Evergrey
The Storm Within


3.5
great

Review

by KjSwantko USER (37 Reviews)
August 12th, 2017 | 16 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Evergrey give a fresh take on what we're accustomed to.

I was initially not impressed with The Storm Within. Like many other albums by Evergrey, however, it too has a way of slowly weeding it's way into your soul and grabbing hold - particularly the vocal melodies of Tom Englund. The Storm Within is an interesting album because it marks the first time since 2004's The Inner Circle where it's clearly a concept album, in this case, about the contrary sides of love due to physical distance and the resulting hardship that arises from it. This latest record feels like a complete piece of art where the pieces fit nicely as opposed to just a random collection of songs lumped together.

The leadoff single, "Distance", gathers small bits of everything that can be found on The Storm Within and fuses it into what will likely be remembered as an Evergrey classic. After a simplistic piano melody--the type Evergrey have become renowned for--the song plunges into a tastefully done 7-string groove, and then chugs it's way through a melodic chorus and eventually a thick atmospheric bridge. Patric Ullaeus directed the music video and chose to film it in desolate Iceland which was a fitting choice with it's cold, stunning visuals to match the music.

The band capitalizes on this concept of feeling disconnected from loved ones by using dark, astral, planetary imagery and lyrics. The piano-driven ballad, "The Impossible", somberly carries on in this vain, "I cross the dark side of the moon, I'll do the same on the rings of Saturn, I'll stay awake through the Martian winter, but in the end what does it matter" It's impossible to be this alone." The piano ballad here is the best they've done in that realm in a decade. In similar fashion, the other ballad "The Paradox of the Flame", Englund and wife Carina combine for their first duet together in nearly 20 years (the first time was "For Every Tear that Falls" on the 1998 debut record); the result is a mournful yet classy epic that's especially beautiful given the concept of the album.

The only substantial criticism I have of The Storm Within is that in a few instances Evergrey venture too far into radio rock territory. For instance, "In Orbit", which features female vocalist Floor Jansen of Nightwish, the song is a brazen attempt at radio play. The verse and the chorus are borderline pop music, and it features the corniest lines of the album, "I'm in orbit, stars exploding, when I call your name, here in the dark I'm lonely, you're my compass." It's hard to listen to at times, although admittedly catchy. Give the band credit though, they try to mask this pop song by interspersing heaviness throughout the track and also injecting a drawn-out bridge with multiple different riffs & solos presumably in an attempt to add in progressive value and balance the scales. To a thoughtful listener, it's not enough to hide the fact it's a pop song. Again, an admittedly catchy pop song.

The playing from the band is as respectable as ever, with Englund and Danhage ripping through solos in tandem still, as well as Jonas Ekdahl providing us another album of high quality drumming. One thing that does catch my attention is that Englund seems to labor a little more to hit the high notes, and the overall clarity of his voice is diminishing with age (see "Passing Through"); that said, the passion in his voice is still impeccable and he gets the job done with a high grade.

The Storm Within has no major risks or style changes but the album has personality and a clear direction. Evergrey give us another round of the dark, melody-driven, heavy, twisting metal we've become accustomed to. The thoughtfulness of the record is very evident as it becomes increasingly infectious after a few listens. The Storm Within is at least on par with 2014's Hymns for the Broken and the band shows us they can still breathe new life into their well established sound. In sum, The Storm Within should be considered yet another winner in Evergrey's catalog.



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user ratings (43)
Chart.
3.9
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
KjSwantko
August 12th 2017


10476 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

For some reason the indenting won't show on Sputnik, so I put spaces in between the paragraphs.



Increasingly love this record and figured I'd better keep up my trend of reviewing their albums.

EvoHavok
August 12th 2017


7296 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice to see this reviewed.

Piripichotes
August 12th 2017


423 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I really enjoyed this, last 2 evergrey records have been great, may hymns for the broken is a little bit more accomplished than this one, and that's when the subject of radio-friendliness comes up.

KjSwantko
August 12th 2017


10476 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I prefer the musical compositions and melodies of Hymns to this, but again, I really appreciate how this album feels like a complete piece where everything fits together. Hymns felt all over the place.

OmairSh
August 13th 2017


14340 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Great review as always Kj. Haven't listened to this album in a while, but the band is playing it safe. They flex their muscles more than they did on Hymns, but it's still safe. Still a good album

Piripichotes
August 14th 2017


423 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah Hymn was all over the place, but it had great energy, glorious collision was shit, hymns was a step in the right direction, this is a little bit on autopilot to my tastes but I dig it nonetheless.



great review KJ, thanks for doing it, this album definitely deserved a review.

KjSwantko
August 14th 2017


10476 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Thanks fellas. And yeah I fully agree with all of those sentiments made.

OmairSh
September 2nd 2017


14340 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Only 7 comments? Damn. Evergrey still going under the radar here

EvoHavok
September 2nd 2017


7296 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, but we got our little crew of fans.

KjSwantko
September 6th 2017


10476 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Yeah same group of us always commenting on the albums haha.

OmairSh
October 2nd 2017


14340 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Some of the solos here are great, especially the contrasting styles like on Monarch. Tom's reduced his shredding recently

OmairSh
October 2nd 2017


14340 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

The engineering of this album is amazing, especially the guitars, but I wish it was a little less compressed. Feels suffocating at times

KjSwantko
October 3rd 2017


10476 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I think it sounds like utter dog shit unless you're listening through a decent sound system. First time I heard this it was just through the speaker on my cell phone and I was like wtf this album is horrible. Obviously had a different experience once I purchased the CD and heard it in the car.

OmairSh
October 5th 2017


14340 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

I think the heavy compression does all the damage. It makes it sound so flat and it's exhausting to listen to for long periods of time.

KjSwantko
October 6th 2017


10476 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Agreed. I listened to both this and Hymns a few times recently. Long story short, raised Hymns' rating and put this down to a 3.5 (but still some songs here I absolutely love).



To me, Hymns would be a hard 5 though if "The Fire" and "Barricades" were taken off. Truly awesome record overall with some of Evergrey's best material.

OmairSh
October 6th 2017


14340 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Whaaaaaaat? I love those two songs on Hymns



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