing Through. Floor Jansen also is like a one woman choir with how the band engineered and arranged this track. The solo has a epic quality about it as well. At the 4:10 mark manipulates the audio senses into hearing two tracks into one with the brilliant engineering done to it.
The Storm Within the self titled track of the album begins with a classically based intro due to the great rhythm section work at the very beginning. This is also arranged very well as the closer on the the album. With The Storm Within as a track you get a little bit every element presented in the ten previous tracks on the album. This is like a audio summary of what the listener just experienced allowing for the album as a collective to really settle into the senses of the listener. This is a track about inner self struggle on the lyrical side of it. The vocal harmonies really carry this track to entire different dimension.
After closer inspection this album is perhaps one of the most mature and well written albums I have heard in at least 15 years. Evergrey continue to grow as a band, which is what makes them one of the very top prevailing standards in dark progressive metal. Evergrey continue to show more and more maturity with every album surpassing even some of their peers and even bands before them. Evergrey’s The Storm Within is a rock solid 5/5 and already a Top #10 if not Top #5 of 2016 for me.
Video Courtesy Of : (AFM Records Official YouTube Channel)
Review written by (Robert ‘Uncle Prog’ Brady)