Everdawn – Cleopatra Review

4.0ldeneye gets all the attention around these parts when it comes to the topic of overrating.1 I try to be more reasonable with the scores I dish out than my fellow Pacific Northwestern coworker, but I admit I feel I have slipped under the radar with the multitude of high scores I have handed out, particularly to bands hovering in the symphonic metal sphere. If you frequent this blog often, then I hope you are already aware that 3.0 out of 5.0 is a good score on this review site. Not just ok. Good. 3.5 is very good, and 4.0s are reserved only for great albums, despite the rating scheme 4.0ldeneye seems to have internalized.2 And let’s just forget about discussing the elusive 5.0. My point is, I’ve dished out my fair share of very good and above scores, and this review of Everdawn‘s Cleopatra is yet another example. Trust me, though. The score is justified.3

Everdawn is a symphonic metal band hailing from New Jersey. After their first album and a falling out with members of their original lineup, the band formally known as Midnight Eternal rechristened themselves as Everdawn and brought vocalist Alina Gavrilenko and Mike LePond, renowned bassist of Symphony X, onboard. I realize it’s a cliché comparison, but my first listen to Cleopatra immediately brought Nightwish to mind due to similarities in Gavrilenko and Floor’s powerhouse vocals. Everdawn as a whole, though, most closely resembles Finnish symphonic power metal band Amberian Dawn.

The individual performances on Cleopatra shine bright and are easily Everdawn‘s greatest strength. First track “Ghost Shadow Requiem” starts off with a bang, featuring speedy riffing and captivating solo guitar work. Gavrilenko’s rock style vocals shine on “Your Majesty Sadness” alongside a guest appearance by Therion vocalist, Thomas Vikström. The keyboard solo on the theatrical “Pariah’s Revenge” is absolutely bonkers, while instrumental “Toledo 712 A.D. (instr.)” features more synths and impressive guitar soloing. Lastly, it would be a crime not to call out the pure fun of sprightly “Stranded in Bangalore” with a key change that delights me to no end.

My main grievance with Cleopatra is the fact that the album has a tendency to stray from its core sound and wander into metal territories that don’t entirely make sense to me. Perhaps this is an attempt to appeal to a wider audience, but it ultimately detracts from the album’s cohesiveness. “Lucid Dream” has a cyberpunk feel with a plethora of synths and outer space sounding effects while the slow rock of “Your Majesty Sadness” and the spirited power metal performance on “Stranded in Bangalore” sound like an entirely different band. Speaking of “Stranded in Bangalore,” I am also left confused by the concept of this album as a whole. The lyrical content and track titles did not leave a particularly strong impact on me, nor do I feel they clearly contribute to articulating the theme of the album.

As evidenced by the stellar individual performances on CleopatraEverdawn is clearly comprised of incredibly skilled musicians. If you’re in need of a solid, new symphonic metal album to delve into, Cleopatra will serve you well. From catchy melodies to the mixing and mastering by Dan Swanö (Opeth, Katatonia), Cleopatra is an album with superb execution. While the lack of continuity across track styles was seen as a distraction from my perspective, others may find the scatterbrained variety a refreshing plus. Everdawn have all the tools necessary to grow to become a highly successful band. With Cleopatra, they’re just missing that wow factor which truly sets them apart from other symphonic metal acts. I have little doubt that with more time to grow collectively as a band, Everdawn will be making an even stronger showing in the future.

Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Sensory
Websites: everdawn.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/everdawnofficial
Releases Worldwide: February 5th, 2021

Show 3 footnotes

  1. I don’t know 4.0w to put this, but I’m kind of a big deal. People know me. – Holdeneye
  2. I have many leather-bound reviews and my apartment smells of rich ma4.0gany. – Holdeneye
  3. I was originally slated to review this one. Emya undoubtedly saved it from a 4.0rrible fate. – Holdeneye
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