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EVERGREY

Progressive Metal • Sweden


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Evergrey biography
Founded in Gothenburg, Sweden in 1995

The mind child of Thomas ENGLUND (vocals, guitar) when he got together with Dan BRONELL (guitars) to write material for a debut album before recruiting Daniel NOJD (bass, backing vocals), Patrick CARLSSON (drums), and Will CHANDRA (keyboards). Although "The Dark Discovery" was written in 1996, difficulties in finding a label meant it wasn't released until 1998, on local label 'Gothenburg Noiseworks', with modest production quality. By this time, much of the material for the follow up had been written; resulting in both albums being released within a little over a year. Both "The Dark Discovery" and the sophomore "Solitude + Dominance + Tragedy" (1999) enabled EVERGREY to blaze their own trail as a melodically inclined dark progressive metal band, juxtaposing heavy, crunching riffs from the twin guitar and bass attack, with delicate moments of tender vocal reflection, wrapped up in the KING DIAMOND inspired, tortured and angst-ridden persona of talented frontman, ENGLUND. Although neither release could be described as having a concept, the track themes, often centring around loss, betrayal, paranoia and emotional pain, were harbingers of things to come, as EVERGREY forged their image and identity.

Despite the encouraging reception their 2nd release received, the band all but imploded in the aftermath. CHANDRA had left prior to the recording of "Solitude", his studio duties having been taken up by Zach STEPHENS. He was now followed by Daniel NOJD who was replaced on bass by Michael HAKANSSON, while Sven KARLSSON took over the vacant keyboard slot. Finally, Dan BRONELL called it a day, making way for Henrik DANHAGE on guitars, leaving only ENGLUND and drummer Patrick CARLSSON from the original line-up, amid questions over whether they would continue and if so, would the band be the same? The answer for most critics would be the affirmative, with EVERGREY heading into a three album purple patch during the first part of the decade.

Their third album, "In Search Of Truth" (2001), was notable for being the band's first full-blown concept, themed around paranoia, alien possession and abduction. Produced by KING DIAMOND guitarist Andy LAROCQUE (who also guests on slide guitar on the album), their sound undoubtedly matured, aided by the contributions toward both the song writing and arrangements which KARLSSON & DANHAGE in particular brought to the table. Musically, EVERGREY benefitted from an inspired pow...
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EVERGREY discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

EVERGREY top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.10 | 68 ratings
The Dark Discovery
1998
3.50 | 89 ratings
Solitude - Dominance - Tragedy
1999
4.07 | 196 ratings
In Search of Truth
2001
3.51 | 140 ratings
Recreation Day
2003
3.84 | 184 ratings
The Inner Circle
2004
2.82 | 94 ratings
Monday Morning Apocalypse
2006
2.74 | 72 ratings
Torn
2008
2.99 | 65 ratings
Glorious Collision
2011
3.85 | 100 ratings
Hymns For The Broken
2014
3.85 | 37 ratings
The Storm Within
2016
3.76 | 80 ratings
The Atlantic
2019
3.46 | 41 ratings
Escape of the Phoenix
2021
4.14 | 9 ratings
A Heartless Portrait (The Orphean Testament)
2022

EVERGREY Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.85 | 33 ratings
A Night To Remember
2005
4.50 | 2 ratings
Live: Before the Aftermath
2022

EVERGREY Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.14 | 25 ratings
A Night to Remember - Live 2004
2005

EVERGREY Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.13 | 9 ratings
A Decade And A Half
2011

EVERGREY Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.50 | 4 ratings
I'm Sorry
2003
2.00 | 2 ratings
Monday Morning Apocalypse
2006

EVERGREY Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 A Heartless Portrait (The Orphean Testament) by EVERGREY album cover Studio Album, 2022
4.14 | 9 ratings

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A Heartless Portrait (The Orphean Testament)
Evergrey Progressive Metal

Review by lukretio

3 stars With Escape of the Phoenix still hot off the press, dark metal maestros Evergrey are set to release a new full-length album, their 13th to date, on May 20th via Napalm Records. The writing of A Heartless Portrait (The Orphean Testament) started almost immediately after the release of Escape of the Phoenix, with the same line-up comprised of singer/guitarist Tom S Englund, guitarist Henrik Danhage, keyboard player Rikard Zander, drummer Jonas Ekdahl, and bass player Johan Niemann. Inevitably, the new album inhabits similar sonic territories as the previous one, to the point that in interviews frontman Tom S Englund jokingly referred to it as "Escape of the Phoenix Part II". But if you are worried that the record's 10 songs may just be leftover material from the Phoenix sessions, let me reassure you: although the two records share similar strengths and weaknesses, on balance A Heartless Portrait is even stronger than its predecessor.

Once a herald of dark progressive/power metal, over the years Evergrey have gradually morphed their sound into a highly developed form of modern metal, rich as much in melody as in heart-breaking melancholia. Nevertheless, the band's prog metal heritage is still lurking there somewhere in the Swedes' musical brains, and it helps them sidestep the cardinal sin of many modern melodic metal albums: an excess of emphasis on vocal melodies at the expense of musical substance. Evergrey combine the big, soaring melodies and simple song structures of the genre with a satisfying barrage of muscular riffs, sophisticated arrangements, and virtuoso leads and solos, which allow the music to be much more than mere background for the vocals. In a handful of tracks, the riffs and arrangements get really exciting, like the intricate guitar lines of "The Great Unwashed", or the brilliant solo duels between Englund, Danhage and Zander on the title-track.

The high dosage of solos is probably one of the most striking and engaging aspects of this record. In nearly all songs, Englund and Danhage take turns to provide beautifully melodic and suitably virtuoso guitar leads, with Rikard Zander interjecting a few trailblazing keyboard solos in a couple of tracks too. It's a nice touch that wasn't perhaps so much prominent in Escape of the Phoenix and that brings me back to the "classic" ol' metal sound of yesteryears. For the rest, most of the spotlights are on Englund's beautiful and emotive vocal performance. The man has one of the most distinctive and instantly recognizable voices in metal: gravelly and powerful, yet warm, passionate and full of yearning. He is a spectacular singer, who can transform each melody into a heart-rending masterpiece.

The album contains several strong tracks, fuelled by inspired songwriting and excellent melodies. In fact, I am prepared to go out on a limb and say that some of the songs included here are among the best Evergrey have written throughout their whole career. The title-track is a muscular tour de force that takes heads on the listener with one of the heaviest episodes of the record, before softening into a beautiful middle-8 that paves the way for a fantastic trio of solos by Englund, Danhage and Zander. "The Great Unwashed" features a great, proggy riff and a strong chorus, while "Blindfolded" is a dark and brooding piece that creates a stark contrast with the serene, semi-acoustic album closer, "Wildfires". You may have noticed that most of the songs I mentioned so far appear in the album's second half. The first half also contains some good tracks (good luck in getting the chorus of "Call out the Dark" out of your head), but is somewhat weaker and less explosive than the second-half. Tracks like "Save Me", "Midwinter Calls" and "Ominous" are in all respects decent and pleasant, but they sound a tad too generic and fail to stand out as much as other songs here. The same goes for "Reawakening" and "Heartless", two tracks that veer dangerously close to the filler status.

This alternation between first-rate and second-rate songs is a frustrating feature of many recent Evergrey's albums, and this one is no exception. Fortunately, the scale here is definitely tipped in favour of the better tracks, which is why I think A Heartless Portrait is a stronger album than its predecessor. However, looking at the bigger picture and putting the album in the context of Evergrey's discography, I must say that A Heartless Portrait does not add much to the previous 3 or 4 releases by the band. This is Evergrey doing what they do best, without changing much their sound or taking any risks. When the music is as good as this, it's hard to complain. Nevertheless, I am left slightly underwhelmed by this album, because I always look forward to being challenged by the music I listen to, especially when it comes from one of my favourite bands that I have been following for over 20 years now.

Ultimately, I suspect that how much you will like this record probably depends on how much you are bothered by listening to slight variations of the same musical formula album after album. If that is something that bothers you a great deal, subtract half star to my rating. If that does not concern you, add a full star. Regardless of the final score, A Heartless Portrait remains a top quality product from one of the most talented bands out there. In a market oversaturated with thousands of mediocre new releases, this cannot be but a highly recommended listen.

[Edited from original written for The Metal Observer]

 A Heartless Portrait (The Orphean Testament) by EVERGREY album cover Studio Album, 2022
4.14 | 9 ratings

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A Heartless Portrait (The Orphean Testament)
Evergrey Progressive Metal

Review by Second Life Syndrome
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Originally written for theprogmind.com

What I'm going to say here should surprise no one: I love the new Evergrey album. In all honesty, I hate giving out "10/10" ratings, as I base my ratings on various factors, one of which is my trusty gut. And my gut tells me, without a doubt and practically from my very first listen, that A Heartless Portrait (The Orphean Testament) will go down as one of Evergrey's greatest records. The album releases on May 20th through Napalm Records.

Sweden's Evergrey, in my view, are the unsung heroes of a more emotional type of metal. They've been making music since 1995, and have journeyed through various eras in their sound. Well, the band has recently signed with Napalm Records, and so a new era begins here. In my view, Napalm is the best possible place for them. The lineup is unchanged from the last few records, being Tom S. Englund on vocals and guitars, Henrik Danhage on guitars, Rikard Zander on keyboards, Johan Niemann on bass, and Jonas Ekdahl on drums.

The band is finding themselves inside what some might call a renaissance of their own sound. The last few records, in my opinion, are almost unparalleled in their entire career. In fact, I named 2021's Escape of the Phoenix my "album of the year" a few short months ago. It's almost surreal that they are back again so soon. Typically, that would concern me, as there are few bands that can release albums back to back, at least without adding filler or without losing some passion along the way. Evergrey, though, has perhaps more passion than ever, it seems. How does a band achieve this almost 30 years into their existence?

I have listened to A Heartless Portrait at least 25 times since the promo dropped into my inbox a month ago. I have scrutinized. I have criticized. I'm rather cynical by nature, and so I needed to be convinced. Not only does this album hold up to anything the band has created, I can detect subtle changes in the band's approach, in how they want to express themselves. There is more playfulness and teamwork in tone, but also complexity and difficulty in the level of music. They take the "Orphean" part of the title seriously, taking us on a winding odyssey through a personal underworld in entrancing and melodious fashion.

On the surface, this album represents Evergrey's sound well. It has the dark emotional content, the fantastic twin guitar attack, piercing and melodramatic keys, and a rip-roaring rhythm section. The melodies are haunting and little spacey, and the songs are well-written and tightly guided by veteran minds and hands. But I feel a change in the band's energy and vocal delivery, and maybe even in the way their vocal melodies are composed. Tom has been working with his side project Silent Skies, which features his purely emotional vocals up against piano work, and that stripped down setting has apparently awakened something within Tom. His vocals here are perhaps the best he's every provided for Evergrey, with far more elongated notes, creative twists, and complicated harmonies than ever before. It feels potent and fresh to my ears, especially considering that this band is my favorite metal band ever. How can a band turning 30 years old soon still create such awe for me?

I'll admit that this is the album I needed right now. After a tough couple of months mentally, hearing a new Evergrey album has awakened me from that proverbial slumber. There are certain songs on the album, too, that already feel part of my very soul. It started with the first single, "Save Us", a grand and almost spiritual experience. My kids even took to the song. Soon, we received "Midwinter Calls", a song with more reservation and subtlety in its veins, but also with a knockout of a vocal hook that I absolutely love. Finally, "Blindfolded" arrived, and the kinetic energy within its chorus and music video is enough to whisk anyone away to deeper worlds.

Those three songs aren't even the best on the album, though. I would point to "Ominous" and "The Great Unwashed" as my favorites. After hearing "Ominous" a few times, I had to message Tom (something I don't typically do because I try to respect a musician's space). Anyways, I told him that the song is a "brilliant, weird, and addictive" song, and I still feel that way. He replied that it is "absolutely his favorite" from the new record. Seems I was on to something. The rhythms are completely outside the box, the hypnotic background voice at one point reminds me of something from Recreation Day, and the song feels like trying to find your footing on the cusp of something that will change your life forever. At its core, though, "Ominous" is a hyper-melodic, expressive song, one that uses all these elements to feel limitless and deeply personal. Every time I hear it, I still can't believe how good it is.

"The Great Unwashed" took more time for me, but I can't get enough of it now. This song always makes me feel free, almost unchained at heart. I love the smooth-as-butter chorus, the spellbinding guitar work, and the inherent drama of it all. It feels spacey and cosmic to some degree, as well.

I love every single song, though. I really like "Call Out the Dark" for its powerful confidence. It follows the crazy "Ominous" with a tight and catchy melody that only this band could write. I love the heavy and haunted "The Orphean Testament", the energetic "Reawakening", and the emotional space of "Heartless". That last one has such a gorgeous atmosphere and one of my favorite choruses on the record. Finally, the one and only ballad is the closer, "Wildfires". No one does ballads like Evergrey, and this doesn't disappoint. There is a cavernous well of emotion here, like spreading fire literally and metaphysically. This song, to my ears, could easily have been on the recent Silent Skies record, it has that level of beauty and tender expression.

Maybe I'm just an Evergrey fanboy, but I'm definitely unashamed of that fact. Evergrey has never made a weak album for me, and A Heartless Portrait is simply more striking and commanding evidence that they are the best metal band in the world. I'm not afraid to say that. How can a band almost thirty years old still hook me with such fervent reflection and inspiring presence?

 Escape of the Phoenix by EVERGREY album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.46 | 41 ratings

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Escape of the Phoenix
Evergrey Progressive Metal

Review by eduardico21

3 stars This is my first time listening to an Evergrey album, so I don't really know how it fits in their discography. I discovered the band because I'm a big fan of Ayreon, and Englund has been one of the many invited vocalists on their albums, but I didn't listem to them at the moment. Indeed, it was a short time ago when by chance they popped on my Spotify, with the song "Eternal Nocturnal".

I really liked that song so I decided to listen to the album whole. And well, this may not be a masterpiece by any means, but I've had a fun time over the 9-10 times I've listened to it. The best thing the band has to offer are the vocals by Englund, who doesn't have super high pitched capabilities nor a crazy range of octaves, but delivers a solid and emotional performance on every song. The best ones for me are "Forever Outsider", "Where August Mourns", "Eternal Nocturnal" (the three of them being the most fast-paced of the bunch) and my favourite, the highly melancholic "Run". "The Beholder" is not among my favs as a whole but I love the middle section with James Labrie as a guest.

However, there are some drawbacks to the album too, as it tends a little too much on repetitive patterns. The structures are not interisting at all, and although the songs have interesting melodic ideas they don't surprise you at all, being very predictable. There are so many ballads/slow-paced songs for my liking too. On the other part, the guitar riffs and solos are very nice, reminding me of a more simple version of Dream Theater, but nothing really breathtaking either.

In conclusion, I believe Escape From the Phoenix to be a good album. However, i would have shortened the tracklist a bit removing the weaker songs ("Stories", "In the Absence of Sun"), and a little more variation in songwriting with different takes on structures would have benefited it. But in the end, I've had a fun time with it and I'm willing to take a bigger dive in their career.

 Escape of the Phoenix by EVERGREY album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.46 | 41 ratings

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Escape of the Phoenix
Evergrey Progressive Metal

Review by lukretio

3 stars The Swedish masters of dark and melancholic progressive power metal have returned this year with their 12th full-length album in a discography that spans four decades. Driven by the charismatic voice of Tom S Englund, Evergrey developed their unique sound very early on in their discography, with 2001's In Search of Truth representing a monumental career highlight that still shines bright today. From then on, the Swedish combo has continued to hone their sound, incorporating subtle electronic influences and modern metal vibes, without ever abandoning the signature elements that have defined their music so far: chugging guitars that churn out a myriad of groovy, down-tuned riffs; pounding drumwork that is rich with offbeat fills and flourishes; delicate keyboard and piano interjections creating dramatic contrasts with the guitars and rhythm section; and Englund's unique voice - dark and gruffy but yet incredibly melodic and emotional.

Escape of the Phoenix does not stray too far from the usual formula the band have been following in the past few records. The songs are perhaps even slightly heavier than what Evergrey have used us to in recent years, with a couple of djenty interjections ("Where August Mourn") and a good dose of dark metallic vibes that suggest Evergrey have been paying close attention to the latest sonic evolutions of moody progressive metal bands like Katatonia ("Forever Outsider", "The Beholder"). There are also clear references to modern metal, with not too subtle electronic undertones and catchy vocal melodies that frequently veer towards poppy territories ("Where August Mourn").

The combination of heavy and soft elements make the album feel varied and dynamic. This characteristic is further reinforced by the diversity of the tracklist, which alternates soft melancholic ballads ("In the Absence of Sun"; "You from You"), majestic mid-tempos ("Where August Mourn"; "Run"), faster pieces ("Eternal Nocturnal), and more complex, progressive epics ("The Beholder", featuring a cameo by James LaBrie from Dream Theater). The musicians' performances are strong throughout (with a handful of very tasteful guitar solos), and together with the simple, lean song structure ensure that the album flows away fairly easily despite its long duration of nearly one hour.

Despite these strengths, Escape of the Phoenix is not an album that adds much to Evergrey's rich discography. There are a couple of songs that stand above average and might just make the cut for a "best of" album ("In the Absence of Sun", "The Beholder"; "Leaden Saints"). The rest, however, feel very unadventurous and almost written on auto-pilot. There is nothing egregiously bad, but also nothing that will make you jump out of your chair and scream hallelujah. A handful of tracks ("A Dandelion Cipher"; "Eternal Nocturnal"; the title-track ) are slightly disappointing to me, in that they seem to feature a somewhat lazy songwriting, relying excessively on Englund's voice to carry the song through with big dramatic melodies, while offering very little in the way of instrumental accompaniment (plenty of chugging background guitars, pounding drums and opulent string arrangements, but no exciting riffs or remarkable instrumental moment). But this is also how a lot of modern metal sound like (big on vocal melodies, small on pretty much everything else), so it may please fans that lean towards that particular genre.

To sum up, Escape of the Phoenix is a good, if fairly unremarkable, Evergrey album. If you are new to Evergrey, this is not the place to start as the band have written much stronger albums over their career (for instance, In Search of Truth or Recreation Day). If you are already familiar with the band's sound, this album won't change much the way you feel about it. There are some subtle new influences woven in into their sound, pushing the album in modern metal territory, but nothing that changes significantly Evergrey's overall musical direction. It's pretty much more of the same, which may be a good or bad thing depending on your inclination towards the special blend of dark, melancholic progressive power metal Evergrey have been churning out for nearly 25 years now.

 The Dark Discovery by EVERGREY album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.10 | 68 ratings

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The Dark Discovery
Evergrey Progressive Metal

Review by lukretio

2 stars Evergrey's debut album is a rather mixed affair. It already contains the blueprint of the distinctive sound the band will develop to amazing results in the course of their career, showing that Evergrey were unafraid to try and carve their own way in a scene ? that of progressive metal - that at the time was overcrowded with dozens of bands all sounding like clones of Dream Theater. However, one also has the definite impression that Evergrey did not quite yet know what to do with their newly-found sound: the songwriting is rather aimless and uninspired and the delivery seems rushed and underdeveloped. To make things worse, the production is atrocious: even for the standards of the time, the album sounds pretty bad and amateurish. As I said, quite a mixed affair.

Evergrey are the kings of despair. All their albums are brooding, dark, melancholic beasts and The Dark Discovery is no exception. The band's sound is rooted in classic heavy metal (Iron Maiden, King Diamond, Savatage), but Evergrey brings in a lot of more contemporaneous influences, from US power/ thrash metal (Iced Earth come to mind), to symphonic and prog metal, and even gothic metal (for example, in the use of female vocals and choirs). The prog metal ambitions are also evident in the complexity of the compositions, with songs that are typically 4 to 5 minutes long and are occasionally weaved together by recurring themes, forming mini-suites in the classic progressive rock tradition ("As Light Is Our Darkness"; "Beyond Salvation"). However, the most distinctive element of Evergrey's sound is without doubt Tom S. Englund's voice. His vocal delivery ? here as in all subsequent albums of the band ? is unique. The typical male prog metal singer, especially at the time, is known for his high-pitched and cleanly aseptic vocals. Englund's delivery lies at the opposite end of the spectrum. His tone is dark and his voice is husky. Yet, his vocals are incredibly melodious, setting him apart from the heavier thrash metal canon where gravelly voices like Englund's are more common. Englund's singing is passionate and dramatic: he is one of those singers who seem to live on their skin the lyrics they sing. To this day, there are not many vocalists that sound like Englund, he is one of a kind and is widely recognized as such in the scene.

Although "The Dark Discovery" contains all the right ingredients to make for an interesting ride, it ultimately falls flat. There are two main reasons for this. First, the album mostly contains weak and forgettable material. Quite simply, the eleven songs of "The Dark Discovery" are not very good. I chalk this down largely to the band's inexperience. The songwriting feels directionless and underdeveloped. Most of the songs build and build, but do not really seem to go anywhere and they lack the melodic hooks to leave a lasting impression on the listener. Evergrey attempt to inject some dynamics in the songs, alternating quiet and heavy parts throughout the album, but in most cases the transitions are not very smooth and come across as rushed. The arrangements are also quite weak. For instance, the keyboard parts do not seem to really fit in with the rest of the music and in most songs they feel out of place. Patrick Carlsson's drum work is impressive, but his intricate drumming does not always gel well with the guitar and bass, which are instead quite basic and pedestrian. This is another issue I have with the album: neither Englund nor Dan Bronell strike me as very proficient guitar players. Their riffage is average and samey, which really bogs down most of the material of the album. The guitar solos also do not sound particularly inspired. The performances of guest musicians Andy LaRocque (King Diamond) and Mattias Ia Eklundh (Freak Kitchen), who provide solos on "Closed Eyes" and "When the River Calls", are far superior and make you wonder how much better this album could have been if Evergrey had a slightly more proficient guitar player in their rooster.

The second reason why I think the album does not really work is the sound production that is really poor even for 1990s standards. It is actually quite surprising that this is the case, given that the LP was recorded and mixed at Los Angered Recordings studios by Andy LaRocque, who will end up producing quite a few top-notch albums in his career. Yet, The Dark Discovery really sounds terrible. The guitars are murky and mushy to the point that, whatever riff Englund and Bronell manage to come up with, it all ends up sounding the same. Even Englund's vocals suffer from the rather poor mix by LaRocque, which makes the singer barely audible at times. That the mix is quite poor is also clear from the fact that the drums, keyboards and guitars do not really gel well in any of the songs.

Overall, The Dark Discovery is really only an album for completionists. It contains mostly weak material that is badly produced and has not aged well at all. Yet, this is where the Evergrey magic started, so the album remains archaeologically interesting for those who are curious to track down the roots of the sound that brought Evergrey to fame. And that sound is all already here ? dark, gloomy and dramatic, Evergrey have been sounding like Evergrey since the very beginning.

[Also published on metal-archives.com]

 Solitude - Dominance - Tragedy by EVERGREY album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.50 | 89 ratings

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Solitude - Dominance - Tragedy
Evergrey Progressive Metal

Review by lukretio

3 stars The sophomore album of Swedish dark prog metallers Evergrey is a massive improvement over their uncertain debut album, The Dark Discovery. Released only one year after that album, Solitude, Dominance, Tragedy follows closely in the footsteps of its predecessor, but manages to fix many of the pitfalls that had plagued that album. It showcases a more assured songwriting, more nuanced arrangements and also a better production. Moreover, although not all material on Solitude, Dominance, Tragedy stood the test of time, the album contains a couple of early classic Evergrey masterpieces ("Solitude Within", "Nosferatu") that remain among the best material the band have written to date.

Evergrey's line-up on this record is essentially the same as the one that had recorded the debut album, minus keyboard player Will Chandra who is here replaced by a session musician, Zachary Stephens. This effectively makes Evergrey a quartet, comprised of singer/ guitarist Tom S. Englund, guitarist Dan Bronell, drummer Patrick Carlsson and bassist Daniel Nojd. The band continue to propose what had already characterized their debut album: a dark, melancholic blend of progressive metal that takes inspiration in equal parts from classic heavy metal (Iron Maiden, King Diamond, Savatage), power metal, and thrash. The band enrichens this basic sound with gothic and symphonic undercurrents through the use of solemn choirs, haunting female vocals (provided by Englund's then partner Carina Kjellberg), harp and violin interludes, and lush orchestral arrangements. It's a rich and thick sonic tapestry that offers a slightly different take on the standard progressive metal sound, one that is gloomier and more dramatic, with less emphasis on technical proficiency and more attention to melody and emotions. Singer Tom Englund plays a big part in this, his melancholic and dramatic vocal delivery being one of the standout aspects of Evergrey's music. This more visceral and emotional form of prog metal is a welcome change of direction for the scene, especially given how a lot of the prog metal that was coming out at the time used to sound so aseptic, lifeless and emotionally detached - the exact opposite of how the Swedish quartet sound here.

The songrwriting on Solitude? has clearly improved compared to the debut LP. Songs like "Solitude Within" and "Nosferatu" are very convincing. They are structurally complex, containing multiple sections and rich arrangements, but at the same time they feature strong melodic hooks that have a lasting impression on the listener and make the tracks instantly likeable and memorable. Unfortunately, not all tracks on the album reach this level of quality. In fact, after this opening pair of songs, there is a sensible dip in the quality of the record, and a fair share of what comes in the middle of Solitude? sounds drearily similar to the weaker material that had appeared on The Dark Discovery. Tracks like "A Scattered Me", "She Speaks to the Dead" and "Damnation" are uninspired and directionless, resulting overall forgettable. This is not unusual for Evergrey, whose albums often contain a mixed bag of strong and weak material. On Solitude? the share is probably slightly tilted towards the weaker material, which is why I cannot really rate this album higher. The album closes strongly, though. "When Darkness Falls" is a powerful and dramatic piece with a good chorus, while the ballad "Words Mean Nothing" is a welcome change of pace and features some excellent vocals by Englund. Closing track "The Carey Curse" is another strong piece, bringing to the fore the prog/power metal influences of the band and reminding me of Iced Earth.

One issue that had plagued Evergrey's debut was the sound production. Things have improved on Solitude?, although not yet to a point where I can say that the album sounds good, even considering the time when it was produced. The sound is too dark and murky, with lots of emphasis on the bass tones. This may fit the overall gloomy tone of the album material, but at the same time makes the music feel colourless and dull. My guess is that producer Andy LaRocque (King Diamond) was trying to emphasize the dark, brooding nature of Evergrey's music, but he overdid it. I also dislike the mix of the album. Englund's vocals sound muddled and sit too far back in the mix, and so do the drums. Moreover, the keyboard arrangements are still not well integrated with the rest of the music. At times, it almost feels like the keyboard parts were added ex-post, once the rest of the music had been arranged and recorded.

Nevertheless, Solitude, Dominance, Tragedy is a convincing sophomore album for Evergrey. If with The Dark Discovery the band had surprised the prog metal community with its dark, melancholic blend of prog metal that certainly stood out relative to the rest of the scene, on Solitude? Evergrey show that they start to have ideas of what to actually do with that sound. The songwriting has matured and shows a sense of purpose and direction, even if only in about half of the songs of the album. The delivery and production are also more assured. Overall, the album is a definite step-up relative to the band's debut record and it shows that Evergrey are getting ready for their big breakthrough album that will come in 2001, when the band released their masterpiece In Search of Truth.

[Also published on metal-archives.com]

 Escape of the Phoenix by EVERGREY album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.46 | 41 ratings

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Escape of the Phoenix
Evergrey Progressive Metal

Review by ssmarcus

4 stars In all honesty, it would be difficult to attempt and try to add anything to the analysis of this record that has not already been expertly argued by Angry Metal Guy's Steel Druhm in his recent review (can't seem to leave a URL in the text here, so just google it). Starting with his concerns regarding the expected post-lockdown explosion of new music and Evergrey continuing to push their unique but repetitive brand of ""mope-core,"" the writer ultimately comes to the conclusion that, on Escape of the Phoenix, Evergrey actually manages to tighten their song writing and put together an improvement on their formula.

With all that mind, I simply wish to add that if there is any artist I genuinely want to hear in our still healing almost post-lockdown world, Evergrey is certainly one of them. Of the legacy prog metal giants, Everygrey really was the only one that could consistently tap into the melancholy and angst many of us felt as a teenagers growing up in the early 'oughts. As COVID catapults us as adults back into the same sea of emotions, I am grateful to have a strong Evergrey record to help us steer through it.

It is worth mentioning that I strongly disagree with Steel Druhm's take on James Labrie's duet with Tom Enguld on ""The Beholder."" The harmonies the duo generate in the bridge are absolutely gut wrenching. While it is short lived, it constitutes one of the emotional climaxes of the record.

Escape is a record that has fewer moments of prog-greatness when compared to 2019's The Atlantic. But overall, its hard not see this as a stronger and tighter record than its predecessor. When Fans eventually evaluate the band's legacy, I believe it will be Escape that stands up as the strongest record from this phase in the band's discography. "

 The Atlantic by EVERGREY album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.76 | 80 ratings

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The Atlantic
Evergrey Progressive Metal

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars I'm not sure, but I think the last Evergrey album I heard prior to this one was 'Monday Morning Apocalypse', which came out in 2006, but apart from bassist Johan Niemann the line-up is exactly the same as it was back then. Tom S. Englund provides vocals and guitars, and he is joined by Henrik Danhage (guitars), Rikard Zander (keyboards) and Jonas Ekdahl (drums). Back in 2004, when reviewing 'The Inner Circle' I said, 'They are more to the metal end of the prog metal genre than their contemporaries, and the result is a type of music that is extremely loud and heavy while maintaining the melody and invention of the genre.' In very many ways that is still true today, except there are passages when they show they can hit into ballads when the time is right.

They are a very heavy band, with harmony vocals, loads of commercial hooks and a production which takes off the rough edges without ever losing the majesty of the performance. They have a huge sound, and one can imagine Devin Townsend being involved with production, as they convey images of Muse with Opeth yet still hitting mainstream hooks and sounds. Unlike certain bands from their hometown of Gothenburg, they continue to delight, and show no sign at all of moving away from their determined path. I do regret missing out on the last four studio albums, and if they are nearly as good as this, I see I have some investment to undertake. Twenty years on, Everygrey are still delivering the progtastic metallic goods.

 The Atlantic by EVERGREY album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.76 | 80 ratings

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The Atlantic
Evergrey Progressive Metal

Review by TCat
Forum & Site Admin Group Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

4 stars The band's name is Evergrey and the music is pure Progressive Metal. This band has been around since 1996 and have released their 11th album in January 2019 called "The Atlantic". This album finishes a trilogy of albums that were ocean themed. Their last three albums have been top notch progressive metal with a strong sense of melody, smart lyrics and strong and solid metal which can only be considered metal. I remember hearing this band many years ago, probably around their beginnings and thought it was awful, but obviously, the band has done a lot of growing in the last several years. The founder and lead singer Tom S. Englund has cleaned up his vocals and really made some top quality and mature progressive metal. Also, they have brought their keyboards to the front of the mix, and even though they still play their hard and heavy dark riffs with lots of bass, their melodies are much more melodic, and Tom's clean vocals are excellent and full of emotion.

Right from the beginning, you will be blasted with heavy dark metal, the kind with complex rhythms and blistering riffs. But, if that is too much for you, keep with it because you will be surprised about the depth and melody of this music as it continues. "A Secret Arc" will blow you away, but don't worry because it doesn't end there. This album reeks of quality progressive metal and complexity, along the lines of Opeth, but not sounding like them much at all. There are also nice harmonics, like in the track "A Secret Atlantis" which also has a solo in it that will have you air shredding. Then there is the melancholic guitar solo at the end of "Currents" that will convince you that metal can be beautiful too. Another high point is "Departure" that has a lovely piano and acoustic section that sounds perfectly at home among the louder tracks.

Apparently, the studio the band was working in got broken into and all of the music that was being prepared for this album was stolen. The band had to start almost from square 1, but according to Englund, it turned out to be a good thing because if that didn't happen, this album would have been completely different. Who knows what it would have sounded like, but what you get here is pretty amazing. Anyone who tells you that metal can't be melodic and heavy at the same time will be proven wrong with this album. This album is definitely a front runner for Progressive and Emotional Melodic Metal for this year. Not quite a masterpiece, but it is very close to it.

 In Search of Truth by EVERGREY album cover Studio Album, 2001
4.07 | 196 ratings

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In Search of Truth
Evergrey Progressive Metal

Review by Kingsnake

5 stars I don't what happened in the two years between their last album and this album, but for me this exactly what a metalalbum should sounds like: angry, gritty, emotional and versatile.

There's thrash-riffing and soloiing, progressive elements, great atmosferic synths, soulful vocals, lots of breakdowns and uptempo parts.

The production is much, much better, although the toms of the drums sound like cardboard boxes, but overall the guitars, bass, cymbals, vocals, synths are mixed so tight I'm not going to complain about the toms.

The songs have better structures (more pop-oriented) and sound like actual songs, with hooklines, chorusses, verses etc. The style of the music is still progressive metal, with gothic, industrial and thrash influences. In the softer parts there are even some gothpop and neoprog influences.

Of course the main attraction is leadvocalis Tom Englund, who doesn't sound like a Danzig-clone anymore. He has more grit, more soul, more anger. Several years later Machine Head had their comeback with a similar approach to metal, but Flynn could never get close to the vocal abilities of Tom Englund.

Highly, highly recommended. But if you don't like metal and guitarriffs and doublebass-acrobatics, maybe this is not your cup-of-tea.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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