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EVERSHIP II

Evership

Neo-Prog


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5 stars Leap of Faith- Majesty, Melody, Magic

Sophomore Slump?

Absolutely not.

Here we have a stunning followup to their eponymous debut release.

Simply titled "II" (I guess roman numerals add gravitas!), this is an album that bears repeated attention.

Less a "band" effort, more of Shane/ Beau

On "II", for better or worse, it comes across very much as a showcase for the deep talents of the mastermind Shane Atkinson, and the expressive, elastic voice of Beau West.

Personally, I have an abiding respect for band efforts, and generally believe these pay unseen dividends due to multiple perspectives and diverse personalities making their contributions to the over-all effort.

At the same time, it's difficult to coordinate three to four or more lives/schedules/ideas/needs, and that's probably why precious few bands stay intact too long.

In this case though, the level of talent, creativity, and expression is simply too profound for that band chemistry to be a significant factor. Plus, there are certainly repeat musicians on this disc, so it's not like these are strangers who parachute in, lay down some tracks, and disappear into the gloom.

Concept?

Shane was kind enough to supply lyrics to these songs, and if there's a thread, I'd call it "the rather insignificant human confronting a rather enormous universe."

So, not really a concept album. However, one can "read" something of the composer's intent through the album art, lyrics, and of course the music itself.

The Serious Room

The opening track immediately establishes the kind of intense song-focus that for me distinguishes EVERSHIP from many other progressive bands. Vibes and lovely vocals. Melodies that implant themselves. Instrumental majesty, grandeur, and depth, changing at times into something gentler and more intimate.

Lyrically, it depicts a Very Important Person...who proves to be a wistful wannabe.

Monomyth

The tune begins starkly and builds, using some lovely choral touches including some Latin words as a chant. There is grandeur again, and again that ear-catching change-up.

"Monomyth", I learned, is another way to say "The Hero's Journey", and in this one, the "ordinary" person must confront the crisis that calls out for action, and in the process, he/she is transformed.

Real or Imagined

Such a gentle vocal/acoustic guitar passage, then some sweet synth runs leading to wistful and melancholy guitar. Beau provides some amazing vocal acrobatics in this one.

In this case, the lyrics suggested an introvert who finds meaning and purpose from books/ideas/music...and therein lies the conundrum since "real" people need love as well.

Wanderer

More heart-tugging vocal magic after the majestic opening passage, with lyrics presenting the perspective of a child's optimism being challenged by adult struggles, beautifully reflected in the music.

Pice De Rsistance (actual song title "Isle of the Broken Tree")

Here's the show-stopping finale- the 28 minute-and-then-some epic album closer, weaving together the tale of a black- hearted villain forced to confront himself in the most stark manner imaginable...and making the fateful choice of a "Leap of Faith".

I thought of the power of Tal Bachman's vocal work, as well as Procol Harum's live album with Edmonton Symphony Orchestra- with the sweeping loveliness of the music accompanied by the orchestra and choir.

Obviously I have NO sway over Shane and musical friends, but it would be unforgettable and amazing to see and hear this final epic performed with orchestra, choir, and EVERSHIP.

Musically it runs an astonishing range of styles and moods, from bluesy guitar and stark vocal work, to lush, grandiose symphonic power.

My rating: 5 out of 5 Majestic, Melodic, Magical Monuments

Originally posted on my blog, progressiverockfanatics.wordpress.com

Report this review (#2046550)
Posted Sunday, October 21, 2018 | Review Permalink
5 stars As much as I love the debut album I was a little concerned waiting for this release ? until I heard it?..

One would never guess that this is a sophomore effort ? it does not suffer from the 2nd album curse in the least. I absolutely love this album. It has an urgency that may, in part, be from how much shorter time Shane (Atkinson) had to put this effort together. II, however, has a great deal of continuity to the eponymous first album and a flow that will keep you listening all the way throughout.

Evership II opens with the song Serious Room and what an opening! A fully dramatic song that showcases the talents of this band. Recorded (in part) at RoSfest in 2017, the song begins gently lulling you in with Beau's (West) voice seductively calling. The music soothes you into a dreamy place and then builds in intensity with each line. By mid-song you will find it hard to stay in your chair! Everything about this song is why I love Prog.

Monomyth opens with the rhythm section setting an intensity that sets the stage for the song and our hero's awakening. About 3 min into the song we get the change as the music becomes mellow moving into a new awakening. One almost feels that a full orchestration will happen at any minute as our hero seems to be going through a transformation ? then acoustic guitar ?> "Hope Will Arise" -> the rhythm section awakens us into a battle sequence and conclusion. The more I listen to this song the more I love it.

The next two songs are, perhaps more rock than Prog.

Real or Imagined opens as a lovely acoustic ballad and becomes a straight on rocker ala some of the great 70's bands with some great guitar. Lyrically this one hits a little close to home ? not quite as spot on as Flying Machine from the first album did, but still awfully close.

Wanderer is a sweet, beautiful dreamy song ? just what is needed at this point of the album. Especially for what comes next??..

Isle of the Broken Tree is a continuation of Ultima Thule from the first album. This part of the story finds our hero as he is thrown from his ship as it goes over the edge of the world. What ensues (lyrically) is a wonderful conclusion to the story. What arises (musically) is a fantastic musical composition of arguably epic proportions. After all, this is Prog. For me to continue to pontificate about the virtues of this song would be a true waste of my time and yours, dear reader. It is symphonic (perhaps neo) prog at its finest.

In closing, do yourself a favor. Buy this album in what ever form you enjoy your music. You shall not be disappointed.

Report this review (#2084281)
Posted Friday, December 7, 2018 | Review Permalink
VianaProghead
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Review N 407

Evership is an American progressive rock band which is based in Nashville, Tennessee. Evership is a created project of the composer and multi-instrumentalist Shane Atkinson. Many of Evership's songs were written long before the project began. Some were between five and ten years old. The band had already enough material for some more albums. After choosing the material for their debut album, Evership ended up to release their eponymous debut studio album in 2016.

In recent years we have seen resurgence of the classic progressive sounds of the 70's, in many acts around the world. Almost all those acts drink their influences in the classic bands of the 70's. Evership started their journey from another angle. For them, it's more the prog of US rock scene that proves their base, Kansas, Styx, Boston and, of course, many British acts, like early Queen. But, what is most interesting in Evership's music is that they don't simply sound like they are trying to recapture the essence of that era, but they somehow manage to sound like they actually are from that era.

After the release of their eponymous debut studio album, the band was invited to perform at the prestigious 2017 Rite Of Spring (RoSFest), the progressive rock festival in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. But, the beginning of life of Evership wasn't easy. Evership made a very long journey to be able to make their debut album. It took ten years in the making of it. But luckily, the band managed to release the successor of their 2016 album "Evership" in a much shorter time frame. What took ten years for the first album, took only ten months for the second. The album was simply called "Evership II".

So, "Evership II" is the second studio album of Evership and was released in 2018. The line up on the album is Beau West (lead vocals), James Atkinson (lead guitars), John Rose (lead, rhythm, classical and slide guitars), Shane Atkinson (vocals, keyboards, drums and percussion) and Ben Young (bass and Chapman stick).

The majority of Evership's material fits roughly into the time span of between eight to twelve minutes, which seems an appropriate length to develop their stories and musical themes. There are two main reasons that make the band hit their target on "Evership II", which are great performances and razor sharp song writing. The voice of West takes you deep into a kind of Steve Walsh. He's expressive, soaring, fragile, yet bold and capable of whisking you off to other lands at a chorus's notice. Flanked by the keyboards, drums, percussion and occasional vocals of the man who creates the music, on one side, and the fulcrum's brother, James on guitar on the other, the trio make a formidable force and one that is never over exposed. For unlike a lot of "modern" prog, the aim here isn't to dazzle and impress, it's to engage and excite. That means play music, know where the space should be and never overstep the mark into the leniency. A mark that the 70's prog artists seemed be able to live by in a way that many of those who have followed them couldn't.

"Evership II" has five tracks. The first track "The Serious Room", as I mentioned above, was taken from the RosFest prog festival of Gettysburg in 2017. It can be compared to the opener of their debut, "Silver Light". It's somber and moody. West's voice is powerful and expressive, and I particularly love the orchestral swells that compliment the solos as the song finishes out. The second track "Monomyth" is the first highlight on the album. It's a more driving number, a diverse piece of music with melodic lines over epic chords. Musically speaking the track includes both delicate moments and parts that are working towards nice climaxes. The third track "Real Or Imagined" is a great musical journey with an ephemeral acoustic intro, a midsection reminiscent of Rush, and a final section with big and strong melodies and a refrain that will be stuck in your head for weeks. The fourth track "Wanderer" is the introspective path that winds and curves to prepare you for the massive album's closer, "Isle Of The Broken Tree", which is a continuation of the track "Ultima Thule" from their previous debut album. The fifth track "Isle Of The Broken Tree" is the magnum opus of the album. It covers so much musical ground that it goes from rock to blues to prog, somehow managing to keep your attention with hooks and jams, without repeating itself. The build is slow, patient and rewarding, really. The Boston/Kansas hybrid that they create is utterly compelling. This is an excellent track to close this amazing prog work.

Conclusion: Evership have produced another thoroughly entertaining outing. It's epic in scope and showing all the virtuosity at their disposal, without being self-conscious. "Evership II" is one of those albums that just keeps revealing itself with every listen, and is a perfect worthy follow up to their debut. Each time I listen to the album, a new chorus gets stuck in my head, or a new section stands out to me. The two albums together cover such a wide range of musical and emotional ground that they act very well as complimentary albums. Evership is definitely a band to keep your eyes open to them. Evership isn't so well known, but they deserve to be, and this second outing only cement their growing reputation. This band deserves a bigger fan base and more attention for her beautiful music. It's highly recommended.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Report this review (#2502489)
Posted Friday, February 5, 2021 | Review Permalink

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