Don't ever let it be said that progressive metal lacks "metal," especially when you reference bands like Evergrey. In the consistently morphing world of "progressive," many acts have blurred the lines of what many of us remember as metal, but Evergrey keeps reinforcing just how great the subgenre could be. "The Atlantic" represents the third in a trilogy story arc that began with "Hymns for the Broken" in 2014 and continuing with "The Storm Within" in 2016. With "The Atlantic" the band stirs up an ocean's worth of emotion and ratchets up the tone of the riffs even sharper, persistently enforcing the sheer power of the band's current (and superior) lineup.
Just taking the raw emotion of Evergrey's consistently great material alone ranks them as one of the darlings of the metal world. Add to the equation the immense talent and there are few bands that can match up pound for pound. Since Henrik Danhage's return in 2014, the band has only written stronger material, in my opinion exceedingly better than at any point in the band's career. Perhaps its the lyrical subject matter that just hits harder, relationship issues wrapped up in the perfect metaphor of storms, waves and darkness.
Tom Englund's voice, while never soaring to the rafter like that of a Russell Allen, represents the perfect manly union of bad ass and romantic. I'm perfectly secure in my masculinity to admit that I'm both in love with it and flat out jealous. There is a reason why there is such universal respect and praise when you hear him sing songs in the last two records like "Missing You," "Barricades," "Distance," "The Paradox of the Flame" and now on "The Atlantic" with "Departure," "Weightless" and "End of Silence."
With Englund and drummer Jonas Ekdahl co-producing once again and the great Jacob Hansen back on mixing - the formula responsible for the brilliant sound and meteorologic rise during the trilogy is back. Expertly recorded and wonderfully mixed, "The Atlantic" keeps the edges sharp, and by god making Johan Neimann's bass sound extra thundering.
"The Atlantic" swells with beautiful and haunting melodies on strong efforts like "A Silent Arc," "The Beacon" " and one of the album's best - "A Secret Atlantis." While nothing quite compares to the utter earth crushing meltdown of "The Grand Collapse" on "Hymns for the Broken" - "The Atlantic" is unrelenting with tons of girth on songs like "Currents," the ironically entitled "Weightless," "All I Have" and the aforementioned "A Silent Arc." Sadly, the only thing missing is that perfect piano driven signature ballad, something I've come to rely on. The power ballad "End of Silence" comes close...but trading quiet reverence for more heaviness is never a bad thing.
Evergrey continues its ascent, making each album just a bit better than the previous while never losing the signature elements that have made the band great. While some fans will always relate better to and crave earlier material, the truth is that Evergrey is permeating the world with its best songwriting now, hitting on all cylinders in terms of sound and talent than at any other time in the band's career.
Label: AFM Records (buy the album here)
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