Review: Evergrey – Hymns For The Broken

Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Genre: Prog/Power Metal
Released: September 26, 2014
Format Reviewed: FLAC
Feature: Global Conquest – Recent Releases

By: Kris Kotlarik

Evergrey has been around for a long time. Nine albums and 19 years later, they seem to be hitting the same wall over and over again.

In a contrast to how I normally feel about most album introductions, I actually had my hopes set pretty high after this short, melancholic piece. It would have set the stage beautifully for a long, emotional concept album, or at least a series of songs united on a loose concept such as loss, like the introduction portrayed. But the next track, “King Of Errors,” is a midtempo number that doesn’t match up with the introduction at all. In general, the vibe is uneven and uneasy. By design? Probably, but it doesn’t work very well.

On top of the uneven flow, there are a couple of glaring problems. First, many of the tracks follow the pattern set by Threshold’s latest effort, in which one could take the chorus from one song and transplant it relatively easily onto another without incident. And secondly, “Missing You” is almost unbearable. It’s only slightly better than Sonata Arctica’s “Love” off their newest album, and that song is entirely unbearable. There are also some cringe-worthy lyrics, including from the otherwise-decent closer, “The Aftermath.”

Most of the tracks are unremarkable (several, such as the title track and “Wake A Change,” barely registered a reaction), but there are a few gems here, all in the second half. “Barricades” is solid and has some serious wanking going on in the guitar solo. “The Fire” is surprisingly heavy, even with the addition of what appears to be a children’s choir, and “Grand Collapse” has some unexpected “chugga” riffs and packs a pretty decent punch. Other tracks, such as “Archaic Rage” and “Black Undertow,” both in the second half, have good moments in the middle but are otherwise uneventful.

If you venture out for the deluxe edition, they contain two piano versions of tracks from this album, including a different take on the vocals, and a piano reboot of “These Scars,” from 2008’s Torn. These covers are a nice spin from those who want to break away from the Katatonia/Sabaton infusion. And there is some Sabaton sound in here. “These Scars,” in particular, is worth a look.

Overall: Another positive to take away is that Tom Englund still has some nice pipes. But the songwriting isn’t up to par, and that really hurts.

Rating: 3.0*


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