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Everwood - The Ravens Nest CD (album) cover

THE RAVENS NEST

Everwood

 

Progressive Metal

3.39 | 8 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

ProgHead2007
4 stars The Hungarian progressive metal band Everwood has a bright future.

No, make that an exceptionally bright future.

On The Raven's Nest (TRN), their second studio release, Everwood continues to exhibit rare musical inspiration. The 15 songs on TRN are well-recorded, masterfully executed, and genuinely engaging. Most importantly for me, Everwood has a firm grasp on melody. So even though their songs can be guitar-driven heavy a la Dream Theater or Symphony X, they aren't afraid to tone down things and tug at the heartstrings using delicate solo piano or synths a la Marillion circa Misplaced Childhood.

In other words, Everwood strikes a refreshing balance between poignancy and an all-out head-banging metal onslaught.

Balazs "Balu" Koncz has a remarkable voice, boasting plenty of power and range -- with just a hint of an accent. Sure, if I listen hard enough for it, I can hear his Hungarian origins. But Balu sings, clearly, with passion and genuineness. There are some American-born singers who enunciate less well than Balu, I can assure you.

Guitarist Ferenc Farkas, keyboarist Attila Tanczer, and bassist Viktor Erdos create a lush musical landscape that draws me in while drummer Tamas Szabo propels it all forward -- breathlessly when need be, restrained and careful when a deft touch is required. It's obvious he's a gifted percussionist, but he doesn't need to double-time his way through the entire album to prove it.

And that's the key to understanding Everwood.

These guys are not your typical prog metal musicians. When you pop TRN into your CD player, don't expect to hear Mercenary, Nevermore, Dark Tranquillity, Into Eternity, Cellador, or DragonForce. This isn't wall-of-sound metal played at breakneck speed with vocals that scream more often than not. There's a place in the world for such music. I happen to like those bands. But Everwood isn't in that category. And, for that, I'm thankful.

Why? Because, for me, music that stands the test of time is that which I can play repeatedly, and in which I can hear something different each time. There are gaps in the songs into which my mind can fall like Alice down the rabbit hole. I love music that elicits reverie. In short, the music transcends time, sounding as fresh now as it did when it was recorded over three decades ago. Groups that have released music of that caliber are Yes, and the early recordings of Kansas, Rush, Genesis, King Crimson, and ELP. Three key elements regarding music from those bands are superb musicianship, a keen sense of melody, and songs with varying textures, nuances of light and dark.

Everwood's music offers that, and a whole lot more.

TRN kicks off with "Pure Awakenings," a short, pretty, keyboard-driven musical interlude that morphs into a clever, breezy, Latin-tinged ditty that gives way to "Another World," a guitar monster that also features swirling keyboard flourishes and soaring vocals. It's a one-two punch that perfectly opens the new Everwood album.

And it only gets better from there.

Track Four ("Like a Miracle") is one of my favorites. This song has it all -- a solid melody, uplifting lyrics, power chords, outstanding keyboard work, and Balu's powerful voice. (Tasty solo from guitarist Ferenc Farkas, too.)

It's hard to say which musician stands out more on TRN. For fans who enjoy the sound of piano and keyboard, there's plenty on TRN to love. For people who gotta have the roar of a guitar, there's that in abundance here, as well. Everwood is a nugget of gold in a musical landscape that offers less of real value with each passing year. These guys have true talent, and it shows.

The Raven's Nest is nearly 70 minutes of musical elegance, with enough of everything to keep fans of all stripe content. I've heard this album probably a dozen times, and I still hear each song with fresh ears, finding something new with each listen.

What more can you ask of a band?

I wholeheartedly recommend Everwood's latest release, The Raven's Nest.

ProgHead2007 | 4/5 |

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