Evergrey – Theories of Emptiness

Evergrey- Theories of Emptiness
Napalm Records
Release Date: 07/06/2024
Running Time: 51:00
Review by Rory Bentley
8.5/10

Sad Bois assemble! Tom S Englund and his gloomy lads are back with another fine addition to their ridiculous hot streak! It should be no surprise to see my name on this review if you’ve read my foaming 9/10 reach around back in 2022 when I reviewed the fantastic “A Heartless Portrait”, which reduced myself and the other Evergrey stans on the website to a blubbering mess of smudged eyeliner- and that was just the lads! Now a mere two years on we get treated to more anthemic melancholy from the smoothe shredding Swedes.

By now you’ll know what to expect of Evergrey- crunching low-end riffs, slick songwriting, sumptuous solos and the sexiest pipes in the game from Tomas. This is all present and correct on stonking opener ‘Fallen from the Sun’, which has a chorus to die for and a nasty riff to die from, but the main thing that hit me was the huge step up in production. This thing sounds absolutely massive, whether I was playing it off my iPhone like a  peasant or running that bad boy through my big old Marshall speaker like a don, the band have never sounded more triumphant and god damn powerful.

‘Misfortune’ really drives this point home, less abrasive and more pop-driven, the mix sees the chorus absolutely explode out of the song with layers and layers of ‘whoah’s coming across like a tolerable Imagine Dragons, which I’m as weirded out about as you are. But trust me- this is an outstanding song that I will be hollering along to with my arms around my friends when the band tear up Blooders in a couple of months. That is when I’m not embarrassingly air-shredding my Hardcore cred away to yet another masterful solo.

The hits keep coming on the sublime ‘To Become Someone Else’ where those beautiful keys and synths dovetail with meaty riffs and one of Tomas’s most tear-jerking stints on the mic in  a long old time. Please don’t become someone else you silver-lunged hunk! This is followed up by abrasive, fist-pumping rager ‘Say’, which gets pulses racing and sets the stage for the album’s brooding highlight, the majestic ‘Ghost of My Hero’. 

Beautiful, elegant and a little Doomy, this is the kind of frostbitten mega ballad that nobody does better than Evergrey. The dynamic shift from delicate piano to hulking melodic angst is gorgeous and as expected the vocal performance is soulful and weathered to the point of being almost unbearably gorgeous, particularly as the orchestra swells over Englund’s melismatic runs. It’s absolutely stunning from front to back and my lip was quivering like a faulty tumble dryer on the first listen and it only gets more emosh the more I listen to it.

Like many good Evergrey records there’s an absolute belter of a guest vocal. On ‘Cold Dreams’ the band bring in the gloomy pipes of a man so melancholy he makes Morrissey sound like Sam Ryder, Katatonia’s Jonas Renske. Teaming up with Englund’s daughter Salina, the pair add their beautiful distinctive tones to the elder Englund’s like a three-headed sorrow machine that happens to know their way around a banging tune, marvellous stuff.

Where the album doesn’t quite click for me is the closing title track, which doesn’t quite stick the landing. Instrumental and spoken word it feels a little slight and nebulous, possibly better served as an intro track or left off altogether. As I hold the band to such high standards I would have much preferred a serene ballad to put a bow on things, or maybe to go out on an upbeat high on previous track ‘Our Way Through Silence’.

In all candour though, I’m nitpicking and this is another marvellous addition to the immaculate catalogue of one of the finest Melodic Metal bands in the genre’s history. It sounds like a million quid, the songs are as strong as they’ve ever been and the band still feel more fired up than ever. As I said to the website group chat within minutes of my first listen- these motherfuckers don’t miss!

TRACKLISTING:

01.    Falling From the Sun
02.    Misfortune
03.    To Become Someone Else
04.    Say
05.    Ghost of My Hero
06.    We Are the North
07.    One Heart
08.    The Night Within
09.    Cold Dreams (feat. Jonas Renkse, Salina Englund)
10.   Our Way Through Silence
11.   A Theory of Emptiness

LINE-UP:

Tom S. Englund – vocals, guitars
Henrik Danhage – guitars
Rikard Zander – keys
Jonas Ekdahl – drums
Johan Niemann – bass

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Rory Bentley and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.