Evergrey - The Atlantic (2019)
Drop Into The Deep
When I saw Evergrey came out with The Atlantic, I knew I had listened to them before, but I couldn't for the life of me remember what they sounded like. I pretty much threw them to the side as "just another power/prog metal band" until I checked out this album.
The Atlantic is absolutely stellar. Evergrey opts for more drop tuning and heavier, hammering riffs rather than the normal thrashy/power metal fare and it works very well to paint the picture that The Atlantic tries to portray; a merciless and deadly ocean. While I'm not much for looking up lyrics to get the entire story told by the album, I can say that The Atlantic is very cohesive in its musical elements and styles that persist throughout the album. It sounds like a complete, well thought out package.
Every riff on The Atlantic is very well done, being memorable but still engaging. This was my first time really critiquing Evergrey's vocalist, but he hits that sweet spot between a progressive and power metal vocalist, having the power to really drive the melody but still having enough range to properly pivot to the ballad-like "All I Have". The heaviness of the guitar, the better-than-average bass lines, the strong vocalist, and the fair mix of progressive elements like piano, synth, and other sound effects give The Atlantic a sound I can't get enough of. Especially the piano flourishes on "Weightless".
The album is broken up with a few slower ballads like "All I Have" and "Departure", but these are still very engaging. These short breaks keep the rest of the album driving forward without growing dull. The prog solos leave something to be desired for sure, but even weak songs like "Departure" have something unique about them (the opening bass line). Extremely solid release from these guys, they never deviate from the theme of the album and bring plenty of memorable riffs and tracks to the table.
After a few submissions into the March 2021 Infinite playlist and challenging myself to review 2019/2020 albums from bands that were in my earlier epic progressive/power metal taste, I just knew the time would come for me to review the second-newest album band that combines both styles...Evergrey! Here I am, reviewing an epic voyage of songs that have brought back memories of their earlier material...
Their eleventh album, The Atlantic might just be the greatest offering this Swedish progressive metal band has released throughout their 25-year history. And just like the new Avantasia album released around the same month, the cover art represent the soundscape, taking you through an adventure of light and storm in the compositions.
The record is off on an impressive start with the progressive metal epic "A Silent Arc", the band's longest medley-free song at nearly 8 minutes, tied with "The Grand Collapse" from Hymns for the Broken. Strong melancholic atmosphere is carried through successfully. After their most progressive song comes the most accessible one "Weightless", with heartfelt lyrics and emotional lyrics. I should've submitted the song for this month's Infinite playlist as a way to introduce newcomers to the band. An excellent favorite that would be a potential live staple! Then we have the calm sorrow of the impressive ballad "All I Have" with haunting piano and heavy bass for a menacing tone.
An oppressive soundscape enters "A Secret Atlantis", probably their most creative track that has sinister industrial-like passages. The soothing vocals tame the wild ride. The interlude "The Tidal" has emotive presence in the keyboards. The next track, "End of Silence" continues the emotion with Tom Englund’s vocals. Another outstanding song is the monstrous industrial-ish "Currents", where sinister electronics, melodic vocals, powerful drums, longing guitars, and mysterious keyboards all fit like a glove.
Anyone wanting prominent bass should listen to "Departure" for positively efficient dominance alongside versatile vocals. "The Beacon" is a highlight as ambient as The Ocean. Speaking of oceans, the album reaches it excellent conclusion with the sinister closing track "This Ocean". As cold as the ocean, powerful riffs, drums, and bass never fail to impress. Epic keyboards reach higher prominence, reaching its climax in the end that would make you want more after this thought-provoking cliffhanger. Evergrey can build up dramatic atmosphere in 4 and a half minutes, unlike other progressive metal bands that take twice as long per song.
I'm amazed at how positively I described all these songs in this strong album. You would be astonished by the gloomy emotion, powerful vocals, and inspired/inspiring lyrics throughout the album. You might just feel like reliving the voyage and being hit by fresh waves. This heavy/power/progressive metal diamond is worth fans of those genres each giving it a listen. I think I just found a rival against that Avantasia album for album of the year. The Atlantic is an impressive creative gem in the recent days of metal!
Favorites: "A Silent Arc", "Weightless", "All I Have", "A Secret Atlantis", "Currents", "The Beacon", "This Ocean"