In part one of our Evergrey The Atlantic double feature, we have a listen to the album and give our verdict.
Released by: AFM Records
Release Date: January 25, 2019
Genre: Progressive Metal
Pre-order: AFM Records Official Label Store
Hardcover- Art-book incl. CD+DVD (Limited to 1000 units)
Gatefold CRYSTAL CLEAR 2-Vinyl (Limited to 400 units)
Gatefold Picture 2-Vinyl (Limited to 500 units)
Gatefold GOLD/BLACK MARBLED 2-Vinyl (Limited to 100 units – AFM Shop Exclusive)
Gatefold YELLOW/BLACK SPLATTER 2-Vinyl (Limited to 100 units – AFM Shop Exclusive)
Tom S. Englund – vocals, guitar
Henrik Danhage – guitar, backing vocals
Rikard Zander – keyboard, backing vocals
Jonas Ekdahl – drums
Johan Niemann – bass, backing vocals
1. A Silent Arc
3. All I Have
4. A Secret Atlantis
5. The Tidal
6. End Of Silence
9. The Beacon
10. This Ocean
Hailed as one of the most unusual and innovate progressive metal acts in the world, Evergrey has taken fans on a dark and often self-reflective journey for over 20 years. This Swedish band has a long and truly underrated history. Having discussed this with him recently, Tom agreed, “We are underrated, but at the same time, that bothered me more like ten years ago. We always said.. and that may be part of it.. that we only made music for ourselves. We also may have made a few bad business decisions and worked with the wrong people. There were tours we didn’t jump on that we could have, or perhaps should have, and stuff like that changes things.” Tom added that, “the other thing that maybe has been a problem, is that people have never been able to put us into a single category. Some say power metal, some say progressive metal, or dark melodic metal. So we don’t fit in a certain genre for everyone. We say we play music, so you choose.”
But by staying true to themselves, the band is still contemporary, and its following has continued to grow. Featuring an epic catalogue of albums, The Atlantic is number eleven, and forms part of a trilogy, which also comprises of 2014’s Hymns For The Broken and its 2016 follow-up The Storm Within. Discussing the new album, Englund explains that, “the new album is about events and experiences in our lives,” adding, “It’s about relationships, beauty and darkness, about fortune and grief, about love, hate, despair, joy and everything connected with it. Life is like a journey across the ocean in a small boat, on the way to distant shores. You have no clue of where you’re going to end up, or how deep the water is, how cold it is, how dark it’s gonna be, how long it’s gonna be, who’s gonna talk to me on the other side of this, who’s with me, who’s not.”
This intimate, deep, and sonorous album is at times moving and even emotionally challenging, with Englund adding, “This is our heaviest, darkest, and perhaps also our most diverse album to date. It’s everything we wanted to compose and the written words come straight from a place of transparency and never before experienced lucidity.” And listening to the album, you get a true sense of this. It is raw, unadulterated feeling transcribed into lyric and song. As Tom adds, “I think when it’s something that really is constituted in something that is based in real emotions, and real things, that people can connect with, then it’s very evident that it is real. That it’s personal.”
Opening the album is “A Silent Arc” which Englund suggests is “really brutal in a certain kind of Evergrey way, with guitars that you might expect from a band like Behemoth, but certainly not from us. We never sounded as dark or as raw before.” This song truly starts off the journey you are taken over the course of the album, featuring themes of loss, regret, and pain. It creates a bleak mental landscape which is only accentuated by the accompanying video, and Englund explains that, “this time we’d want our listeners to create their own images when listening to this song and let them indulge in their own movie in front of their inner eye, at least at first.”
From here we move into the first act of the album through tracks “Weightless”, “All I Have”, and “A Secret Atlantis”, which explore the themes of a relationship that has lost its way and has come to an end. Pain and grief are palpable in every word, riff, and hook. Tom’s voice is bursting with an emotion that transcends the music and draws you into that moment with him, experiencing the insurmountable loss before him. Englund confirmed there will be videos to support “Weightless” and “All I have” which will be produced by long-term collaborator Patrick Ullaeus of Revolver Film.
The melodic instrumental track “The Tidal” marks the turning point in the albums journey, and we start to move from grief to acceptance, understanding, and eventually hope. This largely synth driven interlude is nebulous and melancholy, but has an underlying lightness that cut through the dark tones of the album. Just as it begins to set an altogether different mood, “End of Silence” cuts in with thundering drums and crunching riffs, before breaking into a stunning piano arrangement, making for an unsettling contrast. This haunting song sets the tone for the second act of the album, with “Currents”, “Departure”, and “The Beacon” moving through the understanding and acceptance of what has been lost, and trying to come to grips with it all in order to find a new way forward. “Departure” is a particularly resonate song, with its bass heavy rhythm offset against the drums, piano, and acoustic guitar. It is here that Tom’s vocals truly shine, and as he explains, “that kind of song-writing is something we’ve enjoyed doing on every album of this trilogy, and this number in particular, sounds like an expedition instead of being arranged like your typical three-and-a-half minute hit.” It can be said that this is true of the album as a whole, with “The Ocean” bringing the story to an open-ended conclusion, hinting that while this journey appears to be ending, it is only truly just beginning, transformed by all that has happened before it.
Featuring stunning cover artwork by Greek artist Giannis Nakos, it serves a perfect visual metaphor for the rough seas endured in The Atlantic. Once again Jacob Hansen returns to mix and master and it is clear listening to the album, that the combination of Englund and Ekdahl on production, with Hansen, as Tom says “sprinkling his magic on it”, has culminated in a plush offering with amazing production values. Tom adds, “As with every album, we’ve given this one our all to come up with the optimum result.” And they certainly have, as every ounce of sound is preserved and it has created a layered and atmospheric soundscape that will sound stunning live. As Tom says, “It’s probably our most complex and progressive release so far, and includes all the elements that our fans love.” I highly recommend listening this for the first time with your headphones on, eyes closed, your favourite drink in hand, and fully embrace the journey this album will take you on.
Join us for an exclusive interview with Tom Englund and Jonas Ekdahl in: part two
Written by: Erik ‘De’Viking’ De’Scathebury
Photos by: Patric Ullaeus
My Global Mind – Reviewer / Music Journalist
Erik De’Scathebury is a freelance music journalist based in the South of England. His musical interests include blues, rock, and metal in all its forms, and he is constantly on the lookout for new bands and genres to discover and later preach about to the masses.
Socials: Twitter: @Erik_DeViking Instagram: @Erik_DeViking Last.FM: @Erik_DeViking Spotify: Erik De’Viking