Everdawn - Cleopatra
Sensory Records
Symphonic Metal
11 songs (47'56")
Release year: 2021
Sensory Records
Reviewed by Alex

When I saw the name Everdawn at first I thought that long defunct melodic death/thrash metallers from Sweden are trying to get resurrected. Poems – Burn the Past is a terribly produced but extremely engaging Slaughter of the Soul clone. But then I noticed The missing in front of Everdawn and Cleopatra being released on Sensory Records. I knew then I am in for something totally different. Turns out there is a story behind the band’s moniker and Everdawn, in a way, is a total opposite of the band’s previous name Midnight Eternal which had to be abandoned because of the conflict with the band’s previous female vocalist. Not knowing of that drama and not familiar with Everdawn/Midnight Eternal earlier release, Cleopatra for me is a clean slate, stately cover art, play on historical drama and the promise of Mike LePond of gazillion different bands contributing his bass guitar for Everdawn holding a lot of intrigue.

Whoever Everdawn’s female vocalist was in the past Alina Gavrilenko, formerly of Russia but now residing in Canada, is an absolute gem for the band. Obviously a classically trained operatic singer, her chesty clean soprano delivers and, frankly speaking, saves every single song on Cleopatra. Why am I saying “saves”? The first trio of tracks had me hooked and I was turning into a believer. Ghost Shadow Requiem unleashed symphonic grandeur and is, or at least should be, Everdawn’s flagship song. Stranded in Bangalore is slightly different rhythmically, somewhere between Middle Eastern and Indian, which makes its chorus especially interesting. And the title track, from its dreamy verse to double bass chorus to heroic end, with guitars now for sure emphasizing Middle Eastern theme, is tailor made for Alina to impersonate a famous Egyptian queen. Yet things settle into a mid-pace and somewhat repetitive groove from there , where Alina’s magnificent efforts pull the most weight. Comparisons with Tarja Turunen or Floor Jensen are legitimate and Everdawn are lucky to have her.

The songs themselves, however, it is if Everdawn want to take a powerful plunge, but almost restrain themselves, burying and burrowing instead into progressively colored and nimble keyboard ornamented sameness (Lucid Dream). To wish for a change of pace on an album in the form of a ballad would be a sinful wish, but even then semi-balladic opening of Pariah’s Revenge teases, yet moves on with now all too familiar double bass explosion. Keys are prominent and Everdawn guitars are undoubtedly skilled and roll with richness of scattered shiny diamonds, but someone needs to convince me songs like Infinity Divine, Heart of a Lion, Rider of the Storm or The Last Eden with their similar double bass gallops are special. If this was edited to an EP, Cleopatra would have been a candidate for my release of the month, but for 48 minutes I don’t see here enough of constantly captivating material. Also, as well as it is produced in all other aspects, bass drum and bass guitar particularly vibrant, weak snare drum plagues the album throughout, its weakness especially emphasized by the aforementioned lower pulsating frequencies.

It has been a long time since I listened to a Sensory record, so I was quite excited and somewhat intimidated as at times in the past I found myself confused by some of the prog bands who called Sensory home. Not only was Cleopatra not convoluted and I was able to comprehend every song, instead, if anything, Everdawn didn’t dare me enough with Cleopatra. The potential is absolutely there and the band can be a leader in the US symphonic metal genre if songwriting becomes more diverse. If you are fan of Nightwish or Edenbridge, please disregard my comments, add 10 points and seek Cleopatra immediately.

Killing Songs :
Ghost Shadow Requiem, Stranded in Bangalore, Cleopatra
Alex quoted 72 / 100
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