Evergrey - The Storm Within
AFM Records
Dark Progressive Metal
11 songs (58'23")
Release year: 2016
Evergrey, AFM Records
Reviewed by Alex
Major event

It is in my character to remain a loyal fan once I become one. I never bailed out on my favorite sports teams, even when they scraped bottom. I stood by those who I call my friends in thick and thin. And, yes, it pertains to my metal preferences as well. There are a few bands I never abandoned, continuing to buy their albums even if a few of them ended up being stumbles.

Swedish Evergrey is one such band. You can’t really check it, but I own every album in their discography, wrote a few reviews here for the site, got a chance to do an interview with Tom Englund, and witnessed them at a show here in the US, where I spoke to bandmembers in person. I would not have to tell you that a last few years were not totally kind to Evergrey. Tom Englund can tell you that himself. Life was not all roses for the band, and somewhere along the path of losing his way, Tom almost lost his crew. Monday Morning Apocalypse left me baffled, Torn brought the vigor back a bit, but felt overwrought. I was politely gritting my teeth on Glorious Collision, and elected to not say anything about Hymns for the Broken. So when the news came that Evergrey is back, in full force, and releasing their 10th full-length album I felt unease. I am sure it was important for the Swedes to deliver, but, metal gods are my witnesses, I needed them to resurrect themselves even more.

Cold keys introduced Distance and I held my breath. Song after song the tension relaxed and after listening to the album for more than a couple of weeks now I know that Evergrey I fell in love with is back. The Swedes should apply (and receive) a patent for dark progressive riffs, deepest bottom end, penetrating melodies and heart rending voice floating above it all. Distance, Someday, Astray, My Allied Ocean, you can say that many and all songs on The Storm Within fit this mold. You can also claim that this is the recipe Evergrey followed for years, but on this album I could feel it how the compositions stirred me completely, left me shaken and moved, just like old days. At the same time, laying one devastating riff after another (Someday, Astray, My Allied Ocean), there is no busy pile up in this mix. There is room to breathe, for me to fully enter, locate my bearings and enjoy the songs. There is no hurry or unneeded anxiety here, but confident and masterful delivery of dark progressive metal. At the same time Evergrey can still rock out and enjoy themselves (Passing Through), before delving back into darker moods and more tragic angles (Someday), their magic chug on that song reminding me ostensibly of The Corey Curse from Solitude Dominance Tragedy. When the opening riff distresses, wandering melody borders on hope, providing the whole composition with cinematic quality (Astray). Yet, when Evergrey wants to remain heavy and downtuned they do so, delivering the heaviest song they have done in years, or maybe ever, on My Allied Ocean. The energy, tearing, bounces off the walls and just overflows the edges of the proverbial cup.

Evergrey relaxes somewhat towards the latter half of The Storm Within, or so I felt, but by then my fix for dark metal was administered and I simply continued with the flow. In Orbit is a lighter fare compared to something like My Allied Ocean, and definitely has some commercial appeal, something no doubt Tom Englund had in mind when executing a duet with Nightwish Floor Jensen on this cut. Both singers elevate each other, and the word has it that it was Tom’s wife Carina who suggested Evergrey invite Floor to sing on the album. Carina herself makes an appearance on The Paradox of the Flame, that song feeling much more romantic and heartfelt to me than In Orbit. There is ebullient The Lonely Monarch, another dose of machine gun riffing on Disconnect, almost Nevermore like, and the triumphant title track closer, where the Swedes sound as if they know how good of a job they managed to pull off.

The album exudes confidence, evidenced in extensive soloing on just about every track, which sounds always on point and never overextended. There is space travel elegy The Impossible, a trademark of the band by now, just dark piano and Tom’s voice. There is children’s choir on Distance, which does not sound gimmicky at all. There is heaviness and melodicism, together in the thoughtful delightful package, and almost always at the peak. Tom Englund said that Evergrey always delivered what they thought were their best at that particular moment. I am so glad to report that September 2016 particular moment of Evergrey career sees them at one of the best levels they have ever attained. Honestly, when the press line was promising the “strongest album by the band ever”, I allowed myself to remain skeptical. Not sure about “ever”, but The Storm Within is a very good album if you enjoyed Evergrey in the past.

Killing Songs :
Distance, Someday, The Impossible, My Allied Ocean, The Paradox of the Flame, The Storm Within
Alex quoted 92 / 100
Other albums by Evergrey that we have reviewed:
Evergrey - Hymn For The Broken reviewed by Joel and quoted 94 / 100
Evergrey - Glorious Collision reviewed by Alex and quoted 80 / 100
Evergrey - Torn reviewed by Alex and quoted 90 / 100
Evergrey - The Dark Discovery reviewed by Ben and quoted 80 / 100
Evergrey - Monday Morning Apocalypse reviewed by Alex and quoted 80 / 100
To see all 10 reviews click here
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