Evergrey – A Heartless Portrait (The Orphean Testament)

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With their thirteenth studio album and debut for Napalm Records, Gothenburg's finest export of darkness for 25 years, Evergrey, delivers a follow-up to 'Escape of the Phoenix', their last album which was a bit underexposed due to the pandemic that hit the world. 'A Heartless Portrait (The Orphean Testament)' takes you on a journey through progressive heaviness, accentuated with melancholy inspired lyrics.

Founder, singer and guitarist Tom S. Englund is known for his typical, very recognizable voice which suits nicely the progressive and heavy melodic metal he is magically painting with his guitar riffs. Consisting of 10 tracks the album opens up with the pounding opener ‘Save Us’and  great groovy riff that just wants you to bang your head. The dramatic vocals of Tom do the rest. They invited their fans to join them and recorded hundreds of voices that ended up on the final result. What an opener this is.  ‘Midwinter Calls’ follows with chopped guitar riffs and bombastic voices that crawl their way into your head. The part where the keyboard are duetting with the main voice gives a nice contrast before hitting the commercial chorus. On this song there is again a fan participation in the form of atmospheric audience recordings from the band’s latest tour through Sweden. ‘Ominous’ showcases what an excellent singer Tom actually is. This song gives me a feeling of a very melodic Pain Of Salvation. ‘The Orphean Testament’, the title track, has a great groovy riffing vibe with beautiful solos and pounding drums. Nevertheless, this could have been a bit shorter, it would have made the song even more powerful.

I have the impression that Evergrey has been listening to Pain Of Salvation for this one as ‘Reawakening’ gives again a that vibe although less progressive and far more melodic. ‘The Great Unwashed’ starts with an eastern sounding solo that gives a lot of tension to the song before going over in slowly groovy riffing parts. A sensitive introduction lures the listener into ‘Heartless’ . Great musicianship and arrangements give the song a very nice dynamic feel. With ‘Blindfolded’  they return a bit to their roots, touching classics like ‘Blinded’ and ‘A Touch Of Blessing’, The multivoicing chorus makes this one of the best songs on the album. The album ends with a goosebump-worthy ballad that hurts and heals all at once. 

‘A Heartless Portrait (The Orphean Testament)’ is again an excellent album. This is band is pretty underrated and I hope from the bottom of my heart that with this one they will finally get the recognition they have been so hard working for. An album that consists of pure poetry in every word , every note deserves a lot of attention from the scene. If you are familiar with Evergrey, you alreadyknow what they stand for and you won’t be disappointed. If you don’t know them, give them a listen, you might be surprised.

REVIEW SCORE

  • Music / Songwriting 8/10
  • Vocals / Lyrics 9/10
  • Mix / Production 8/10
  • Artwork & Packaging 9/10
  • Originality 8/10
8.4

Excellent riffing and musicianship as we are used to from Evergrey. A very good production delivered with nice artwork and poetry in every note and word.

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