We had an interesting chat to Jonas Ekdahl of Evergrey a few weeks back regarding, amongst other things, the upcoming album The Storm Within. Then all of a sudden, a blink later and the release date is upon us. The Storm Within should be available for you to ram into your eager earholes this Friday, September 9th.
The album was handed to us before we did the interview, so doing this review has been a chance to revisit it after other music (and Bloodstock) took over our lives in the meantime. I’m now sat wondering why I stopped listening to it for any length of time. The Storm Within is progressive metal at its finest and a fitting tribute to a band celebrating their 20th anniversary.
From the simply, haunting piano-style keys which open “Distance” to the more electronic ones which fade out slowly at the end of the title track and album closer “The Storm Within”, we have eleven tracks of progressive perfection – and this from someone who’s not the biggest fan of the genre. Its the band’s ability to make their music accessible which really drags the listener in and keeps them hooked.
What makes it a winner for me is that the stereotypical prog elements are toned down to the point where this is 90% a heavy rock album, but with something slightly… eccentric about it with the keys and occasional odd rhythmic structure. The musicianship is top notch, the vocals are both well written and well performed, and the whole lot just fits together like the world’s best-made jigsaw puzzle.
I’d normally point the reader to a couple of standout tracks, but in this case I’d just say to make sure that you pay special attention to tracks 1 to 11. The variety in styles throughout makes each one a winner in its own right. The crunching rhythms behind “Someday”, the passionate lyrics in “Passing Through”, Floor Jansen’s wonderful guest appearance on “In Orbit”, “Astray”‘s comparatively heavy tones, “My Allied Ocean”‘s relentless pummelling… It’s not a matter of finding something to like about the album, it’s simply asking “What’s not to like?”
With three videos recorded for the album there’s a fair opportunity to try before you buy, but for fans of heavy rock, progressive metal and classic metal this is a work that should be on your shopping list.
Header image by Patric Ullaeus.