I think it’s probably a fair bet that you know a bit about EVERGREY. They are not only one of the premiere Prog/Power/Heavy bands out there right now, but they’re also on the most important Prog/Power/Heavy bands since they’re debut album in 1998. Tom Englund is certainly one of the most extraordinarily expressive and soulful vocalists in Metal no matter the style. “The Inner Circle,” their last album, was one of my top five of 2004.
Then there’s “Monday Morning Apocalypse.” I’ll just put a disclaimer here—this review will probably sound more negative than my actual viewpoint.
“Monday Morning Apocalypse” is a good example of a double standard. If another band had produced this album, I may have enjoyed it more, but knowing what EVERGREY is capable of I can’t help but being a little disappointed. What we have here is an excellent band that just doesn’t seem to be challenging itself, instead putting material into some formula to produce by-the-numbers songs. As it is, this by-the-numbers still produces good songs, but I often feel like I’m listening to the weakest material off of “In Search Of The Truth” made to fill a whole album.
But hey, bland EVERGREY is still better than a lot of other bands’ doing their best.
Some songs, particularly the title track and lead single, are also decidedly more accessible or mainstream than anything in EVERGREY’s past. In part that’s due to the production—which I’ll get to in a second—but they’re also increasing the Heavy part of their sound, rocking out a bit more. I’m sure some people will charge them with selling out, but I have to say that’s really not necessary. My issue with this simplifying of the music is that it takes away the memorable and emotional qualities from previous releases.
As I intimated above, I’m not a fan of the production on “Monday Morning Apocalypse.” A lot of parts are thinner than they need be, while others are heavier than sounds right. If this is a commentary on our expectations as listeners (which I doubt), it’s not helping the music any. If anything, it makes everything seem less immediate, less important and therefore have less impact than previous albums. Only Tom Englund’s voice seems unaffected by this curious production, as he still soars, harmonizes and pleads as we’ve come to expect.
If the band that released this album weren’t EVERGREY, the comments would probably be more positive sounding. As it is, “Monday Morning Apocalypse” isn’t a bad album, but it also won’t set the world on fire the way their last three have. Fans should hear it, but know there’s a chance you’ll be disappointed. I’m not unhappy, but right now I’m looking forward to the next album rather than repeatedly playing “Monday Morning Apocalypse.” (Online April 13, 2006)