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Evergrey - Hymns For The Broken

Label: AFM
Format: CD download
Released: 2014
Reviewed By: Mark Gromen
Rating: 8.5/ 10


The best Evergrey songs/album have always been dynamic: a mix of whispered melancholy and triumphant bombast. Re-energized by the return of guitarist Henrik Danhage and drummer Jonas Ekdahl, the Swedes unleash a worth “return to form”, sitting nicely next to “Recreation Day” and “The Inner Circle”. The song titles read like a therapy session.

 

Eleven proper tracks (apart from ‘The Awakening’ intro, which leads directly into first single ‘King Of Errors’, the video for which sees founder/guitarist/singer Tom Englund getting a serious Bear Grylls workout). Said upbeat song makes prominent use of staccato keyboard and military cadence drumming. Lots of ear candy guitarwork throughout these Hymns, beginning with the powerful ‘A New Dawn’, but also evident within ‘Barricades’. Built on the back of piano undercurrent (including sporadic, gradually building intro), the more subdued ‘Wake A Change’ offers the emotional yin to the aggro yang. Only on the second half of ‘Archaic Rage’ lives up to its name, otherwise subtly is the name of the game, before employing more hushed voice-overs and children's voices towards the conclusion. Sounding slightly more modern, the aforementioned ‘Barricades’ kicks off amid a swirl of electronic effects. After a mellow ‘Black Undertow’, a child chorus enhanced, stop-start delivery of ‘The Fire’ feels even more aggressive. The title track is a mid-tempo summation of the total Evergrey experience. If you have just one song to play someone, to explain what the band is about, this would do the trick. ‘Missing You’ is a short (3:25) piano ballad, where the titular phrase comprises most of the lyrics. Ambitious as it sounds, ‘The Grand Collapse’ (see what I mean about these titles?) features a helicopter fly-by! What follows a collapse, ‘The Aftermath’, naturally. Here, it's also the impassioned finale, complete with symphonic strings and bits of slide guitar. “Hymns For The Broken” sounds pretty complete to me!

 
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