Evershine – Renewal
Evershine – Renewal (2011)
Reviewed by Daniel Millard
Ladies and gentleman, I am gathered here today to discuss the merits of one Evershine, an Italian metal sextet that, like an increasing number of European acts these days, straddles the line between power metal and hard rock with an almost distressing ease. Renewal is the culmination of ten years of work and a pair of demo releases, and has the spit and polish of a band coming up with its second or third release. I’ve listened to this album on occasion over the past year or so, and my first impression is always just how confident and accomplished these guys sound.
Looking at the roster, only one of the band member’s names stood out to me – Simone Cardini, who, despite having been in Evershine since the group’s inception, also apparently did a short stint in Dragonhammer. Interestingly, I feel like the general use of keyboard is similar between the two bands, but Evershine’s approach is certainly more direct and immediately charismatic. Unlike many of the bland metal/rock fusion bands, Evershine’s Ivan Palmieri and Emanuele Matricardi constantly urge the band onwards with their consistently excellent guitar play (some of Palmieri’s solos are truly remarkable, and the wild energy is almost palpable). This might sound like it places Evershine somewhere near Domain and newer Iron Mask releases in some ways, but the sound is completely and totally different – with much more of an Italian power metal influence (Is that some Highlord I hear?). Despite how much more exciting this band is, I can’t help but be reminded of Israel’s Red Rose a bit, although that’s also a largely different (and much less satisfying) brand of “power rock”.
Why all this stylistic confusion? Well, we’ve got straightforward power metal burners like “Faith And Dreams” (which is a banging track) along with textbook AOR material such as “Angel/Killer” (it’s like you can pick the genre by the song titles…), and everything in between. Full-on ultra-melodic powerized rock in opener “Evershine” blends seamlessly with the gentle strains of “A Chance To Be Free”, an extended ballad that, while overly long, offers Marco Coppotelli an opportunity to show off the tender side of his voice. I even hear a couple little Dragonland and Angra-isms in the superb closer “Where Heroes Lie”.
Confusing as all this may seem, this album is one of those “hidden gems” in my book. Sure, maybe it’s only a semi-precious gemstone, since the hard rock elements don’t always click with me, but there’s way too much talent on this album for me to say much of anything negative about it. Coppotelli’s vocals are smooth, sauve, and confident, and the guitar work is outstanding without that showy, neoclassical Malmsteen-esque edge to it (which is part of the difference between Evershine and bands like Domain and Iron Mask), with a knack for catapulting the music forward between Coppotelli’s feature sections. Best of all, the lyricism isn’t dumbed down (which often seems to be a prerequisite for hard rock), and the music never gets stuck at one tempo or feels like it’s going through the motions. Even what I call “textbook AOR” here is making me shiver a little while I write this review.
Renewal is something special. Unsigned, unannounced, unanticipated, but extremely worthy, these Italians work some real melodic magic. I can’t recommend this strongly enough to fans of stuff as diverse as Unisonic, Kotipelto’s solo material, newer Highlord, and any other vocal-centric metal work that’s well and truly driven just as much by powerfully hooky guitar and keyboards. This album takes my breath away just a little bit, and I’m on the edge of my seat waiting to see what they’ll pop on me the next time around.
4.0 // 5