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Evergrey: Escape of the Phoenix

There are a handful of heavy metal bands in the more modern era who for the most part never disappoint from album to album, and one of them is clearly Sweden's Evergrey. Now with a dozen albums in their discography, Escape of the Phoenix comes two years after the excellent The Atlantic, and again the quality of the songwriting and the top notch musicianship shines brightly. Is it power metal? Is it progressive metal? Is it gothic metal? In the end, who really cares, it's just great, melodic, haunting, emotional heavy metal music. Tom Englund and Co. have a knack for delivering genre defying songs that tick all the boxes but at the same time don't, with Tom's always unique, passionate vocals leading the charge at every juncture. Immediately memorable tracks like "Where August Mourns", "A Dandelion Cipher", "Forever Outsider", the crushing "Leaden Saints", and the gloriously beautiful ballad "Stories" hit you hard from the very first listen, and it's great to hear Dream Theater's James LaBrie trading lead vocals with Englund on the majestic "The Beholder". Massive, often times down tuned riffing permeate most of the tracks, with the occasional flashy solo from Henrik Denhage or Englund tossed in for maximum effect, as well as plenty of atmospheric keys from Rikard Zander, coupled with a kick ass rhythm section, make for a winning formula. Other highlights here include the rampaging "Eternal Nocturnal", the grandiose "In the Absence of Sun", and the frantic, complex title track.

Wonderful stuff as always from this veteran Swedish band; it's heavy, thought provoking, emotional, and ultimately quite enjoyable from start to finish. An easy contender for anyone's top releases of 2021 for sure!

Track Listing
1 Forever Outsider
2 Where August Mourn
3 Stories
4 A Dandelion Cipher
5 The Beholder feat. James LaBrie
6 In the Absence of Sun
7 Eternal Nocturnal
8 Escape of the Phoenix
9 You From You
10 Leaden Saints

Added: March 13th 2021
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 1000
Language: english

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