I’m a huge fan of EVERGREY, but to be completely honest, it wasn’t always that way. I didn’t really become a fanboy until Monday Morning Apocalypse came out in 2006 – they were just a little too prog for me up until then, but I loved the more straightforward, dark and brooding feeling in that album, and I’ve been hooked ever since. Luckily for me, The Storm Within (out September 9 on AFM Records) continues the musical stylings of the last decade of the band and is extremely accessible, even to the very casual progressive metal fans like myself.
This album is a beautifully crafted and worthy successor to the band’s 2014 release, Hymns For the Broken – if you enjoyed that disc, you’re going to love The Storm Within. The lyrics are deep and thoughtful, and the music itself is always serious and thoughtful, fitting perfectly with the concept of each song and within its place on the album. For example, “The Impossible” is a gorgeous slow ballad and may be my favorite track on the entire album, yet it fits perfectly between the intense bluesy “Astray” and the hard driving greatness of “My Allied Ocean”.
Tom Englund’s vocals are as deep and rich as always, and his guitar work (along with that of Henrik Danhage) is amazing – by this time, I expect both to be awesome on any EVERGREY album, and I was not disappointed in the least on this one. Rikard Zander’s synth playing is gorgeous, and his performance really stands out when he has room to shine on “The Impossible” and “The Paradox of the Flame”.
Guest appearances are held to a minimum – Floor Jansen (NIGHTWISH) provides some great vocals in a duet with Tom on “In Orbit” that really fleshes out the song (and what an ending!), and Tom’s wife Carina contributes vocals on “The Paradox of the Flame”, with both tracks becoming instant favorites as a result.
This one is a definite day one purchase – there’s something here for everyone, and I really can’t imagine many progressive or power metal fans that would not enjoy this disc. I will definitely be picking up a physical copy at ProgPower USA this week and taking the opportunity to thank Tom and the guys in person for releasing another great album.
STANDOUT TRACKS: ALL OF THEM