To those in the Carolina underground, Everthrone is a name that beckons a sense of reverence, perhaps one of the tightest outfits to ever emerge from South Carolina. Therefore, it is little surprise that their sophomore release, “The Dawning,” has already drawn great praise from fans and critics alike. Having seen the band grow from early and more aggressive days under the moniker Merzah to the tight-knit prog-powerhouse (see what I did there?) that Everthrone has become, it was not without a great deal of anticipation that I donned to listen to this album.
Suffice it to say, it does not disappoint.
From the very first track, “The Great Expanse,” it is clear that Everthrone has found its stride. Their version of the hybrid of prog metal and power metal is one that is extremely accessible and palatable. One is very quickly reminded of bands such as Amorphis who are able to patiently craft irrepressibly catchy hooks without falling prey to self-indulgence in drawn out solos or development. I think that may be the word of choice when I think of this record—catchy. The hooks are simply infectious. After barely more than one listen, you’ll already be humming the chorus to “Consciousness” to yourself in the shower.
This is precisely where, for me, Everthrone nails it on the head. There is nothing superfluous on the record and consequently what is there is expertly crafted. Every note and word is there with deliberate purpose. There is never a sense that a part is played or line is sung to “fill a void” or just bide the time by padding the song. This economic songwriting is exactly what makes Everthrone such a memorable band to listen to. Vocalist Russell Plyler, aside from having a truly amazing voice and range, has very skillfully created melodies that have drive, direction, and thoughtfulness at every turn. Though the warmth in his voice during the more despondent track “Loss” is hypnotizing, I believe he shines brightest during those driving power tunes such as my favorite track, “Children of a Dying Sun.” Vocals even get a chance to be a little left of center in the opening moments of the “The Anarchist” (which also features a wonderfully classic sounding guitar solo) before returning again to Plyler’s trademark projection and style.
“The Dawning” also features a wonderful interplay between keyboardist Chris Carland and guitarist Nevin Mckeown. The two voices do not all that often join in unison which allows each to feel like a unique and independent part of each song. The well-thought out orchestrations give the musician in me a lot to chew on and lead me to multiple listens to enjoy the many layers and subtleties within each piece. The frequent keyboard introductory passages and features give a great sense of musicianship to the whole album adding real depth and nuance to the record. Songs such as “Under A Burning Sky” showcase the band’s understanding of contrast, utilizing space (e.g. – not having to constantly have everyone play all the time once the song is started), and allowing the ideas to develop naturally over time.
Flow on the album is perfect as we seamlessly move from scene to scene without ever losing the core elements that make Everthrone sound like Everthrone. In this day an age of shuffling playlists and random modes, the experience of listening to albums as complete ideas gets a little lost in the shuffle (if you’ll pardon that painful pun). This album feels like a well-rounded experience that they carefully decided upon. In my humble opinion, that is the best way to enjoy the album – by going on the journey they invite you to go on.
This album is an extremely mature one that reveals a band that has really come into their own. Many moments having the drive of Symphony X and others having all the epic and heroic gusto of Rhapsody of Fire or Amorphis. I await with equal anticipation both the next Everthrone album and the day they are a featured act at ProgPower Fest.
To learn more about Everthrone including upcoming shows and new music, check out http://everthrone.bandcamp.com or http://www.facebook.com/Everthrone/