When you hear the word ‘Symphonic’ tied to anything in the progressive metal or rock communities your automatic preconceived notion is something over the top. Other general notions are it is heavy laden with choirs and backed by a orchestra of sorts. While most of those qualities do exist for the majority of ‘Symphonic’ music it is not really the situtaion with Canada’s Evereal. It would appear that the members of Evereal have taken a more basic and modest simplicity in their approach with their self titled debut album. You could say ‘Less is much more’ with their self titled debut.
Since this is a new band on the global music scene here is a brief biography courtesy of the bands official website, Facebook and ArtistEcard profile.
Evereal started as a studio project born of the writing process. Evereal was created by Guitarist Stephen Roberts in 2011. The concept was to recruit musicians to write and record music with emphasis on groove and melodic content utilizing symphonic qualities, The band went through several roster changes over those first couple years, then along came keyboardist David Bevis and singer Stephanie Neufeld. It was now the Evereal project began to take shape. They quickly recruited Drummer Rob Queen and Bassist Gord Esau to solidify the lineup. The group now finds themselves working towards the end goal of creating music of complexity, while retaining groove within the layers of symphonic sound. The end result is Evereal. The band launched a successful kickstarter campaign that saw the band raise $10,000 towards completion of their debut album. This was followed by a worldwide distribution and promotion deal with 7Hard records Germany (part of the 7US media group). The CD is scheduled for release in January 2017.
I believe it was this ‘Grass Roots’ spirit of self financing and fan financing the album that led the band to the appropriate mindset to keep the album in its most modest, simple and humble for. This also allowed the band to have some product by which they could perform on stage in a live setting and perhaps be invited to tour or participate in the global progressive rock/metal or other festivals. Now let me get to some highlights off every track on Evereal’s self titled debut.
Psycho opens up with a very strange spoken word section that is working in tandem with a very abstract guitar chord progression. Then there is some thunderous rhythm section until the vocal comes in. The vocal on the main verse and chorus is very ethereal in nature. This is a straight away modern progressive metal track otherwise. It definitely sets the rest of the album up for a listening journey.
Frost Sign begins with a very beautiful piano before being accompanied by the lead guitar and a full chord progression passage. The vocals remain on point both crystal clear and on perfect pitch. This track is a very rhythm section based track where everything from the vocal to stringed section follow the lead of the rhythm narrative. It even does so when the guitar solo comes in. Stephanie Neufeld – Vocals, sounds like a beautiful hybrid of Liv Kristine meets Sharon Den Adel of Within Temptation.
Caution starts out with a spoken word section. Lyrically this song is loaded with a great deal of social and political commentary. The instrument narrative goes in and out from a down tempo with symphonic atmosphere’s. The harder portions are very rhythm section based driving th track. Both the atmospheric and heavier instrument portions run in a good tight harmony with one another. The guitar solo’s are heavily atmospheric laden as well.
Sinful opens up with a lush isolated piano passage almost ballad like. The track progressively builds towards the heavier elements of the song. There are some nice breaks between heavy and symphonic atmospheres that allow the track to breath for the listener. The bass serves both as a melodic and percussive instrument as well. This track is well executed in the album arrangement as a collective and in the perfect spot.
Veil starts out with some nasty verbal manipulation effects before exploding into a thunderous rhythm section. The down tuned bass and guitar give the track a lot of attitude that sometimes lacks in progressive metal. It is down right crunchy, whereas some modern progressive metal relies more on tales of fantasy and escape. This track does not do that and the attitude is a welcomed change. This reminds me a lot of a progressive version of Lacuna Coil.
Wish opens up with a nice isolated guitar that is met in harmony with the vocal. For a band only relying on five members, this track sounds like it was done with both a heavy orchestra and symphonic choir. David Bevis – Keyboards & Orchestration, really knows the true meaning of minimal effort, maximum distribution. This track gives me the audio appearance that I am sitting in a concert theater listening to its acoustics flow in and out of that hall.
Darkness begins with a keyboard passage in harmony with the lead guitar. The chord progressions develop a passage where the band can begin to build from. This track continues the bands simple symphonic spirit. By time you get to this track you begin to notice that objective. The symphonic orchestration and effects really do give this song a depth of darkness. The addition of the male death growls lend a heavy handed attitude as well.
Anger opens up with a very beautiful Arabic/Middle Eastern Oriental scale. This is met with a thunderous rhythm section. It is almost like listening to a Myrath with a female vocalist. That Arabic scale really carries the backbone of the song. This also goes towards the band executing well with what they have to work with. The band even experiments with various vocal echoes on top that symphonic and Arabic elements.
Scars starts out with a wide open guitar shred. This track is very up tempo almost taking on chord progressions heard in neo-classical power metal. The track drops for a break and lays the vocals over a beautiful keyboard atmosphere. It is simplicity the band really creates a very complex arrangement on this song. Even some light thrash metal elements come into play on this one.
For a band that crowdfunded this album and had very little to work with in way of equipment and production costs, Evereal certainly made a very powerful first statement as a band. This is a band that really knows how to execute quite well with very little. Evereal is a more Euro flavoured metal with a North American sensibility. All its members did a great job for a debut album. This will certainly be a tool to help them get their feet further in the door of the Symphonic Progressive Metal community. I will give this a 4.5/5.
My gateway into neo progressive rock music was Marillion’s Misplaced Childhood in 1985. It was a bit difficult for me due to the fact I was a solid metal purist at the time. However the music never left me and the seed was sown towards future neo progressive music in the future. Throughout the years neo progressive music and bands would come across my path. By 1999 I had discovered California neo progressive rocker’s Enchant when I bought A Blueprint Of The World – 1993 and Wounded – 1996. From that point all my defenses concerning neo progressive rock and metal had been totally removed.
Soon after I had discovered bands such as IQ, Pendragon, Spock’s Beard, Jadis, Pallas and Arena to name a few. These bands all have a common thread that easily allows the neo progressive title to be bestowed upon them. This common thread is experimental symphonic prog. It requires particular programming of synth’s along with guitars and rely more on a heavy lush stringed section. It is a very rare occasion when the neo progressive element meets a heavier almost metal element. It also takes a very talented and exceptional band to be able to blend these elements just right. Fortunately Dutch band Knight Area has been able to manage just that. Their 2017 release Heaven And Beyond displays this at work.
On Knight Area’s Heaven And Beyond there is a sonic buffet of various styles in play. Various styles not only include the obvious neo progressive staple but also go on to include hard rock, heavy metal and even AOR at certain points. This album is easily accessible to those various audio pallets. My appeal to Knight Area really took off after Peter Vinnk – Bass (Star One and Ayreon) alumni joined the band. I had always been a fan of his intricate and expansive bass work. This work is magnified on Knight Area’s Heaven And Beyond. Now I would like to explore some highlights of Knight Area’s Heaven And Beyond track by track.
Unbroken opens up with the keyboard transcribing a horned section almost from the 16 th century. Soon it goes into a pure progressive hard rock slightly metal chord progression with a great isolated guitar solo. The track fades down and soon come out of left field with a really gritty and crunchy rhythm based guitar signature. That is followed by a thunderous another thunderous rhythmic section between the bass, drum and rhythm portion on the guitar. Mark Smit – Vocals then comes in with some powerful, clear and angelic style vocals to carry the atmosphere of the track. This is a very guitar driven track from top to bottom with various breaks and time signatures.
Tree Of Life opens with a beautiful piano passage before being met with a straight away progressive hard rock passage. The rhythmic section really sets the table on this track quite nice. The guitar almost sounds like a 7 string guitar at times allowing more depth within the track. The vocal work is just as much a instrument as it is a narrative piece within the composition. The guitar solo’s really allow for a heavier listening experience. This is easily one of the tracks that can open up a live set list delivering depth to their intended audience. The Hammond Organ style towards the end gives the track a vintage progressive rock presence.
Memories starts out with a lush piano ballad with a deep warmth within the vocals. Although it is very progressive it displays some light AOR elements. The track soon takes off like a hard rock power ballad however without sounding cheesy. The guitars really lend a lot of atmospheric depth and layers to the stringed section. The vocals harmonies are spot on with the instrumental portions to the composition. They are almost like a mini choir in nature. This is definitely one of the more guitar driven tracks on the album.
Dreamworld begins with a beautiful piano intro before taking on a very heavily symphonic rooted chord progression. It is as if the band are taking a symphony orchestra mindset and transcribing it to the available instruments at their disposal. This track as big thunderous rhythm sections matched wonderfully with big stringed sections. The vocals really blend all the sum of the parts of this track beautifully. The band really start to form a very distinct sound on Dreamworld.
The Reaper opens up with a very dark brooding bass passage with some seriously warm yet dark vocals along with a open atmosphere on the keyboards. The vocals are arranged with such thought and care in their isolation. This track takes on a very some very misty eerie instrumental elements allowing the isolated vocals to get a beautiful to be told in its fullness. In its gloomy atmosphere the track still allows a little light in to breathe.
Box Of Toys opens with a powerful guitar solo from the top. Soon it goes into a break with a great rhythm section to allow the vocal to breathe and tell the story. This track reminds me a lot of early GTR or Asia compositions. There is a great violin in this as well. The harmonies are very Yes in nature.
Starlight blasts open into a progressive frenzy with the rhythm section. This is a very straight away progressive hard rock track with intelligent vocal harmonies playing in perfect range with the stringed section of keys and lead guitar. Starlight borders on the fringe of a progressive metal track at times throughout the track.
Heaven And Beyond opens up with a beautiful harmony between the piano, guitar and vocal. This combination allows the listener to settle in the track. The opening is almost ballad like before the drums come in and turn it into more of a power ballad. This is definitely one of those songs I see their fan base singing back to them during live performances on tour. Its very nature is unifying. The guitar solo’s are a complete treat on this one as well. There are some really tight beautiful vocal harmonies towards the end.
Saviour Of Sinners opens up with a straight away prog metal delight with some neo progressive elements sprinkled in. The band really has a great talent in mixing the vocals to be isolated within the instrumental where they can be clearly heard and the story told. The rhythm section is spot on leading both the vocal harmony and the stringed section serving as a anchor for the entire track. Time signatures are definitely present all over this song.
Eternal Light the ethereal opening guitar solo on this track matches the title quite perfectly. It appears this was recorded live as is in studio along with a beautiful and perfectly complimentary keyboard in tandem harmony. The emotion in this track will take the listener for a emotional ride. It is the only instrumental on Heaven And Beyond.
Twins of Sins opens up in a almost unconventional classic rock format. It opens up much like 1980’s progressive rock when bands like Asia, Yes , etc took on more AOR elements. However the further this goes the more the track takes on a more modern neo progressive metal track with catchy time signatures and complex chord progressions to match the intricate bass and vocals. This track also serves as a great uplifting track to close out the album.
To my surprise Knight Area’s Heaven And Beyond was a very unconventionally guitar oriented neo progressive album. Sometimes the term neo progressive means it is more keyboard based however this album was not that. Heaven And Beyond is going to surprise some people in the progressive rock and metal communities since there is a little bit of everything for the progressive pallet. I would not be surprised to find this album in the Top 5 or even #1 of the Album Of 2017 lists when they come out at the end of the year. This is a very good album and gets a 5/5 for the variety of many progressive elements.
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.