Thursday, February 16, 2023

The Everdawn - Poems - Burn the Past (1997)

Poems - Burn the Past moves even closer to its Swedish peers than the Opera of the Damned EP, and this definitely feels like an album you'd turn to if you couldn't get enough Slaughter of the Soul. I always liked the sort of swashbuckler or Western vibe the cover to this one gave me, but I suppose it's more to represent some Romantic poet or reader who is ready to execute himself over some lost or unreturned love? Don't know what that has to do with the thrashing, propulsive tunes on this disc, but I do think it has a classy aesthetic to it that I remember to this day, and not as digitally cheesy in graphic design as a lot of other stuff that was out on Invasion Records. But yes, The Everdawn's only full-length did feel like a bit of a clone of their better-known countrymen, only that's not enough to write it off due to its solid execution.

I should say that there is actually a streak of In Flames with a lot of the riffing, it sounds like its ad a median between Slaughter of the Soul and Colony. Thick rhythm guitars thrashing and thundering along, with some triplet chugging that alternates well with the more atmospheric, open chords that they will often use to back up a chorus. The vocals here are much more Lindberg-like than the prior EP, but they also remind me a little of Mille from Kreator when he's straining himself. Oskar Karlsson's drumming on this was fantastic, he is a missed talent from this scene, and he applies such an even and fiery force to it all that you can't help but get swept up into the riffing, which is itself quite good in tracks like "Needlework" or "Autumn, Sombre, Autumn", the latter of which has the vocalist screaming at an even higher pitch which is ironically a foreshadowing of how Lindberg sounds on some of the most recent At the Gates post-reunion releases. They also have a few places, like "Burn" in which they go for a slightly simpler, rocking pace and it works well in contrast to the more involved mamterial.

Poems - Burn the Past is certainly 'heavily inspired', and perhaps even a knockoff for those who don't want to give it the time of day, but it is a worthwhile album that builds upon their EP and hones in on the songwriting first and foremost. It doesn't rival a band like Darkane or Soilwork who took this formula into all new places, but every detail here is well implemented, from the leads to the drums and I can say little more negative about it than it's just a trendy example of the style. Fortunately, the music and mix are strong enough that it's a good, evergreen glimpse into a band walking in the considerable footsteps of an album that essentially changed the world of heavy metal, uniting the European and American sides of the genre and turning a universe of wallet-chained mallcore maniacs onto 'the good stuff'. Looks cool, sounds cool, I listen to it sporadically and it's another reason I miss Invasion.

Verdict: Win [7.75/10]

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