AFM Records Release Date: 26th February 2021
Hard to believe, but “Escape Of The Phoenix” is the 12th album of those Swedish prog metallers! And no signs of boredom or ageing… that’s already made clear with the opening track Forever Outsider. On this album you find everything from soulful ballads (Stories) to brutal-almost-Thrash-metal tracks, e.g. the title song.
Written and recorded during the ongoing global Covid-19 pandemic, “Escape Of The Phoenix“ came to life according to plans that had been laid out in 2019. Englund and drummer Jonas Ekdahl began composing the songs in January, creating a foundation for the album before EVERGREY gathered together and arranged the songs as a group. Unlike a typical creative process, which is often interrupted by appointments, travelling and one-off shows, lockdown requirements gave the band much needed time to work unhindered. The result is 11 songs that embody everything EVERGREY fans have to expect, albeit “a more metal version of “The Atlantic”, with songs that are more direct” according to Englund and producer Jacob Hansen.
“Escape Of The Phoenix” continues to showcase Englund as a powerful lyricist as he once again digs deep into himself, only this time he wasn’t restricted by the story developed and told over the previous three albums. With this new freedom he was able to write about whatever came to mind, with subjects ranging from intensely personal, his view of the world, mankind, and personal relationships.
After such brilliant release like „The Atlantic“, a fan’s expectations are of course high for the successor. And surely Evergrey can’t really do anything wrong, Escape Of The Phoenix is certainly a must-have: overall high quality, catchy melodies and diverse song material. However, at first I was missing an instant hit, a persistent earworm, an almost addictive track just like “Weightless”. When listening more often it becomes clear that almost every song has ear candy character and Dandelion Cipher, The Beholder (featuring James LaBrie) or Leaden Saint do have superhit quality… that actually the whole album is one damn catchy earworm.
Conclusion: Once again, high quality from house Evergrey – check it out.
Evergrey: Tom S. Englund (vocals, guitars), Henrik Danhage (guitars), Rikard Zander (keyboards), Johan Niemann (bass), Jonas Ekdahl (drums)