Published on October 5th, 2016 | by Justin G.
Evergrey: The Storm Within
Swedish dark/progressive/melodic metal band Evergrey celebrates their 20th anniversary this year, so what better time to release their tenth studio album? Their latest offering is titled The Storm Within, and it’s the second album from the reunited Englund/Danhage/Zander/Ekdahl (plus bassist Johann Niemann) lineup. Evergrey’s previous album – 2014’s Hymns for the Broken – was largely regarded as a successful return to form for the band, so expectations were high going into this new album.
The Storm Within is an appropriate title for an album that founding vocalist/guitarist/songwriter Tom Englund has called the band’s first “love” album. Now, this is Evergrey we’re talking about, so a love album from them is going to be some dark, melancholy tour of some gut-wrenching emotions. Sure, you could tune out the lyrics and focus instead on the unique combination of heaviness, melody and dark atmosphere that makes Evergrey’s sound so compelling. Evergrey albums just work better when you study the lyrics though, even though that isn’t always easy. Englund pours his heart out in these songs, and knowing that gives you a better appreciation for the album.
Beyond the very personal lyrics and typically dark Evergrey atmosphere, The Storm Within offers some “extras” that are noteworthy. We once again get a guest appearance by Carina Englund, this time on “The Paradox of the Flame.” Nightwish vocalist Floor Jansen also makes an appearance on the gloriously atmospheric “In Orbit” and album closer “Disconnect.” The album is once again mixed by Jacob Hansen, who has such a deft touch at making you hear familiar bands in a new light (or dark, as the case may be).
If there’s a downside to The Storm Within, it’s probably that it isn’t an easy album to get into. Where Hymns for the Broken had the very catchy “King of Errors” to immediately hook listeners, The Storm Within has a slower build. Perhaps switching the heavier, catchier “My Allied Ocean” for the more somber opener “Distance” would have helped there. Either way, this is a grower. It may not click the first time through, but The Storm Within is an album that very much rewards you on repeated listens.
Time will tell if The Storm Within surpasses the power and impact that Hymns for the Broken had. It is easily one of the strongest, most emotionally resonant Evergrey albums to date, and one that the band’s fans should absolutely love, even if it does take a few spins to get to that point. It’s hard to believe they’ve been at this for twenty years, but if they’re going to keep making albums like this, here’s hoping for another twenty.
Edition Notes: The special edition CD release of The Storm Within comes in a digipack and features a slowed-down, somewhat jarring (but still awesome) cover of Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid” as a bonus track. It’s the kind of cover you hate initially then decide is genius about halfway through. There’s also a deluxe double-LP version (in multiple colors) that has “Paranoid” and features an etched D side. It also showcases Carlos Fides’ evocative artwork to great effect.
Summary: This album will disappoint roughly 0% of Evergrey fans