This will be my first EVERGREY album review. Once again, for those of you who STILL don’t know, I lost touch with the Euro metal scene for about a decade and a half, and when I did come back to the fold there were all these bands that people were raving over that I didn’t have a clue as to who they were. Well, I’ve spent the better part of the last year rekindling my love of some while discovering some new ones altogether, which is the category EVERGREY and new album Hymns For the Broken (out now, AFM Records) fits into. The first thing I couldn’t help but notice was the atmospheric quality and sense of melancholy in all the songs. Not slagging by any means, just making an observation. Band leader and guitarist/vocalist Tom S. Englund often sounds pained and anguished which helps to sell these songs.
Compositions like “King of Errors” and “A New Dawn” have a harder edge with dark-sounding sharp riffs and then yielding to more of an uplifting chorus while “Archaic Rage” sounds first like it’s going the Melodic/AOR route then slips into brooding territory. “Barricades” utilizes the electronics to damn near perfection along with a guitar line and tone that can ONLY be described as sexy as fuck! And if you’re looking for the perfect song to sit at the window on a rainy day and watch the drops fall then “Black Undertow” IS that perfect choice. Haunting and beautiful, best way to describe it. So is “The Fire” but it’s more of a crushing rocker. And the kids on it are rather unsettling, but I liked it (don’t tell anyone; I’m not a fan of kids!). There’s a real chug to the guitars that I dug, too.
One of the finer moments on the album comes with the title track. The guitar work is damn near flawless, Englund’s delivery is fantastic, and the whole package is executed with precision. And you wanna talk about guitar solos? Jeezus! “Missing You” made me do just that; miss those I’ve lost over the years. A simple piano and an emotionally draining hook stirred up memories that made me both happy and sad. A pair of epics finishes off the album in stellar fashion. First, “The Grand Collapse” pulls out all the progressive metal stops as it slowly marches forward for nearly eight minutes. At the 5:30 mark the dark riffs put you on their back and carry you off to some unseen place. “The Aftermath” is a continuation of that ride, whisking us away on the waters of reflection, to contemplate the emotionally searing journey we’ve just been on for the past hour.
We all have demons. We all carry things with us that hurt so bad and so good. Hymns For the Broken is an album that will maybe just maybe help some of us come to terms with them, or at the very least provide some relief and hope. Or a much-needed cry at times. Suffice to say my first EVERGREY experience will not be my last.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “A New Dawn”, “the Grand Collapse”, “Hymns For the Broken”, “The Fire”, “Barricades”, “Missing you”