Release Day Friday and the new Evergrey album “Escape Of The Phoenix” dropped onto streaming services.
The line-up has been stable for almost a decade now and this sense of comradery is coming across in their music. While the subject matter is dark and serious and personal, I get a sense of fun and smiles when they are writing the riffs, like those “hell yeah” moments, when you come up with a good riff or an awesome lead.
Tom Englund is the mainstay, the founder, the vocalist and guitarist. He is one of those unique voices that is instantly recognisable. His vocal phrasing moves between so many different styles. When he needs to rock out, he rocks out. When he needs to be aggressive, he gets aggressive. When he needs to be soulful, he gets a little bit of soul. And the dude can play that guitar at a maestro level.
And he has another maestro in Henrik Danhage as his co-guitarist. A true guitar hero if those words are applicable in 2021. If you don’t believe me, check out his lead break in “Eternal Nocturnal”.
Drummer Jonas Ekdahl lays down a solid foundation, while also contributing more than enough riffs for the songs as co-writer
I follow Evergrey on Twitter and during the recording of the album, they would mention when each stage was completed and then certain members would talk about their sound set up and other things. Bassist Johan Niemann spoke about his bass sound which was cool to see.
Rikard Zander has dramatically increased his scope within the band especially from when “Hymns Of The Broken” came out. Instead of following what other keyboardists do (which is play chords or follow the guitar lead), he’s taken to decorating the songs with sounds that take you places, from barren landscapes, to underground tunnels, to echoe’y’ church scapes and what not. In other words, the keys are unique enough that they are their own beast.
Opener and first pre-release single, “Forever Outsider” showcases the power of the band at its metal best, while second pre-single release “Eternal Nocturnal” showcases the power of the band at its hard rock best with sing-along Choruses and Henrik Danhage stealing the spotlight with his unbelievable, shredalicious and memorable solo spotlight.
“The Beholder” is a melodic metal cut, with the keyboard riff from Zander giving it a dystopian and barren feel. That section from three minutes, when it quietens down and builds back up.
“In Absence Of Sun” is heartfelt, melancholic, mournful and emotive. The piano riff is memorable and it remains with me, long after the song finishes. When the choir voices begin, it gives the track this ominous feeling. But then the band kicks in, and it becomes a different beast. Progressive, but that Chorus, goddamn, it’s so good.
“Escape Of The Phoenix” has a melodic chorus over a ferocious double kick drum pattern. “You From You” has this Michael Schenker like vibe in the intro. It’s a slower song, it cranks and it’s a favourite. They’ve done songs like this on previous albums.
Check it out.
Finally, a rant to their German based label.
Surely it can’t be that hard to post the physical art book/CD I purchased a bit earlier, so it gets to me on release day, even if it arrives a day or two earlier.
But they won’t, because they are scared of piracy and leaks and whatever other phantoms they could come up with, plus there is no way they can get the album to the fans a day or two before the actual release date. What an absurd idea they say.
So the labels punish the real fans.
What the labels seem to forget is the fans support the band, but when it comes to hearing the physical product on release day, it never arrives on time, always after the release day and sometimes weeks later in Australia.
Thank god for streaming services which allow me to listen to it on release day, otherwise if I had to wait for my physical copy to come, it would be another 10 days at best. In relation to buying the album from a record shop in Australia, let’s just say that Evergrey is not that large of a commercial band that stores in Australia would stock.