Evergrey are Tom Englund on vocals and guitars, Rikard Zander manning the keys, Johan Nieman on bass, Henrik Danhage strumming guitars along with Jonas Ekdahl crushing it on drums. The band have always been unique in their delivery as Zander, Nieman and Danhage all contribute backing vocals which build up to moving choruses that have become a calling card and adds depth to each track. Evergrey are held in pretty high regard as being one of the best prog-metal groups in history. With blockbuster releases like 2003’s ‘Recreation Day’ and the following year’s ‘The Inner Circle’, they’ve managed to ascend above the average bands, gaining major respect within the industry.
Having said all of that, it kills me to say this, but ‘The Storm Within’ just comes across as very average. Overall, we have very good lyrics that have meaning and Englund continues to amaze with a wide range with booming vocals; however, the songwriting, guitars and presentation of a majority this offering all laid out never really build up to anything special. For any other band this would be above average and a nice listen for those looking for something new to check out; however, for Evergrey, this comes off as less inspired and a tad bit lazy with their track record.
Now, don’t get me wrong, there are some very strong tracks within ‘The Storm Within’. ‘Passing Through’ is the first song that really shows off Evergrey’s legendary abilities with signature riffs, epic vocals and fantastic progression from intro to the end. Excellent mix of keys and original riffs that really feel complete! ‘My Allied Ocean’ instantly kicks you in the ears with a flurry of speed. A welcome change to the prior three tracks that nearly put me to sleep. I like everything about this track with really great pacing and exciting vocals and crushing guitars! YES!! ‘In Orbit’ has moments of excellence, with a guest singer, Nightwish’s Floor Jansen, to change things up a bit. A nice track with a powerful chorus. ‘Disconnect’ has some very nice crunchy edge to it that stands out from the rest of the album, while still offering a very familiar chorus. It also delivers fantastic transitions from speed to surrounding moods.
Outside of this small sampling, the rest of the release feels flat with no true ambition or offering anything original. ‘Distance’ starts off things with a very interesting wave of nu-metal style guitars that awkwardly shift into a classic “Evergrey” style chorus. It’s a good way to give us a taste of what’s to come, sure. ‘Someday’ feels kind of whiney and kind of just fillerish. ‘Astray’ is actually a fairly good track, but I feel like it’s just on the verge of being excellent rather than being ‘good’. It has moments that truly draw you in and they drop the ball with run-of-the-mill progressions. ‘The Impossible’ and ‘The Paradox of the Flame’ are two ballad tracks too many. Lacking anything really. I guess they could be considered enhancement tracks? ‘The Lonely Monarch’ starts off strong and feels like it is building to something spectacular but never really goes anywhere. Then we finish with the title track, which sadly feels like more of the same.
In the 20 years of Evergrey that we have been fortunate to experience, 2016’s ‘The Storm Within’ falls somewhere in the middle, as an average release.
THE STORM WITHIN
Review by Joshua Jaeger
9th Sept 2016
2) Passing Through
5) The Impossible
6) My Allied Ocean
7) In Orbit
8) The Lonely Monarch
9) The Paradox of the Flame
11) The Storm Within
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"...for Evergrey, this comes off as less inspired and a tad bit lazy with their track record."