Evergrace - Evergrace
Ulterium Records
Melodic Heavy Metal
10 songs (42:22)
Release year: 2006
Evergrace, Ulterium Records
Reviewed by Ken
Surprise of the month

I love it when young bands take the time to hone their skills, to achieve an appropriate level of musical maturity, before releasing serious material. With their self-titled debut full-length, Sweden’s Evergrace has done just that. Formed in 2001, Evergrace released two demos—one in 2002, another in 2003—before singer Johan Falk, not content with the state of the band’s music, decided to head off to a music university to perfect his craft. The band was put on life support for the next few years, the other members also taking the time to cultivate and strengthen their craft, only briefly awakening from time to time to play a show or two.

In early 2006 the band was back together full-time, teeming with creativity and life. The band began writing, recording and engineering the album themselves; they found a label home with Ulterium Records, hired Per Ryberg to mix the album, hired Mattias Norén (second only to the almighty Travis Smith) to design the album artwork, and—all within a year!—released their first full-length, an album of pure, straightforward melodic heavy metal in the vein of Tad Morose, Theocracy and Ion Vein, even Circus Maximus, but with only slight progressive elements.

The album opener, “The Escape,” sets the tone, and the bar, early. It’s a great mid-paced anthem with a rollicking groove, an excellent mid-section solo, and a superbly memorable chorus. The album generally rolls on at a mid-paced speed with tracks like “Life Has Just Begun…,” “Alive” and “Ulterior World,” but occasionally things pick up like on “Enough Is Enough,” which borders on power metal at times, and “I Am Sorry For You – Part I.” Alternately, things slow down on a few tracks—showcasing pounding, driving grooves that harkens back to Holy Diver-like greatness—such as “Plastic Ideals,” “I Am You” and “World Of Nothingness.” The album ends with “I Am Sorry For You – Part 2 (Hold On),” a companion piece, orchestral, with piano and a sweet, lulling vocal melody.

Evergrace did well by not pushing themselves early, letting things grow naturally, allowing the band to release one hell of a debut album. Though the tag “melodic” applies, do not doubt, this album is heavy; the guitar tone is deep and crisp, the production is solid, the mix is perfect, the musicianship is outstanding, the vocals are emotive and strong, and, most importantly, the majority of the songs are indelible slabs of metal, instantly memorable, if not very impressive.

Ulterium Records did well by signing Evergrace. You’d do well by buying (read: not downloading, you cheap bastard!) this album and supporting an excellent new band!

AUDIO: The Escape and Album Media Player (Clips)

Note: In time these links will likely becoming outdated.

Killing Songs :
The Escape, Life Has Just Begun..., Alive, Plastic Ideals and I Am You
Ken quoted 85 / 100
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