Released: 2016, AFM Records
Returning after 2014’s excellent HYMNS FOR THE BROKEN is Evergrey with their milestone 10th LP. THE STORM WITHIN features the same lineup and eleven new songs that capitalize on the momentum of their previous release. Much as expected, the band finds ways to integrate new sounds and ideas on THE STORM WITHIN while remaining true to their painstakingly developed style through the years. As the band celebrates its 20th anniversary, the new album embraces equally their past and present, while looking confidently to the future.
Englund’s lyrics are once again thought provoking and introspective, while assessing life, the universe, and relationships. Relationships are actually the overarching concept of THE STORM WITHIN. Evergrey has become much more accessible on this album, offering memorable choruses for instance, like the one for “Someday.” “Passing Through” features a modern pop sound in the opening and soul-searching lyrics. Floor Jansen provides guest vocals on “In Orbit”, giving the already strong song an extra dimension. Jansen returns once more near the end of things on the emotional “Disconnect.”
Despite the softer elements in the album such as the piano ballad “The Impossible”, the band still offers plenty of chunky and forceful riffing as displayed on “My Allied Ocean.” Rounding out the guest appearances is “The Paradox of Flame”, where Englund shares vocals with his wife Carina Englund on another soft ballad. Overall, the ballads are not the band’s best, and they rob the project of some momentum. The other tracks though each stand on their own merit, making THE STORM WITHIN a strong album, catchy yet progressive at the same time.
From a performance and sound perspective, everyone delivers. The balance of the mix helps these songs reach their full aural beauty. Doubtless, some fans will find the more subdued and less aggressive approach of some songs unappealing, but Evergrey has clearly gone for a catchy yet melancholic vibe on THE STORM WITHIN. When it succeeds, it is a pleasure to behold, and while it does not surpass classic Evergrey offerings, like RECREATION DAY, it is a worthy representation of where Evergrey is now, 20 years after their beginning.