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Evership - Evership CD (album) cover





4.00 | 203 ratings

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4 stars Late onto the Evership bandwagon, which is not necessarily a bad thing, as I sometimes need a little push to commit to something new. But better late than never, so it was not a difficult decision to finally take, what with all the hoopla going around for this debut release, which took eons to finalize, according to main man, multi- instrumentalist and composer Shane Atkinson from that international progressive rock hot bed of Nashville, Tennessee. Glass Hammer is also from Tennessee, so there must be something in the water'The state is of course a famed music center, albeit not world renown for prog, more like country music. Well it won't be the first time I get shocked by the provenance of our favorite genre, as it's truly a worldwide obsession. I mean Kansas has sort set the path way back when and even in Louisiana, we have Proud Peasant that is quite overtly symphonic, to say the least. Evership certainly dares beyond daring, a courageous plunge into bombastic symphonics that combines the obvious Queen influences or even hints of Meatloaf, highlighting rocket-propelled crunchy guitars and over the top lead vocals that tilt closer to opera and heavy metal, all ensconced within a tight score with fluctuating arrangements and impossible to predict what is next down the pipes. I cannot think of many bands that have tried this route besides Queen and perhaps City Boy, a dash of Boston maybe but this kind of opera-prog rock is quite an earful to behold. All pieces are in the 9-13 minute range, giving the suave arrangements enough room to be properly constructed and hence utterly convincing musically. Lead singer Beau West has those powerful lungs that sustains notes and scours the higher planes with seemingly minimal effort, as clearly expressed on the whopping opener 'Silver Light' , serving as a perfect introduction for the proggier mayhem down the road. Choppy rhythmic power metal riffs shove this puppy along, howling choir work keeping the drums precise and a savage world class vocal that will make any prog fan squirm with envy. Holy cow! Hints of Kashmir in the stringed orchestrations, spitting guitars and tectonic shuffles, yeah, what a mix! . Nice lead axe solo that corkscrews madly and a solo violin whirl that is totally unforeseen.

A prog opus of the finest caliber, 'A Slow Descent into Reality' looks into the troubled human condition and explodes in a suite of 6 parts that grabs the listener by the throat and does not let go. Starting off nice and composed, the mood slowly burgeons like an imminent storm waiting to drench the unprotected. Synthesizers conspiring mightily to overpower the melody, the levels of intensity grow, the choir shoving the arrangement along. As such, hallway through, everything seems to hurtling at breakneck speed, tossing shifting and gritty guitars, colossal waves of insane keyboards (especially the orchestral ones like the mellotron and the rippling organ flash ), a booming bass undertow and some pretty volcanic drumming. This is quite the bruising ride, definitely aggressive and over the top, totally nowhere near ear candy of any kind, quite the opposite, a brittle, sizzling and effervescent fountain of dense sound design and grandiloquent instrumental prowess. This is an insane mother!

'Evermore' shoots for a night at the Opera stylistic, buoyed by that singing guitar lead, the vaudevillesque piano accompaniment and crazed vocals that seem closer to lounge cabaret than the hair metal concert arena. The choir work is multi-layered, the massed guitars punching deep holes into the rhythmic onslaught, which is closer to Led Zep than anything else. But the voice, I mean Mercury Rising from the ashes'.OMG! You would think the Darkness or the Ark have resurrected as a prog band. And there's the rub, as the Brits like to say, Evership is decidedly within the prog environment, more keyboard-driven that any other bands mentioned above.

This becomes very obvious on the enthralling 'Ultima Thule', a serene ballad that really showcases the brilliance of a world class voice and an elusive piano, caressed by bright orchestrations and a rustic acoustic guitar to further the fantasy. As the piece progresses, the resolute power gets boosted by harder rhythm guitar riffs and wilder singing that winks more at Ronnie James Dio or Roger Hodgson than the proverbial Freddy. The final section gets very progressive with loads of clever symphonic touches and unrelenting choir work and a gentle guitar goodbye.

Then we move over to the sensitive 'Flying Machine', a more complex piece that takes time lifting off the ground, engines roaring (the choir voices are splendid) , preferring to travel to more atmospheric realms with loads of sound/voice effects and snippets of strange strained orchestrations. Perhaps by presenting their more obscure side, this sonic essay does wonders as it slays any kind of overt formulaic tendencies. When the song kicks in, Beau's soft voice soothing preciously as the drums pick up the pace and the guitars start their sinuous assault, never falling play to simpleton clich's. This is by far the most restrained piece here, a highly cinematographic glide into the higher echelons of prog creativity.

A delightful and highly entertaining debut that bodes well for the future. Hopefully, Sean has a vault full of more impulsive tunes ,ready to be put onto tape and fed to hungry prog fans. An invigorating addition to my collection and something that could easily seduce the embryonic progressive rock fan into delving further into our genre. Truly impressive, no wonder it has come so highly rated.

4.5 eternal boats

tszirmay | 4/5 |


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