On this,their third album, the Hungarian melodic prog metal band EVERWOOD returns with a fresh new beginning,the first with the current lead vocalist,bassist and their first on California based ProgRock Records. Lead by founding member and keyboardist Attila Tanczer, the band has delivered a well crafted, thoughtful collection of songs that while not necessarily being a ”concept”album, do seem connected by similar themes of spirituality, day by day lessons learned and the search for the meaning of life, or at least a way to make sense of it all.
A spacy intro blasts off into some thunderous drumming and bass on the first song ”Rain”Joined soon by some hard chugging guitar and virtuoso keyboards. The singing is clear, the lyrics meaningful,they seem to be about redemption, the rain cleansing me of my pain.
Good words of advice in “Never Trust A Snake” and a good song that would be at home on a playlist with Stratovarius or Dream Theater.
I'm going to have to say ”Desert Sun” is probably my favorite track. A middle eastern undertone gives this tune a nice touch. Great proggy keyboard flourishes keep this AOR/metal gem rocking.
Lilting piano intro softens the mood for the ballad ”Free” impassioned vocals and a nice little guitar solo make this another fave.
You'll have to ”Experience This” mid tempo rocker to really grasp the meaning of this tune, I hear a lot of great influences in the music, almost like I've heard it before but can't put my finger on it. There's some really good drumming driving this song along.
I ”Can't Find” a reason not to like this song, I hear some System of A Down in this track, but with better vocals, It rocks! This is another song I find myself anticipating.
On and on, waiting for my dreams to become reality, but it's so hard to keep your name out there in the public eye. Is it all worth it? ”Make Me Famous” just one more day! !The song rocks with some nice piano and driving guitar & bass,the drummer is as precise as it gets.
While not a dirge, doom laden and mystical are these”Walls”A hard pounding lament” how can I pray when there's no one to pray to? how can I climb these walls that surround me?! Is the question answered? You'll have to listen and make your own conclusion.
Apt title for the instrumental ”Pieces” It starts out with a ”Train Kept Rollin” kind of riff,but with a more contemporary metal tone and speed, then the keyboards join in with some classic prog sounds, A little nod to Pink Floyd and more chugga chugga guitars.
“My Own Vision“ is a hard rocking,angst filled,cowbell infused song dealing with those nagging questions we all have, am I doing the right thing, are these obstacles of my own design?
“Insecure” is another melodic rocker,same story with the soul searching lyrics ”What are we fighting for,what are we praying for? the song is reminiscent of Ayreon's ”The Human Equation” and as far as I'm concerned, that's a good thing.
The album closes with the title track ”Without Saving”, a pleasant, emotion filled ballad. Wonderful piano and strings carry the disc out on a melancholic note.
I've listened to some of EVERWOOD's previous material and I'll have to say I like the direction they've taken, Matyas is a higher caliber vocalist than the former singer, good enunciation, nice & clear, no yelling or growling. All of the band members are quality musicians. The songs themselves are more polished, introspective, memorable. This album grows on you,I keep finding more to like. If you like a harder edge to your prog and a melodic side to your metal, I would recommend ”Without Saving”.
Reviewed by Chris Erbeck on August 25th, 2011