I will be happy to admit, right off the bat, that Rags is the bigger, long-standing fan of Swedish power metallers Evergrey. I've heard him extoll the band's virtues for years, in fact, tirelessly carrying their torch in the face of my obliviousness. And true fans no doubt know that after their previous studio album, Glorious Collision, was released the band's future was actually in jeopardy despite some pretty good reviews. So insert "darkest before the dawn" metaphor here as we delve into their latest effort, Hymns For The Broken.
In 2011, singer/guitarist Tom Englund was apparently disenchanted enough with the band - after the much publicized (albeit friendly) departure of guitarist Henrik Danhage, drummer Jonas Ekdahl, and bassist Jari Kainulainen - to consider throwing in the towel altogether. But an unplanned collaboration saw Henrik and Jonas playing with the band once again and realizing that they still enjoyed making music together enough to want to write and record Hymns For The Broken replete with the band's trademark mix of traditional power metal with progressive elements. Balls and Chunk saves the day again!
And it shows on tracks like A New Dawn, with its bouncy piano interlude (2:37), giving way to a powerful solo section. Meanwhile, Archaic Rage amply illustrates Evergrey's ability to bring the heavy (1:15) amidst pensive, more quiet moments, as heard in Black Undertow's powerful (1:40) rhythyms. But for me, it's all about the proggy underbelly that shows itself like a snake slithering behind the grass, revealing just enough of itself to assure you of its presence as in The Grand Collapse's (3:08) Dream Theater-esque time signature interlude. Masterful.
The Bottom Line: Having now reviewed my first Evergrey album, I can see why people get excited for this band. These guys know their metal, and conjure up some melodic, proggy, and just plain bad-ass sounding music for the teeming throngs of metalheads all over the world. Hail Evergrey!
Tracks To Fish Out Your Best All Black Clothes For: A New Dawn, Archaic Rage, Black Undertow and The Grand Collapse
- Genghis is Googling for any possible Evergrey tour dates in Texas...