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Review: Evergrey - The Storm Within
The Storm Within

Label: AFM Records
Year released: 2016
Duration: 58:23
Tracks: 11
Genre: Progressive Power Metal


Review online: September 2, 2016
Reviewed by: Bruno Medeiros
Readers' Rating
How do you rate this release?

Rated 2.43/5 (48.57%) (14 Votes)

Let me start this review by saying that I've been following Evergrey since their first full-length album, The Dark Discovery. I was especially lured into the band in the In Search of Truth and Recreation Day era, which showed a magnificent capability to write music by Tom Englund. After that, though, I was left with an eternal emptiness caused by bland and uninspired albums such as Monday Morning Apocalypse, Torn and Glorious Collision. So, would The Storm Within follow the path of the shitty pop music travestied as "deep and personal music" seen in the previous endeavors or would we be graced with a dark, layered and competent Prog/Power Metal as executed so many years ago by the same act? Well, I hated this album, so you get an idea of which path Englund and friends chose to walk.

But I digress. My personal taste in Heavy Metal music cannot have an impact on a review, even more so when, despite having basically the same issues of the past 10 years, The Storm Within has a little – very little - glimpse of quality. The 10th full length by the Swedish quintet mixes things up a little bit in the songwriting department, mainly in the form of distorted riffs and faster songs – allied to a couple of dense bits – elements that were missing from the creation process for a while now. "Distance" opens the album with a melancholic piano intro and then bursts into a groovy and lead-driven atmosphere. This achieves what many other songs featured here can't: to create a sad and dark aura with its chorus (rather forced emotionally, but decent nevertheless). "Passing Through" quickly drops the ball and falls into that sad "pop music" vibe, and shows absolutely no power or effectiveness, but an attempt to a catchy song driven by a melodic chorus, which turns around and bites you in the ass by becoming hazardous to your ears, mainly because of the vocal lines that have very little to do with Heavy Metal and the weird keyboard arrangements. "Someday" picks up the pieces of the previous train-wreck and actually manages to deliver what Tom Englund was definitely desperate to do: a haunting and depressive chorus inside a riff-filled track, which has some sort of meaning and profoundness – even if so little, but I don't expect much anyway – in the lyrics.

From here on, the album gradually loses steam and we end up with a bunch of mediocre tracks that don't quite have anything to offer. There's a decent duet between Englund and Floor Jansen on "In Orbit" and another one of the "special appearances" by Englund's wife Carina Englund on "The Paradox of the Flame", but nothing worth mentioning with emphasis. "The Lonely Monarch" "Disconnect" and "The Storm Within" use the same patterns as "Passing Through": the lyrics force an emotional atmosphere that just isn't there, and while the execution is spot-on, they all lack inspiration and heart, feeling too mechanical and sometimes even fake. Evergrey always tries to write meaningful music but often ends up delivering efforts that – as a result of trying too hard and almost always being pretentious – sound too much like commercialism and too little like well-thought, straight-from-the-heart Heavy Metal.

If I were to give a personal rating for The Storm Within, it would be something between 0 and 1, as I find this kind of approach to Heavy Metal unappealing and of no use to the scene, not to mention really annoying. Nevertheless, as I said before, a review can't be personal, and the album has its qualities, such as crystal-clear production, competent execution and one or two passable tracks, so I'll give it half a point more. If you enjoy this "unique" sort of approach to the Prog/Power Metal subgenre that Evergrey have been playing for a while now, then by all means buy this album and then go shoot yourself in the balls because you won't be needing them anymore. But if you are, like me, a little more sceptical and prefer something less commercial and wimpy, stay the fuck away from this "emo metal" shit and go listen to decent music.

More about Evergrey...
Review: A Night to Remember (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: Escape of the Phoenix (reviewed by Christian Renner)
Review: Recreation Day (reviewed by Christopher Foley)
Review: Solitude Dominance Tragedy (reviewed by Larry Griffin)
Review: The Dark Discovery (reviewed by Christopher Foley)
Review: The Inner Circle (reviewed by Larry Griffin)
Review: Torn (reviewed by Christopher Foley)
Review: Torn (reviewed by Larry Griffin)
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