‘The Storm Within’
(AFM Records)

Whenever word of a new Evergrey release is announced, it’s always a glorious day in my world. Evergrey rank among my favorite bands of all time, meaning a new record is always welcomed. This new release, The Storm Within, is no exception. It’s their tenth record and the band is out to prove that they’re still very relevant to the music game.

The record opens with the moody but heavy, “Distance” which finds the band in top form. It’s a haunting song with great dynamics carried by Tom Englund’s vocals.  The second song is even better and possibly my favorite on the record. “Passing Through” is the type of song that the band has built their career on. Heavy guitars, a flawless rhythm section, and keyboards that absolutely take the song over the top. If you can listen to this song and not find yourself  ‘air-guitaring’ along, then you should check your pulse.

Third track, “Someday“, is another moody rocker with superb drumming, courtesy of Jonas Ekdahl. The production on this track is brilliantly done with a panning effect that make it incredible. “Astray” is a big, heavy song that again showcases how tight Evergrey are as a band. These guys are completely on point and know how to wring every emotion out of you during a tune.

The Impossible” is a slower, piano based tune where Englund really put his vocals on display. It’s a change of pace that really showcases how great of a musician keyboardist Rickard Zander is. “My Allied Ocean” comes next and is possibly the heaviest tune on the record with the rhythm section really kicking here. Guitarist Henrik Danhage really shines on the solo on this track. It’s a ripper of a tune that will definitely have you headbanging along.

In Orbit” features a guest appearance from Nightwish vocalist Floor Jansen. It’s an inspired idea that really works. Floor and Tom sound perfect together, bringing the song to a whole new level. “The Lonely Monarch” is another huge sounding rocker where Henrik shines with his playing. The intensity is really high here.

The Paradox of the Flame” is another moody, piano based tune, featuring Carina Englund, Tom’s wife who has been featured on past songs. Carina is a first rate vocalist in her own right and her voice really packs a punch. I always love what she brings to the songs she features on. The orchestration, especially the violin, on this song really make it something extraordinary. “Disconnect” is a bit more experimental for the band and again features Floor Jansen.

The record ends with the title track, “The Storm Within.” It’s a perfect statement on where the band is now in 2016. They’ve come a long way in their almost twenty year existence and have never sounded better. Call them Progressive Metal, Symphonic Metal, or whatever you want, just call them one of the best bands that have ever graced us with their musical magic.

– “The Music God” CJ Plain

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