"some music was meant to stay underground..."

Evergrey - "The Storm Within" (CD)

Evergrey - "The Storm Within" CD cover image

"The Storm Within" track listing:

1. Distance
2. Passing Through
3. Someday
4. Astray
5. The Impossible
6. My Allied Ocean
7. In Orbit (Featuring Floor Jansen)
8. The Lonely Monarch
9. The Paradox Of The Flame (Feat. Carina Englund)
10. Disconnect (Feat. Floor Jansen)
11. The Storm Within

Reviewed by on September 16, 2016

"Evergrey has become more than just a band. They are a 'psychiatrist on CD' – a band you can use as an outlet for all the personal pain you have endured and at the end be better for it."

In the present day, you would be hard pressed to find a progressive metal band that has been on a roll more than Sweden’s Evergrey. With the compelling and emotionally draining “Hymns for the Broken” ranked as one of 2014’s best albums and one of the best in the band’s discography, it took less than two years for “The Storm Within.” The songwriting process seemed a bit faster for Tom Englund and company, but with the band in its finest form these songs can’t miss. “The Storm Within” has a few tricks up its sleeve that help it eclipse even its predecessor and much of the back catalog with it.

If you thought “Hymns for the Broken” couldn’t get more emotionally invested, then get ready for “The Storm Within.” An intertwining theme of a broken relationship and the complex nature, conflicting emotions and loneliness that love can bring, “The Storm Within” will have you pondering those very issues in your own life. With a quickened pace to the songs, it almost sounds uplifting – which even draws conflict between words and sound. If that was the intended delivery, it was sheer brilliance. For Evergrey, the lyrics would be meaningless if it weren’t for the soundscape the band creates and the soulful voice of guitarist/vocalist Tom Englund, where his pain is both visual and auditory and very distinctly felt. It’s a pain so real it drives one to tears, something that listeners who cannot grasp the power of Evergrey can truly understand.

In Evergrey’s storied history, I have never been a more avid listener and follower then in recent years. I’m not sure if the material is just resonating better, that the songwriting is more superior, that the lineup is just the best in the band’s history, that there is some other unidentified cosmic force….or all of the above. For one, the guitar tone on the last two has been so appealing – cutting through the tension and atmosphere like a knife (see “Disconnect” for the best representation of this). The solos of Englund and Henrik Danhage speak on a whole other level, further driving the central theme of emotional conflict. We aren’t just talking about just an elevated level of musicianship – but Wolf Hoffmann stratosphere. Solos come and go, but many listeners don’t even pay attention to them these days. However, when solos seem to speak (see reference to aforementioned “Disconnect”), they have a power you can remember – a rarity in recent times.

Along with a quickened and heightened pace (see favorites “Astray,” “My Allied Ocean” along with “Passing Through” and “In Orbit” (featuring Nightwish’s Floor Jansen), there is that patented wide open atmosphere that just pulls listeners in. The title opus kicks off with that atmosphere in Devin Townsend meets Borknagar fashion. In addition, Evergrey’s ballads are vastly superior to nearly every other band – as “The Paradox of the Flame” (a duet by Tom Englund’s wife Carina) continues a long, long tradition of incredible ballads. The video clip for that song (and opener “Distance”) is proof that Iceland is the perfect Evergrey backdrop of beauty, solitude and somber gray.

“The Storm Within” showcases everything that makes Evergrey so unique and strong. Fans can argue where it stands in the annals of the band’s history, but for this author it doesn’t get much better. Topping “Hymns for the Broken” is no small feat, but Tom Englund and company have all the musicianship, talent and overall pain to make it happen. Evergrey has become more than just a band. They are a “psychiatrist on CD” – a band you can use as an outlet for all the personal pain you have endured and at the end be better for it. “The Storm Within” is brewing in all of our souls and now it is time to let it out.

Highs: Evergrey proves that they are one of the best progressive metal bands on the planet.

Lows: Nothing, unless you cannot deal with the raw emotion of tumultuous love.

Bottom line: Evergrey explores the pain of relationships and "The Storm Within" us all is ready to erupt.

Rated 5 out of 5 skulls
5 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)