by Virtuosity One

The last Everon album already dates back to 2002, when Flesh was released. Now 6 years later Everon is ready to release their new album entitled "North". To write the music for North songwriter Oliver Philipps retrieved to a Dutch North Sea Coast for 5 weeks in the winter of 2005. A year after the music was written he went to the Netherlands again, this time to finish the lyrics on a Dutch island. Retreating to deserted places gives Oliver the rest to focus on writing music. The idea for the album-title sprang naturally from the environment of the writing-sessions at the sea. The time spent on the album has certainly paid dividends with “North” being a fine collection of prog rock (with some prog metal touches), mostly dominated by the tactile and smooth vocals of Philipps, the keys add nice depth and seem to be more prominent in moving songs forward than guitars and bass. This gives Everon their own niche in the genre and it’s hard to pinpoint them down to sounding like anyone band. The closest I could come up with is Transatlantic or Neal Morse but this is more song driven and more concise (with the longest track being 6 minutes).

Opener “Hands” gives a strong account for itself and sets the tone for the rest of the album, with its great vocal, multi-textured instrumentation and all round pleasant vibe. “Brief Encounter” gets darker and more melancholy before the almost Marillion like feel of “From Where I Stand” stacks the melodies up high. “Test Of Time” grows in intensity throughout its length before leading up to a big chorus with orchestral backing and big vocals. The title track follows a similar suit and has an epic chorus where the band and orchestration combine to superb effect. “South Of London” takes the by now trademark Everon sound and injects a little more venom and pomp into the chorus. “Wasn’t It Good” follows the delicate opener which grows into a progressive bloom for the chorus where power chords blend seamlessly with orchestration before a very nice Neal Schon’ esque solo adds the icing, the sound here reminded me a little of Mind’s Eye in their “Walking on H20” era. “Woodworks” is a fine instrumental allowing guitarist Ulli Hoever to showcase his guitar work and a fine job he does of it too with the track coming across as a mix of prog styles from the last 3 decades. “Islanders” sees guest vocalist Judith Stüber add a nice dimension to the bands sound, yet her voice does lack the individuality of Oliver Philipps. Album closer “Running” is one of the more progressive sound tracks on offer, where the band combine flawlessly musically for a nice closing gambit.

Overall “North” is a fine album of prog rock. There is next to nothing to dislike, Oliver Philipps has certainly come up with a very individual sounding album, where the songs take priority over anyone’s musical ego trip and the album is stronger for it. Production wise things are very strong and the whole package is rounded out nicely by excellent artwork and inlay booklet from Jan Yrlund of Darkgrove graphics.

Highly Recommened.

Rating: 90%