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Evership - The Uncrowned King - Act 2 CD (album) cover





3.93 | 36 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
4 stars Uncharacteristic for me i'm reviewing the second part of a rock opera without ever hearing the first. In fact i've never listened to a single album from the Nashville, TN based EVERSHIP but with the band's second installment of the musical interpretation of the 1910 novella from Harold Bell Wright, i was intrigued enough to explore this band starting with this latest 2022 release titled THE UNCROWNED KING ACT 2.

Brought to us by the multi-instrumentalist and main impetus for the entire band project, Shane Atkinson, he is joined by the outstanding vocalist Beau West on par with some of the greats of the neo-prog world such as IQ's Peter Nicholls or Arena's Rob Sowden. Also on board is the doubly guitar whammy of JameS Atkinson and John Rose along with bassist Ben Young. Atkinson himself handles the keys, drums, percussion and backing vocals.

This ambitious double album set epically narrates the the story of twin princes who forsake the silver spoon lifestyle of their exuberant kingdom to visit a beautiful royal city afar that they fall in love with. The brothers decide to remain and forsake their royal standing but the news of their father, the king's death compels them to leave their newly discovered homestead and return to the kingdom of their origin.

"Act 1" leaves off with the princes receiving the message of their father's death and ACT 2 begins with the second born rushing back in order to reclaim the throne as a solo act without the rightful heir, the first born. This is an interesting premise for a musical journey and it goes without saying that inspiration in progressive rock from fully developed novellas is much more compelling than some cockamamie half-baked tale made up by a band that feels compelled to make a concept album without developing the narrative beyond the basic outline.

Although the lyrical content is sophisticated and poetic in nature, it's the strong musical compositions that win me over the most. This is some extremely competent symphonic prog / neo-prog with diverse musical motifs that range from the atmospheric opener "The Voice Of The Night" to the more energetic tracks like "Coronation." The music suits the storyline quite well as it's densely complex without losing that instantly accessible pop-hook quality of the neo-prog universe. Ultimately it's the musicians who weave a tight mix of musical motifs that offer an excellent album's worth of quality symphonic prog. Equally retro and modern the balance of these two aspects is nicely accomplished.

Sure this is basically a neo-prog album like so many others but for me EVERSHIP perfectly nails the sound which suits the subject matter well. For me to enjoy a neo-prog album the artist at hand simply must have a competent vocalist who can handle a diverse roster of styles and a range that suits the magnanimity of the music. EVERSHIP pulls that off quite well and reminds me a bit of a more folk-infused Kansas at times during the faster rock oriented moments especially in the keyboard department with feisty yet fitting playing. Likewise the ambient parts and atmospheres are perfectly suited to the appropriate moments as well.

Probably a wise thing to make this a two album saga as the modern attention span is weary of overlong albums. This one at about 58 minutes is perfect and although typical neo-prog of the IQ / Arena / Pendragon ilk, EVERSHIP is competent and clever enough to add enough nuances that make this album sound all their own. You better believe i'll be backtracking and exploring the band's other three albums as this one hit me in all the right ways. While taking the neo-prog / symphonic prog paradigm to the next mind-bending reality, EVERSHIP delivers a compelling tale backed up by extremely satisfying musical accompaniments.

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |


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