Review Summary: Evergrey's growth continues - this time with added harmony and power.
Evergrey’s Recreation Day
is a dark, melodic progressive metal album that doesn’t fiddle around with the dizzying time signatures & bizarre complexities that we've been accustomed to from similar bands. Recreation Day
takes a relatively bare-to-the-bones approach that emphasizes a mammoth atmosphere and songwriting that is easily digestible yet unconventional enough to slide in under the “progressive” title. If all aspiring groups took a page out of Evergrey’s book here, the genre wouldn’t be as stale and played-out with musicians battling one another with emotionless compositions built on mathematics and pointless 20 minute epics that could easily be trimmed down to 6 minutes.
As stated, the production and atmosphere of the record is perfectly done. Many of the songs have orchestral accenting in the background which contribute to the sheer power of the album as well as the aforementioned atmosphere. Much of the album's riffing is based on chugga-chugga variations that manage to come across as surprisingly enjoyable and fresh. The Great Deceiver
wastes no time kicking off the record with a blazing solo and double bass rhythm before eventually moving into one such open chord sections after the verse (2:30) that gives a flash of brilliance from the band. I would usually categorize this riff section as "lame prog" due to the unnecessarily long, meandering riff, but the reality of it is that the song brings the metal hard and is virtually guaranteed to get heads bobbing in unison. Frankly, there's something to be said for raw, unaltered metal.
When it comes to ballads, the litmus test has always been how well it grabs us at our soul and evokes some feeling, whatever it may be. I’m Sorry
was originally recorded by Swedish pop star Dilba, and Evergrey's heavier version passes the test while maintaining the simplicity of the original. It starts off with a simple piano melody before erupting into a hauntingly powerful chorus where Tom Englund serves us a relatable chorus- And I’m sorry, this illusion has caused you a lot of pain. I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry…
Again, the sound production is stellar and you’d be hard pressed to find something more grandiose that retains clarity. I'm Sorry
is evidence enough of Englund's ability to take bland lyrics and carry them to distances far more vivid and interesting solely by drawing focus to the convincing pain and sorrow in his voice.
offers a lot in terms of variety. We've touched upon the raw heaviness and powerful choruses, but there is also an acoustic piece (Madness Caught Another Victim
), touching piano work (Your Darkest Hour
3:23), and even an epic titled Trilogy of the Damned
which extracts memorable melodies from previous Evergrey records and twists them into an entirely new sobering experience. One of the best things Evergrey did on this record was the inclusion of more piano work and pieces that do not have distorted guitars. This aspect has always been a part of Evergrey's identity, but here they expanded their horizons and took it a step further - with successful results.
Dynamic. Authoritative. Ornate. Choose your own adjective, but if you fancy progressive metal, power metal, or just quality heavy music in general, I recommend Recreation Day
because it stands above the majority of comparable albums. While many of the songs on here are crushing and overachieving, there are a few weak links that prevent Recreation Day
from being a perfect 5. Never the less, these minor blemishes are easily overshadowed by some gems that are at times nothing short of mesmerizing.