Evergrey - The Storm Within - (9/10)
Published on September 15, 2016
After the somewhat disappointing trio of Monday Morning Apocalypse, Torn and Glorious Collision, Swedish Evergrey managed to get back on track with 2014’s Hymns for the Broken, which also saw guitarist Henrik Danhage and drummer Jonas Ekdahl return to the fold (coincidence?), so fans waited with bated breath for the arrival of the band’s tenth studio album The Storm Within. And it continues where the previous effort had left off and ramped it all up a notch.
The Swedes have successfully managed to incorporate a modern guitar sound into their characteristic style without breaking it and thus avoiding the new album being seen too much of a throwback to the likes of In Search of Truth, but giving it a more contemporary touch, which is very evident in opener “Distance”, where the very modern riffing almost seems like a deterrent at first, but once it is amalgamated with the band’s innate dark take on progressive and power metal, it turns into more of an asset than one would originally have thought.
Evergrey’s biggest strength still lies in their ability to create this dense, dark atmosphere that is almost palpable and Tom Englund’s unique voice does its bit to make this album unmistakeable Evergrey once more. And it is this intensity that really elevates songs such as “Passing Through”, “Astray” or the excellent “The Lonely Monarch” that successfully puts softer and heavier passages together into one of the most dynamic cuts of the album, again crowned by Englund’s powerful performance, which is matched by Nightwish’s Floor Janssen, who enters a duet on catchy “In Orbit”.
The intense atmosphere especially comes through when the band reduces the tempo and heaviness and “The Impossible” takes on this absolutely haunting quality, while “The Paradox of the Flame” (with Carina Englund) and the great closing title track show a mellower, yet no less intense side of the band. On the other hand there also is the polar opposite on offer on The Storm Within, with dynamic and heavy “Disconnect” and especially “My Allied Ocean” that is the maybe heaviest song Evergrey have penned to day, with thunderous guitars, fat double-bass and very well embedded keyboards.
All in all The Storm Within has turned out to be an outstanding album, another one in Evergrey’s already rich back catalogue littered with great releases. Very few bands manage to match the dark and intense atmosphere that comes so easily to the Swedes, while they also know how to keep things heavy enough not to deter the fans of their more grittier stuff. The band’s quest for world domination is back on track, the domination of year-end lists should just be around the corner.