By proclaiming Evergrey’s `The Atlantic’ one of 2019’s best heavy metal albums, I wanted to check how this would hold up having given the album 6 weeks to mature. Singer Tom S Englund daring me to re-review the album at a later date was an intriguing thought, emphasizing the musicians’ feeling about the new album. His (and Jonas’) confidence towards `The Atlantic’ is impressive, but will my findings align with the songs given time to evolve musically?
Though many die-hard Evergrey fans always compare the band’s new albums with the acclaimed favourite releases `The Inner Circle’ and `In Search Of Truth’, the open minded amongst us will surely embrace the band’s significant growth. With their benchmark releases behind them, Evergrey however failed to spark my (personal) interest and slowly faded into my blind spot. The remarkable return to style with `Hymns Of The Broken’ and the following `Storm Within’, brought them back into scope, and revealed Evergrey’s accretion and seized maturity. Englund clearly benefitted from the return of Danhage and Ekdahl, igniting the spark. `The Atlantic’ crystalizes the key ingredients of Evergrey’s catalogue and moulded it into perfection. Garnishing their impressive trademark sound with enormous urge and drive, the album is gripping throughout. From the opening periscope pinging and its ravishing turmoil, all the way to the chanting epic closing tones in ,,This Ocean”, the album unloads both typical and unmistakably in Evergrey grandeur as well as packs impressive new élan.
Impressive is Englund’s vision to blend melancholy and soothing surroundings with a gripping urge and intense and demanding sub notes. Though the musical palette oozes the band’s typical comfort, it also spit a demanding fury your way. Comfortable melodies and soundscapes, with Zander’s keyboard and piano interludes drenching the album is a well of emotion, and guitars igniting the fire over and over again, creating internal tension. Danhage keenly implements his keyboard swirls with precision. Delicately and multi-layered, emphasizing the mood of the songs. Ekdahl’s polyrhythmic drum shuffles and stop-motion pace is enhancing the turmoil and grit of the album, provide the album’s demanding urge.
But it is Niemann who steals the show with his raw and loud bass playing, perfectly filling the gaps left between the menacing drum patterns and the fierce and complex riffs fired upon us with sniper precision. The interaction between Danhage and Englund is undeniable and driven with force and gravitas, unravelling in perfection. Tension is felt as they unload their (twin) solos and choking duels.
The sound of desolation hits you frequently as the album progresses, only to be fused with escalating and heartfelt anger and drive. The discomfort resonates off of the edges with every spin, and the devil is in the details on `The Atlantic’. A welling and ebbing emotional rollercoaster is injected with sonic tweaks best experienced with headphones. The album reveals its true beauty and multiple layers of depth when the listener embarks on their journey in full focus. It is then that Evergrey, and especially Englund himself, are able to really take you to the centre of the excitement. With every spin the lyrics start to lure you in closer to the theme of this soundtrack and every spin enthuses you more and more. At centre stage Englund speaks to you directly and his heartfelt anger is downright scary and casting dark shadows over the album. Tailor cut to his vocal abilities, Tom oozes confidence, uplifting his performance and that of the band. The intensity is jaw dropping and packs immeasurable amounts of power. Subtle and lush melodic structures are embedded into some of progressive metal’s finest compositions, redefining their boundaries. The interaction between the musicians is astonishing, and whether it’s the guitar duels or twins fired upon us, or the elegant piano and high-end bass interaction pushing forward, the outcome is astounding. The result: 10 impeccable new tracks with no infirm moments whatsoever.
Concluding Evergrey’s `The Atlantic’ to be spot on. `The Atlantic’ is a flawless masterpiece with gripping urge in a strangulating atmosphere. The overwhelming tension is grim and melancholic and polluted by anger. Underneath this dense sonic soundscape, Englund and his men have keenly crafted a bodywork of captivating progressive allure, with head spinning complex structures all falling into place as fragments of the greater good. Never losing sight of the outcome and its nesting melodies, the album unloads in perfectly dosed drama. It’s this whirling and ebbing vortex of emotions that makes Evergrey’s new album a sheer delight. `The Atlantic’ still stands tall nesting deep inside my heart and head. This is their magnum opus, and Yes: ALBUM OF THE YEAR!
Interview with Evergrey here
Original review of `The Atlantic' here