Everdying - The Journey Ahead - (8/10)
Published on April 14, 2014
Johnny Dove has been involved with a bunch of Chicago area metal bands in his day, most notably Rellik, Cardiac Arrest and Withering Soul, but apparently he felt the need to start his own solo project in 2002. Rather than allowing others to impede upon his artistic vision, Johnny Dove created Everdying, a project in which he does everything. Everything. Everdying released December’s Rainy Day in 2009, which was an EP containing six tracks of blackened melodic death metal. Johnny’s sophomore release, The Journey Ahead, was released in March of 2014 and, once again, continues the trend with six tracks of blackened melodic death metal.
Johnny Dove sent out a little narrative along the promo for The Journey Ahead where he describes Everdying’s sound as an “eight stringed bastard child of pre-Clayman In Flames, God Dethroned, Dark Tranquillity and Hypocrisy” which would put you into the mind of any number of heavy hitting Gothenburg-tinged melodic death metal albums. Indeed, there is a very Swedish sound to most of The Journey Ahead. You might also be thinking, “Wait, there’s an eight string guitar, there has to be djent, lol!!!11”, but you’re wrong. Sure, there are some unnaturally deep points during those nostalgic Gothenburg chugs, but same melodic patterns and arpeggios are present. So you see you, djent-heads, you are allowed to use more than the top two strings and this is proof.
While Mr. Dove shows his appreciation for good old Gothenburg melodic death metal, his music also exposes a more blackened side with a few faster trem picked sections, like during “Quondam Echoes”, and also during a few vocal segments which show a snarled raspy delivery. A lot of the music here has that melodic yet powerful vibe of essential albums like Whoracle and Slaughter of the Sun. Sure, those albums have been done and done to death, but Everdying plays the style with staunch conviction and technical proficiency. “I Will End You”, somewhat cliché lyrics aside, is the heaviest track on the album, with a galloping death metal rhythm with blasting drums which leads to a caveman styled stomping breakdown (the only thing close to a break down on the EP, mind you) which leads into a thrashy section of triplets with deep, barked vocals. Melodic death metal is one of those genres that you really can’t just squeeze by without a good grasp on arpeggios and scales, and Johnny Dove showcases his chops throughout, especially on the EP’s title track with its impressive shredding section. While the heavy hitting, aggressive At the Gates styled melodic death metal is the order of the day, I find myself most enthralled by the acoustic guitars and serene string work during “Arizona Rain”, which is captivating amidst the heavier sections. To finish everything, and to further cement the influences, Everdying finishes off the EP with a solid cover of the classic In Flames track “Worlds Within the Margin”, which is spot on, with a deeper guitar tuning and gruffer vocals.
If you’re into melodic death metal, you can’t really go wrong with Everdying’s sophomore effort. It’s offered for free on several different sites, so you can just make your way to the band’s official webpage and go from there. It’s a solid homage to Swedish melodic death metal and the deeper chugging riffs actually give the music a slightly different approach to the same old thing. Props to Johnny Dove for doing all of this solo; you’re hard work is appreciated on this end.