Evermore – In Memoriam Review

I probably picked this promo because the band name is so similar to my favorite band of all time; you can’t spell Nevermore without Evermore! But before I tumble down a tearful slope of despondency over the loss of the great Warrel Dane, let’s talk about Nevermore sans the “N.” Sweden’s Evermore is a relatively fresh face in the European power metal game, having released an extremely promising debut in the form of 2021’s Court of the Tyrant King. That record showed the band demonstrating mastery over the ultra-melodic Euro-power style of bands like Stratovarius, Helloween, and Avantasia, but unlike many of those band’s recent releases, they kept the songwriting compact and the runtime under 40 minutes. Needing a dose of super-concentrated positivity in my metal life, I eagerly reached for follow-up In Memoriam. Let’s see if they can build off the success of the debut.

While Court of the Tyrant King certainly had its share of heaviness, it seems as if Evermore really wanted to dial that aspect of their sound up quite a bit on this go-around, as the first thing I noticed about In Memoriam was the grain-fed beefiness of the guitar tone. Lead single and first proper track “Forevermore” sounds like Amon Amarth with a power metal singer (in more ways than one). The track’s opening salvo is so driving, and the song’s overall attitude is so infectious, that it’s hard to be mad at the fact that the song completely apes “Twilight of the Thunder God” in multiple spots—the intro and the mid-paced chugging breakdown feel lifted straight from it. Initially, I was concerned that the song was only a success because of its similarity to a much more well-known banger, but that is, thankfully, not the case.

In fact, just about every song on In Memoriam is a highlight in its own right, thanks to Evermore’s ability to balance their over-the-top,  pedal-to-the-metal attack with genuine heaviness and atmosphere. The duo of “I am the Flame” and “Empire Within” shows the band’s varied strengths. The former is a hard-charging power metal tune with high-flying vocals and guitars, while the latter shows the band employing a heavy groove to deliver an emotional power ballad. This dichotomy is further demonstrated when the sprawling, epic title track is followed by Dream Evil-esque rocker “Parvus Rex.” The whole package clocks in at a perfect 42 minutes, and the strength of the songs makes it easy to leave on repeat for days at a time.

As close as In Memoriam gets to true greatness, a nagging issue holds it back a bit for me. During some of the vocal harmonies, one of the lower vocal tracks occasionally feels flat, and multiple cringes appear on my face as a result (see “Nightfire” for the worst example). Now, this flaw doesn’t occur enough to greatly reduce my enjoyment of an otherwise stellar album, but reduce my enjoyment a bit, it does. Singer Johan Haraldsson has great power metal screams, but his ability to croon during the album’s more heartfelt moments is just as impressive. Multi-instrumentalists Johan Karlsson and Andreas Vikland show exceptional compositional skill through their penchant for weaving impressive beauty and true heaviness together in each of their songs. Standout tracks include “Forevermore,” “I am the Flame,” “Empire Within,” “In Memorium,” and “Parvus Rex.”

Evermore came dangerously close to achieving greatness on this, their sophomore record, and I have no doubt that they will eventually get there with a few tweaks in the vocal department. Meanwhile, we can enjoy the flawed but immensely enjoyable In Memoriam for what it is: a very good power metal album.

Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 8 | Format Reviewed: 256 kbps mp3
Label: Scarlet Records
Website: facebook.com/evermoremetal
Releases Worldwide: April 21st, 2023

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