Evergrey take advantage of the time available with tours being canceled to focus on the recording of their 12th album, Escape of the Phoenix, which adds to their already impressive collection of progressive metal.
Since the release of The Dark Discovery in 1998, the Swedish band Evergrey has been putting their mark on progressive metal. Being a productive band, now in their 26th year, the band has released 12 albums including a live double cd with the Gothenburg Symphonic Orchestra, all the while enduring lineup changes and touring the globe, and dealing with recording during a global pandemic. With the release of The Glorius Collision in 2011 guitarist Marcus Jidell and drummer Hannes van Dahl departed the band and were replaced by Henrik Danhage (guitar) and Jonas Ekdahl (drums). This lineup has remained constant and produced Hymns for the Broken (2014) and The Storm Within (2016). Early 2019 saw the release of The Atlantic, which was one of my top albums in 2019 and thought by many to be the third album in a trilogy from this lineup. Enter Covid-19 and 2020 and the band’s tours canceled, giving them the opportunity to record Escape of the Phoenix with Grammy-nominated producer Jacob Hansen (Volbeat, Amaranthe) and without the usual distractions.
After the epic nature of The Atlantic, which made so many Top 10 album lists, my hopes were impossibly high for I. Following a quick, short drum burst, the lead track “Forever Outsider” basically picks up where The Atlantic ended. Interesting drum work, heavy main riff, great guitar solo, and Tom Englund’s heavy, dark, and smooth vocal delivery matched with a strong sense of melody make the opening track a great listen and raise the expectations for the rest of the album.