Evergrey
Escape of the Phoenix


3.7
great

Review

by Fernando Alves STAFF
March 3rd, 2021 | 56 replies


Release Date: 02/26/2021 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Arising from familiar ashes

As the years go by, I find myself increasingly detached from the formulaic music I loved so much in my youth. I still occasionally dive into nostalgia, remembering the songs and heroes of my past, but my initial enchantment with melody has been progressively replaced by an attraction to the extreme, harmonic unpredictability, or even dissonance. It is true that I was drawn to heavy metal from a very early age, but I have never felt closer to extreme music than in the last decade. I know that this aesthetic development isn't quite the norm, and I honestly don’t understand the rationale behind it, but things are as they are, and this is the man I have become. Nevertheless, despite this mutation, I will always be attracted to catchy melodies or engaging lead guitars, because at the end of the day we are what we once were. And Sweden's Evergrey is part of that niche that somehow embodies this taste for catchiness, be it through Tom S Englund's passionate vocals or through the ubiquitous melody present throughout the band's discography. The balanced blend of power and progressive metal, wrapped in a layer of gothic-ish melancholy, shapes a solid backbone that has never undergone dramatic changes over time, aside from its increasing maturity and sophistication.

The four singles that preceded the album's release confirmed to some extent what I expected from the new Evergrey chapter: a logical extension of the existing formula. This predictability surrounding Escape of the Phoenix will only come as a surprise to those who have not been paying attention to Tom S Englund & Co's musical journey, which, as I mentioned earlier, has never experienced major detours. Now the question that really matters is whether these eleven songs are on par with what the band has been producing in recent years, and the answer is a resounding: yes. Not for featuring unexpected freshness, but rather for once again mirroring the band's ability to create catchy songs orbiting appealing melodies and melancholic nuances. From powerhouses such as 'Forever Outsider’, 'A Dandelion Cipher' and 'Eternal Nocturnal’, to softer outputs like 'The Beholder', 'In the Absence of Sun' or 'You from You', the album embraces the band's full spectrum appreciably. Englund's passionate vocals continue to lead the way and the guitar work remains top-notch. The ethereal Gilmour-ish solo on 'You from You' and the excellent duet on 'Eternal Nocturnal' are both fine examples of the lads' superb lead guitar skills.

Songs like 'Forever Outsider' or 'The Beholder' (featuring James LaBrie) are sure to please the fanbase, yet I would like to highlight 'Leaden Saints' for its epic nature and majestic chorus. It’s one of those tracks that succeeds in gathering the many faces of the band while simultaneously emanating a larger-than-life feeling. Despite loving other songs on the album, 'Leaden Saints' is nevertheless the only one that really excited me and probably the track I will revisit more often in the future. Which leads me to the conclusion that despite its consistency, Escape of the Phoenix also reveals some predictability and lack of ambition that restrains it creatively, preventing me from enjoying it as I would like.

Tom S Englund & Co unleashed a phoenix that has risen from familiar ashes, yet this fire creature does not stand as a symbol of renewal but rather of continuity. Escape of the Phoenix delivers a set of songs that despite their catchiness never stray too far from the original formula, and quite frankly, I didn't expect it to be any other way. At this point, Evergrey is just like a massive aircraft carrier unable to make sudden moves or drastic changes of direction. The lads are operating in auto-pilot mode and it's up to each of us to decide whether or not it's still worth embarking on this journey. As far as I’m concerned, I will remain on board, however, I would prefer the next trip to be a little more adventurous.



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user ratings (73)
3.7
great
other reviews of this album
acdrums777 (4.5)
26 years in, and the future is bright...



Comments:Add a Comment 
TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
March 3rd 2021


15919 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

The album has good songs despite its predictability, but as I said in the review, I didn't expect it to be any other way.

Escape of the Phoenix is available on all streaming platforms.

Digging: Cannibal Corpse - Violence Unimagined

SowingSeason
Moderator
March 3rd 2021


37162 Comments


1st staff review. Nice.

Digging: Greta Van Fleet - The Battle at Garden's Gate

TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
March 3rd 2021


15919 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

And first decimal rating ;)

Nocte
Staff Reviewer
March 3rd 2021


13975 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Work that flex babe

Digging: Esoctrilihum - Dy'th Requiem for the Serpent Telepath

evilford
March 4th 2021


51366 Comments


First notrap staff rev!!!🙆🙆🙆🙆🙆

evilford
March 4th 2021


51366 Comments


That just looks like Kenny

Anyways nice rev

Dedes
March 4th 2021


7626 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Bro you got staff? G fucking G man.

Would you say this is a good start into the band or would you personally recommend anything else? Looking to delve into more jams this week since I have like, 3 more days off lol

OmairSh
Contributing Reviewer
March 4th 2021


17554 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Theeeere's the no trap review I was expecting ;).



They've pretty much used the exact same formula and sound for 4 albums now but I've been enjoying this one more than the last 2. Best since Hymns for me

Digging: Kauan - Ice Fleet

OmairSh
Contributing Reviewer
March 4th 2021


17554 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Dandelion Cipher absolutely bangs

Nocte
Staff Reviewer
March 4th 2021


13975 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Enjoying this a little more than the new Moonspell.

manosg
Staff Reviewer
March 4th 2021


12214 Comments


Only checked Solitude Dominance Tragedy and In Search Of Truth by these guys, but nothing else. Can't see that changing any time soon.

Great read though.

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
March 4th 2021


24228 Comments


I enjoyed the single so I may delve into this one. Nice rev mr. Stafftrap.

Digging: Spectral Wound - A Diabolic Thirst

Piripichotes
March 4th 2021


584 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

In The Absence Of Sun is everything Evergrey makes in one song. What a beauty.

I think the Atlantic is slightly better than this but just by a hair, if we combine them both we'd have a masterpiece.



NoTrap bro give it the 4 it deserves! or 4.1 since you want to flash your newly acquired decimals LMAO

TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
March 4th 2021


15919 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

Cheers & thanks guys ;)



I would say so, Dedes, yet if you want to check the band's progression you can listen to In Search Of Truth, Hymns for the Broken, and this one (in that order). I think this will give you a better idea about these guys.



It's a solid 3.7 Piripichotes, I really like the album, but there's a constant deja-vu that prevents me from increasing my decimals ;)

Piripichotes
March 4th 2021


584 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I understand what you meant Notrap.

I was wondering what are you into lately? stuff like Ulcerate and Ad Nauseam?

Are you from Portugal? given you're awake at this hour.

TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
March 4th 2021


15919 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

Yeah, I'm Portuguese, Piripichotes. I believe most Europeans will be awake by now ;)

This past week I've been listening to new releases from Iotunn, Forhist, Korpse, and Ad Nauseam.

aydross121
March 4th 2021


1010 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

sweet album. I've always liked the vocals a lot but the band never grabbed my attention too much until now.

Mythodea
March 4th 2021


6003 Comments


I remember when Hymns was released Omair had suggested I took a listen. I did, but wasn't much into it. It's been so long now, perhaps I should give them another go.

MeatWolf
March 4th 2021


206 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Spinning it on repeat, best stuff Evergrey put out since the change of style on Hymns for the Broken. Consistent, mature, emotional, delicate and beautiful. And Danhage is one hell of a shredder.

bloc
March 4th 2021


65235 Comments


I remember getting jealous of their Caparison guitars back in the day

Digging: Chaka Khan - What 'Cha Gonna Do for Me



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