Everdawn – Venera (Frontiers Music)

Wednesday, 27th December 2023
Rating: 8.5 / 10

Reestablishing themselves through their debut album Cleopatra, New Jersey band Everdawn naturally wants to grow diversely within the symphonic, progressive metal landscape on the follow-up effort. Venera (a Russian word for Venus, also the name for Soviet Union space probes done during the 60’s to 80’s gathering information about the planet) as the sophomore outing contains fourteen tracks and over an hour of material to absorb – showcasing broader risk-taking measures based on these musicians personal tastes as well as abilities that could expand the fanbase.

The front half of the record mesmerizes from a dynamic, diversity standpoint – guitarist Richard Fischer and keyboardist Boris Zaks dazzling in their foundational components on a songwriting / musical front, each individual song key to the authenticity present. Be it more uplifting, classic power metal a la Kamelot meets Stratovarius for “Century Black” on to the slightly Sabaton meets stunted, dramatic “Karmic Partner”, the craft of weaving strong main hooks into explosive, energetic instrumental bursts next to intuitive transitions engages all listener senses, the latter including some sophisticated bass lines from the recently departed Mike LePond (Symphony X, Ross the Boss). The first twelve tracks move in timely, radio-friendly arrangements – setting the scene for the almost thirteen-minute epic progressive monster “Truer Words Ever Spoken”. Richard’s thoughtful guitar break next to Boris’ orchestration leading into a massive musical journey, the time signature/tempo changes, diverse / atmospheric bells and whistles making you feel like Nightwish is meeting headlong into exotic Rush / Dream Theater territory – the theatrical nature next to solid circular/revolver earworms spectacular. The biggest shift occurs in the expansive nature of vocalist Alina Gavrilenko’s range. Best known previously for her obvious operatic abilities, she uses some rock/pop register nuances to give specific tracks more angst, bite, and versatility. Check out the duality employed between verses to chorus on the extremely infectious opener “Cassiopeia” or the playful, semi-progressive “Orion’s Belt” for her stunning, multi-octave confidence that brings goose bump moments.

The move up to Frontiers Music as well as mixing / mastering duties under the watchful hands/ears of Jacob Hansen pushes Everdawn into hopefully bigger pastures through Venera. While many accept European/ South American artists better in the symphonic, power-laden metal realm, do not discount the abilities of North American bands putting their own stamp/ seasoning on this ever-popular genre.

Everdawn official website

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