When you consider how much generic, half-baked arse-piss there is out there cluttering up the metal scene and making it look untidy, the fact that Evergrey have never become obscenely huge is bewildering.
With a sound that has deep roots in traditional metal but that also embraces modernity, cherishes the craft of songwriting and, most startling of all, injects a metric fuck-ton of soul and humanity into an artform that often possesses neither, the Swedes tick every box on their ninth album. Fulfilling the promise dangled by The King Of Errors, this builds on the interwoven riff rush and emotional crescendos of 2011’s Glorious Collision, as Tom S Englund’s affecting voice wrings yet more poetic refinement from the human condition and the hopelessness of love. If any other comparable band attempted a stripped-down ballad like Missing You, the results would be excruciating. When Evergrey do it, they draw the tears from your eyes, even as you brace yourself for the crushing grandeur of The Grand Collapse. Uplifting, devastating and immaculate.