For nearly two decades, Sweden’s Evergrey has become synonymous with fantastic and often brilliant records of progressive and melodic metal. The band was founded in 1995 by frontman Tom S. Englund, and in 1998, the group’s debut album, The Dark Discovery, was released. Guitarist Henrik Danhage joined in time for the band’s third album, In Search of the Truth; a concept record about alien abductions. Dark conceptual albums would become the hallmark of Evergrey, and by 2004, as the band released perhaps its most seminal work, The Inner Circle, keyboardist Rikard Zander and drummer Jonas Ekdahl were also firmly entrenched in the line-up.
This month, Evergrey released its 10th studio album.The Storm Within is an album about love, and is one of the band’s strongest and most emotive albums to date. The record showcases the group’s continuing growth as songwriters, as well as the exceptional talents of guest vocalists Floor Jansen (Nightwish, ReVamp) and Carina Englund. This past weekend, Metalholic caught up with Tom and Henrik for a quick chat about The Storm Within at ProgPower USA where the band held its listening party.
The Storm Within is such a powerful album. Tell us about the record from your perspective.
Tom: “I think it is an album that is Hymns for the Broken’s bigger brother…darker, less convenient, if you will. It’s a bit more complicated and it demands more of the listener. But when you give it the time it’s supposed to have then a whole world will open up.”
It’s definitely an album that requires repeated listens because every time, it’s like layers, more and more is revealed.
Tom: “Yeah, everybody is not a fast food band. [laughs] We do right things in layers and put a lot of thought into all the tiny details we know you will hear after the third of fourth listen, which I think is a great thing. I’d like an album to be like that.”
You guys have a knack for creating these cinematic soundscapes of loneliness and desolation yet there always seems to be hope in there.
Tom: “Yeah, I don’t know how we do that [laughs]. It is just something that is within us I guess.”
It’s interesting that The Storm Within is sort of this story of contrary love yet you have hailed it as something of a violent album. Can you share what you meant by that?
Tom: “I think I was misinterpreted. This album is about love, and having love and losing it. It’s about all those immoral thoughts, the emotions you go through, where violent thoughts are one of them. It gets really dark and lonely and desolate. I wouldn’t say the album is violent as such, but it’s a heavier, darker album for sure.”
What was the most difficult song on the album to complete the way you wanted it?
Henrik: “Different things can be very difficult to get down. Some of the guitar parts on ‘The Distance” for instance doesn’t sound like nothing, but can be very hard to play. So that took some time for me to put down as far as getting the right vibe and the right sound of the guitar. Other than that, it was a walk in the park.”
Tom: “Yeah, it was actually extremely easy. On the vocal side of things I had some struggles mostly because there was such little amount of time to write and record vocals, but other than that it actually went extremely smooth.”
How long does it take after you complete an album before you can look back at it objectively?
Henrik: “Can you ever?”
Tom: “Yeah, can you ever? I don’t think you can. But I mean, more or less objectively, this album was written and recorded in such a rush. It was a time frame we put on ourselves. We were so into just doing what needed to be done that when we started receiving the first mixed songs from Jacob [Hansen] in Denmark, we didn’t even know which songs it was sometimes [laughs]. They were already sort of forgotten, so that was quite objective, to be honest. Other than that, I don’t know. A few years at least.”
You can check out the full interview with Evergrey below and check out the videos for the new tracks “The Distance” and “The Paradox of the Flame” which were both filmed in Iceland. Evergrey will return to the United States for a full tour in May 2017.