EVERGREY – Escape Of The Phoenix

EVERGREY - Escape Of The Phoenix
  • 8/10
    EVERGREY - Escape of The Phoenix - 8/10


AFM Records
Release date: February 26, 2021

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Swedish Prog Metal Rising

This week sees the release of the 12th full length album from Progressive Metal veterans Evergrey titled The Escape of the Phoenix on AFM Records. The album is the follow up to 2019’s The Atlantic, and unlike it’s previous release is not part of an ongoing story. The change in theme has allowed vocalist/guitarist Tom S. Englund (Redemption, ex- Caedes) to draw inspiration across a spectrum from his own personal experiences and relationships, to his view of the world, and of mankind. Co-writing the album is drummer Jonas Ekdahl (Death Destruction, ex-In Flames), adding his unique talents to the compositions. The lineup includes Henrik Danhage on guitars, Rikard Zander on keyboards and Johan Niemann on the bass guitar.

Under Lockdown

Written and recorded during the ongoing global Covid-19 pandemic, Escape Of The Phoenix came to life according to plan as envisioned back in 2019. Tom S. Englund and drummer Jonas Ekdahl began composing the songs in January of 2020, creating a foundation for the album before Evergrey gathered together and arranged the songs as a group. Unlike the typical album creation process, lockdown requirements gave the band much needed time to work unhindered, allowing for more focus. Escape Of The Phoenix was produced by Tom S. Englund and Jonas Ekdahl, allowing for their musical vision to be refined and released as envisioned.

Favorite Tracks

“Forever Outsider” fires right out of the gates and is a good album opener. Another strong contender is “A Dandelion Cipher” with it’s excellent changes in dynamics, catchy riffs and ethereal layers of vocals and keyboards. “The Beholder” features a duet with guest vocalist James LaBrie (Dream Theater) that reminds us of early recordings off of Images and Words with its lush reverbs and delays. One of the heavier tunes that deserves mention at track #10 is “Leaden Saint”, which may be the most Progressive Metal composition on the album, as well as one of the catchiest and moodiest.

Final Notes

Escape of the Phoenix has a good number of slow-to-ballad type songs which makes the album tend to drag. The vocals are solid, but are always drenched in thick reverbs and delays that at times take away the edge of Tom S. Englund’s voice. Considering that the album feels very much more like Melodic Metal as opposed to Progressive Metal, the vocals seem a bit low in the mix. All in all, it’s a good effort that might have come off stronger with a few tweaks and a little better pacing. That said, Evergrey fans, and Melodic Metal fans will find plenty here on The Escape of The Phoenix to make it worth their time and money.

Evergrey -band photo


Tom S. Englund – vocals, guitars
Henrik Danhage – guitars
Rikard Zander – keyboards
Johan Niemann – bass
Jonas Ekdahl – drums

Escape of The Phoenix – Tracklist

01 – Forever Outsider
02 – Where August Mourn
03 – Stories
04 – A Dandelion Cipher
05 – The Beholder (feat. James LaBrie)
06 – In the Absence of Sun
07 – Eternal Nocturnal
08 – Escape of The Phoenix
09 – You From You
10 – Leaden Saints
11 – Run
12 – The Darkness in You


  • Bryce Van Patten

    Bryce is an audio engineer and a graphic designer here at Metal Express Radio. From the day he purchased his first album (Machine Head by Deep Purple), he has had a passion for heavy music, which has influenced his whole life. Bryce is from the great Pacific Northwest in USA, and has played in metal bands like Babylon, Holy Terror, The Wild Dogs, Warhead and Egypt through the 80s. He had his first interview for the Portland, Oregon publication The Rock Rag with guitarist Paul Gilbert in his Racer X days. Then he was honored to get to have drinks, and talk for an hour with the legendary Dan McCafferty of Nazareth for his second interview. In 2013, he spent an amazing hour talking to Andi Deris of Helloween, which was the high point of his heavy metal journalism.   In the year 2001, he formed Man in Black Music Publishing. They released recordings by several local bands, and in the spirit of the old Metal Massacre compilations, he created a 2-album series called The Defenders of Metal. The albums featured classic styled Metal bands from all around the world, with bands from Australia to England, and from Argentina to Russia. Currently, he is the producer/creator/vocalist of the Metal band The Black Tuesdays.

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