Everdawn – Cleopatra

Cleopatra Album Cover Art

Everdawn – Cleopatra
Sensory Records
Release Date: 05/02/2021
Running Time: 48:05
Review by Simon Black

Symphonic Metal has been all over my deck these last few weeks – literally half a dozen Symphonic / Progressive releases with their lengthy complex story arcs and need for that little more attention to detail on the reviewing have crossed my desk since Christmas. With time on their hands and less possibility for live interactions, it seems like there’s a veritable glut of releases in the genre, with many bands going to the extremes of possibility in an attempt to stretch themselves in these crazy conditions we find ourselves in. This is no bad thing and feels like a minor reboot of the early 70’s Prog movement that started making music be all about albums rather than singles, because let’s face it you have no choice but to listen to the whole thing when reviewing a concept record. The problem with so many of these records is that they can drag on somewhat, especially when they are self-released and there is no label or management pressure on the band to tighten things up. Sometimes this is a chore (especially when you’ve been sent record two or three of an extended story arc and have to go back and understand what went before), sometimes an enjoyable challenge and sometimes, as here, an absolute delight.

New Jersey’s Everdawn are technically a new act, although in reality a rebranding of Midnight Eternal, although the musical core of that act retains in place but with the addition of Gavrilenko on vocals and Symphony X’s Mike LePond on bass. It’s a concept piece (of course) but that actually doesn’t matter. This record opens with a punch straight into the first full track ‘Ghost Shadow Requiem’ without the obligatory introductory track. And what a start – with its complex but catchy instrumentals, this is hook laden and well written music. Vocally the operatic Alina Gavrilenko has exactly the same vocal wow factor that you expect from the top end of the genre. The danger with so many of the bands ploughing this furrow is they get distracted by their own technical brilliance and forget that this music has to be engaging and just plain rock. The top tier acts in the genre, like Nightwish never forget this, and I am glad Everdawn don’t need schooling on this fact either. That’s why the concept is not so key – each and every track stands well on its own and avoids being an overlong epic, and the concept is just an extra layer of interest to unpick.

Think Delain, but with a clear galloping pace and rockin’ rhythm that you expect from the input that LePond brings (and who can blame him when the gap between album cycle on Symphony X is so long). Musically there is an absolute tightness on delivery, although the keyboard and guitar work does not rely on sparring interplay as much as other similar acts, although this does matter as it retains a tight focus on achieving good all-round song-writing rigour through ten of the eleven tracks on here. They can deliver that interplay when needed though, as the purely instrumental ‘Toledo 712 A.D.’ proves, so it’s more a case of focusing on delivering well-crafted songs than showing off. Either way this is a rich sounding act that sounds confident, technically brilliant but still with enough of an ear to the ground to keep the song writing accessible for those who might not normally gravitate in this direction. More please.

01. Ghost Shadow Requiem
02. Stranded In Bangalore
03. Cleopatra
04. Your Majesty Sadness
05. Infinity Divine
06. Pariah’s Revenge
07. Lucid Dream
08. Heart Of A Lion
09. Toledo 712 A.D.
10. Rider Of The Storm
11. The Last Eden

Alina Gavrilenko – Lead Vocals
Richard Fischer – Guitars, Vocals
Mike LePond – Bass
Dan Prestup – Drums
Boris Zaks – Keyboards


Everdawn Promo Pic

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