Evergrey - Theories of Emptiness album

Evergrey – Theories of Emptiness (Album Review)

Evergrey band 2024

While some of Sweden’s most celebrated Metal bands may be Opeth, In Flames, and Amon Amarth, Evergrey certainly deserved their share of recognition as well. Formed thirty years ago by Guitarist and Lead Vocalist Tom S. Englund, Evergrey are a band that has steadily progressed, yet seldom ever repeated themselves. Something that has been evident from album to album, the one constant through it all has always been their blend of the darkness and light. Known for their thoughtful subject matter that deal with the complexity of human emotion, the frailty of the mind, among many other topics, it is not outlandish to label Evergrey as the thinking individual’s Metal band.

First introduced to audiences in 1998 with the debut album The Dark Discovery, through twists and turns, there have been many highlights since; this includes 2003’s Recreation Day, 2006’s Monday Morning Apocalypse, and 2021’s Escape of the Phoenix. A handful of bold moments over the band’s existence, in truth, each album they have put out is its own entity with a distinctive mood separate from the other. An aspect that could turn off some listeners looking for a linear line of consistency, those who appreciate a more forward-thinking form of creative experimentation, eagerly await the time new material emerges. That is why it comes with a mounting curiosity as Evergrey prepares to release their brand-new album Theories of Emptiness on June 7, 2024.

Their second consecutive full-length with Napalm Records, Theories of Emptiness marks the fourth of a string of albums released in the last six years. A testament to their proficiency, looking at the broader picture, Evergrey has averaged an album every two years throughout most of their existence. Considering the detail put into each work, this feat is nothing less than impressive, but with that, Theories of Emptiness challenges as one of the band’s most stimulating work yet.

Yet another exploration into sound, joining Englund is the stable lineup of Guitarist Henrik Danhage, Keyboardist Rikard Zander, Bassist Johan Niemann, and newly added Drummer Jonas Ekdahl. Together they unify a sea of tingling instrumentation that make up a total of eleven new songs. Ambitious as ever, early previews such as “Falling From The Sun” and “Say” only scratch the surface of what is behind the door leading into Theories of Emptiness

Emotionally driven, amidst each song their is universally a strong sense of finding the will to triumph over obstacles in front of you. A sentiment that has been expressed in other Evergrey material, it reminds you that only you hold the key to your salvation. A powerful messaging that is truly about inner strength, the songs of Theories of Emptiness are heavy, melodic, and full of bright vocal performances by Englund where he soars high, yet not without an inflection that grabs hold of your heart. 

Featuring some extremely hooky choruses, Englund essentially dominates on all the songs here, but clear standouts have to include the impossible to forget “Misfortune,” a saturation of ambience heard on “Say,” “One Heart,” with its chant-along motivational sensation, and “The Night Within,” which marries various elements of progressive keyboards and razor-sharp guitars. Joining these you also“Cold Dreams” where Katatonia’s Jonas Renkse along with Englund’s daughter Salina, joins in for a completely mesmerizing, haunting listen. Beyond this, you also cannot overlook the aforementioned “Falling From The Sun” acting as the perfect table setter for this album. 

Overall, Evergrey continues to prove they are not afraid to step into the unknown with their musical approach. Remaining true to their dark, melancholic brand of Heavy Metal, additionally, Theories of Emptiness has elements of Hard Rock mixed into its fabric as well. A factor that could open the band up to higher praise, perhaps Theories of Emptiness is the record that awakens a broader audience to how exceptional they really are. 

In all, this album is progressive, heavy and textured, yet has moments that crossover into something a bit more accessible. Bold, if you are a fan of Evergrey you will surely appreciate the care put into these songs, but if you are new to them, welcome, there is a lot to discover. That is why Cryptic Rock gives Theories of Emptiness 4.5 out of 5 stars.   

Evergrey - Theories of Emptiness album
Evergrey – Theories of Emptiness / Napalm Records (2024)

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