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Evergrey - Hymns For The Broken CD (album) cover

HYMNS FOR THE BROKEN

Evergrey

 

Progressive Metal

3.85 | 98 ratings

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Mebert78
5 stars For my first review, I've decided to write about my favorite release of 2014: Evergrey's Hymns for the Broken. The truth is, this was my first time listening to Evergrey. Sure, I'd heard of the Sweden-based band. I just hadn't listened to them. For whatever reason, they were never recommended by my inner circle of prog pals even though their music bears comparison to acts such as Queensr˙che and Fates Warning. But I finally decided to check them out once and for all after seeing their name pop up a lot recently on the Dream Theater Forums. The new release was getting high praise, and deservedly so. It's fucking fantastic.

As someone approaching Evergrey with fresh ears, I unfortunately can't compare the band's past albums to Hymns for the Broken. But what I can say is this disc has made me a new fan who will certainly purchase those albums. From the record's early moments, you know you're in for something more than just a collection of songs. You're in for a unique journey. The album begins with sounds of war: a helicopter, galloping horses and voices crying out. Then, there's a speaking voice. "We've crowned a king with no soul," it says. "When all doors are closed we walk alone." You can quickly tell these tunes are about an internal struggle -- a battle between happiness and sadness or good and evil -- told through war metaphors. It's a fight we've all experienced at some point in our lives. And Evergrey beautifully unifies us through our common sorrow with their addictive lyrics and riffs.

The first full tune, "King of Errors," was also the disc's first single. Basically, it's an absolute beast of a song. It commences with an instrumental section that reminds me of "Anarchy-X" from Queensr˙che's Operation: Mindcrime. But by the end, it's all Evergrey. Tom Englund's emotional voice shines from the get-go and a scorching guitar solo shows these guys have the technical chops to hold their own against any of today's progressive metal juggernauts. There are no mediocre songs in these 12 tracks. Their rankings all range from 8.5 and 9.5, in my opinion. The record is reminiscent in that way of Queensr˙che's 1990 album Empire, or some of Rush's classic discs. It's a solid effort from start to finish and very well-balanced.

The disc's highlights for me included the inspirational "Barricades," the catchy headbanger "Black Undertow," and the blistering musicianship on "The Fire." The impressive Englund also taps into his inner Michael Bolton on the piano ballad "Missing You," while the entire band melts my face on their culminating epic "The Grand Collapse." In fact, that song is probably my favorite from any group in recent years. Props to guitarist Henrik Danhage, bassist Johan Niemann, drummer Jonas Ekdahl and especially keyboardist Rik Zander.

In closing, I was shocked to learn in interviews that Evergrey considered disbanding prior to writing and recording Hymns for the Broken, because this is clearly a band with a lot left in the tank and a lot left to say. If this disc is any indication of what the future holds for them, then the band's fans are in for a treat in the years (and albums) to come. Bravo, Evergrey!

- Michael R. Ebert (progzombie.blogspot.com)

Mebert78 | 5/5 |

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