Review by David Araneda
Album: “The Atlantic”
Release Date: 25th January 2019
Label: AFM Records
01. A Silent Arc
03. All I Have
04. A Secret Atlantis
05. The Tidal
06. End of Silence
09. The Beacon
10. This Ocean
The Swedish progressive metal lords EVERGREY bring us their eleventh studio album, entitled “The Atlantic” and released via AFM Records. This record marks the final chapter of a trilogy about the adventure of life, which started in 2014 with “Hymns for The Broken” and continued in 2016 with “The Storm Within”. The lineup of the band has remained unchanged since the beginning of this trilogy, showing cohesion within the group. During this break Tom Englund, leader and vocalist of the band, joined their American pairs REDEMPTION to replace Ray Alder in their 2018 release “Long Night’s Journey into Day”.
Regarding the concept and themes of “The Atlantic”, Tom Englund commented: “It’s about relationships, beauty and darkness, about fortune and grief, about love, hate, despair, joy and everything connected with it. Life is like a journey across the ocean, on the way to distant shores”. “The Atlantic” was produced by Englund himself together with drummer Jonas Ekdahl and was mixed and mastered by Jacob Hansen. Artist Giannis Nakos was in charge of the interesting cover, dominated by shades of yellow, portraying a small boat sailing in a reckless storm, trying not to succumb to the fury of the sea.
The album begins with ‘A Silent Arc’, released already last December. The song starts suddenly with one of the heaviest riffs in EVERGREY‘s history, and as soon as the vocals come out we pay attention to the fierce vocal style of Tom. This is a very aggressive opening for the standards of the band, but after the storm comes the calm and towards the chorus this early rage dissolves into very melodic passages. It soon becomes evident that we are dealing with a band with masterful ability to control the intensity, the contrasts and the atmosphere in their music. With almost eight minutes of length, the band displays all its majesty and class in this song.
They continue with ‘Weightless’, another single for which they recorded a video clip with Jonas Ekdahl’s drums burning in flames, achieving an astonishing visual effect. The song opens with a mid-tempo hard-rock riff, progressing into a melodic and catchy vocal line, with the kind of chorus that sticks to your head from the first listen. ‘All I Have’ also starts powerfully, developing into a melancholic verse and then a chorus with almost romantic pop tones. The subtle changes of intensity and the elegance of EVERGREY‘s style prevent them from fall into clichés, keeping their musical integrity. The guitar work of Henrik Danhage and Tom Englund stands out towards the end of this track.
‘A Secret Atlantis’ sticks to the previous formula, starting in a furious and unstoppable fashion, but little by little they slow down as the song progresses. Tom Englund uses the chance to explore other areas of his register, swimming into deeper waters, but also hitting some high notes. The lyrics reflect the pain and desperation of being lost out in the ocean with the uncertainty of not knowing what the future holds. ‘The Tidal’ is a keyboard-based short instrumental where Rikard Zander shows all his skills, working as an interlude before fully entering into the second half of the album.
‘End of Silence’ is a song with a solemn mood, mixing a very nostalgic melody with sublime piano arrangements. The pace remains quite calm for most of the track, getting some momentum towards the end with an instrumental section in which the two guitars and the keyboard merge, giving birth to mesmerizing harmonies. ‘Currents’ was the third single of “The Atlantic” and works as a synthesis of the concept of the album, summarizing the comparison between life in the ocean and existence itself, with all its difficulties and sudden changes. Although lacking the charm of the other two singles, this song contains interesting keyboard arrangements, vocal harmonies and guitar solos.
‘Departure’ is one of the songs that stands out for its structure, breaking the formula to which we were getting used to. The beginning is slow, progressing little by little into more complex rhythm signatures, bursting with instrumental virtuosity. The work of bassist Johan Niemann is a highlight of this track, adding heaviness to its multiple intensity changes. Approaching the end of this trip, the album closes with a couple of songs that in my opinion do not reach the level of the previous ones. The first of them, ‘This Beacon’, in spite of its dramatic start and metaphorical lyrics, does not bring anything new to the table. To conclude, ‘This Ocean’ is a more energetic effort, but it also leaves us wanting more.
While “The Atlantic” is a record that goes from great to not so great, with a superb start but losing some gas towards the end, it’s also a release that shows EVERGREY at the top of their abilities and greatness for most of its length. There are at least four songs that are destined to become classics in their catalogue. This album will probably open their way to new horizons, as the band will soon embark on a tour that will take them through the main cities of Europe and some summer festivals, including the thirtieth anniversary of Wacken Open Air. Don’t miss them if you have the chance to catch them on the road. The Kings of Swedish progressive metal are here to stay.
EVERGREY – “The Atlantic” videos