First Guess

Brutally honest reviews and commentary on the latest music

‘Hymns For The Broken’ Is A Satisfying Emotional Journey

cover1Album: Hymns For The Broken
Artist: Evergrey
Genre: Progressive Metal
Release Date: 25 September 2014
Official Website: Evergrey.net

Diagnosis: Hymns For The Broken is a very emotional album that manages to avoid a lot of the cheesiness that comes with writing brooding music. Piano and keyboard melodies perfectly layer the songs beneath heavy guitar riffs and anthemic choruses. As is true with most of Evergrey’s material, the highlight of their music is Tom Englund’s passionate vocals that always sell what the songs try to convey. He has an incredible voice that is comparable to Symphony X’s Russell Allen and at times a little like Sonata Arctica’s Tony Kakko. Considering how long the album is, I wish the guitar riffs weren’t generally so simplistic, but it doesn’t drag them all that much and their guitar solos are always top notch. Hymns For The Broken certainly starts better than it ends, but it’s a solid album nonetheless.

The Highlights: “The Awakening” is a haunting intro that showcases a people’s suffering and discontent with their leader, which bleeds into “King of Errors.” Englund’s vocal ability is most at work on this song, with a memorable piano melody and lyrics that pick up where the intro left off and elaborates on it. “Wake A Change” is where things start to get more emotional, with guitars taking a backseat for piano and vocals to the forefront. The electronic elements gives it the energy the song needs to build up to the point the guitars come in and present a very convincing climax. “Archaic Rage” has a lot of energy and anthemic moments. This is probably the lyrical high-point of the album, hammering the theme of perseverance through togetherness, which provides the light at the end of the tunnel for the dark album.

Final Thoughts: Although there aren’t any bad songs to speak of, the second half of the album starts to noticeably decrease in quality a bit. The main problem is that Evergrey often relies too much on their lead vocalist to interest their listeners, but with how well Englund conveys the emotional core of their music, you can’t help but largely let them get away with it.

Score: 8 out of 10

~ Will provide Spotify playlist when available

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2 comments on “‘Hymns For The Broken’ Is A Satisfying Emotional Journey

  1. ofopinions
    September 29, 2014

    Hi, found your blog on the community pool. Very well written and presented. I like how your reviews are more factual and observational, than personality-driven, as even Robert Christgau’s tend to be. I personally feel that takes the focus away from the music while your style clearly aids the reader in having an idea of what to expect from the album.

    Liked by 1 person

    • firstguess
      September 29, 2014

      Thanks, that’s exactly what I’m trying to do here. I’m happy you appreciate it and find that it’s working =)

      Liked by 1 person

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