Swedish progressive melodic metal heavyweights EVERGREY are back with a new single, “Save Us,” which was released about a year after the highly successful “Escape of the Phoenix” (2021) came out. And that’s not all! They promise more melodic metal goodness to come our way as their thirteenth album, “A Heartless Portrait (The Orphean Testament),” which is scheduled for release on May 20th, 2022, via Napalm Records.
With their latest two albums in particular – “The Atlantic” (2019) and “Escape of the Phoenix” (2021) – the band have fine-tuned their craft to such a degree that everything they have put out recently sounds so deeply EVERGREY, yet it has a certain freshness to it. The same approach can be heard on “Save Us.” In broad terms, the song has two major things going for it – the heavy yet melodic aspect of the music and the power of the lyrics coupled with their backstory. Talking about the single, vocalist/guitarist Tom Englund said that “‘Save Us’ is about us. It’s about you and I. It’s about how I see our minds becoming hostages in a world where painting optimal portraits of ourselves is more important than being who we really are.”
Music-wise, everything seems heavier and grittier with hefty riffs, pounding drums, and powerful bass lines creating a darker ambiance and an overall robust and fuller sound. Not that EVERGREY can’t do or haven’t done heavy songs in the past, is just that the melodic aspect was always reigning supreme, while here it is somewhat subjugated to the might of the instrumentals. That’s the very reason why it is so headbanging-worthy. It is still a melodic track, but with more focus on the guitars and drums. Vocal-wise, while Tom Englund’s delivery is still emotionally charged, it is also more direct and powerful in the verses. This makes the transition to the melody-filled chorus especially striking.
Needless to say, the back-to-back guitar solo is excellent and contrasts with the drum-led bridge. All these elements, combined with Jacob Hansen’s mix, allow for the song to have a huge natural sound to it, which works to EVERGREY‘s advantage by showcasing the strength of their songwriting. The added choir of voices shouting “Hey! Save us!” adds to the song’s gloomy vibe. However, there’s a ray of light in the form of subtle keys and electronic overlays breaking through the wall of guitars, gaining more and more momentum in the bridge and eventually taking over the soundscape in the song’s final stretch. This adds to the lyrical content and goes hand-in-hand with the visuals.
The single was released on February 24th and I can’t help but notice the unfortunate happenstance between the title and the tragic events unfolding in Eastern Europe since that fateful day, as “Save Us” can well-play the role of an anti-war anthem. Politics aside, this release got me not just wondering about the band’s musical direction, but actually wishing to see an even heavier side of EVERGREY on “A Heartless Portrait (The Orphean Testament).” Until the album drops in May, blast and sing along to “Save Us,” and check out the video below.
Written by Andrea Crow