Artist: Ever After
Album: What Matters most
I can’t think of one person that wouldn’t admit that music shape their lives in some way – especially the ones that are truly devoted, out there going to shows, waiting online for news on new albums, song streams, or tour announcements, or even those crazy few that, believe it or not, actually buy albums – and they always have a specific genre or scene to thank. That doesn’t mean they don’t have a diverse taste in music, it just means that chances are, there was one genre that got them started, that made them want to learn about all the bands those other bands, and go to all those shows, and so on. And for me, that genre is metal, its what I grew up on, and I’m always going to love it. But while that may be true, my thoughts on metal these days is very well documented, I always look forward to hearing a new album, but when I have weeks like this, and have several metal albums show up in my inbox as the press copies roll in, chances are none of them are really going to stick out unless its really something special, which frankly, doesn’t happen as often as I’d like. Anyone can write a breakdown, anyone can sequence drum tracks, anyone can throw some compression on some screams and make it sound alright, its just not much of a challenge anymore. But when a band that does actually stand out comes along, I definitely take notice. Which is precisely why I gained an instant respect for Ever After, their new EP, What Matters Most instantly struck me as something different; something worth recognizing. I always get really excited when I come across a truly well composed metalcore album, especially one that manages to inject some post-hardcore sound into the mix, without jumbling up what they started with.
That mixture of well-written metalcore, along with the extra character and depth that the post-hardcore influences can provide is really the sweet spot of this genre, though its not an easy thing to pull off, most bands fall well short of the mark. But Ever After is not one of those bands, What Matters Most is absolutely spot on. All the aforementioned traits of the modern metalcore band are never going to impress me, its those that can seamlessly integrate the mid-range melodies, and complex clean vocal layers – well done clean vocals, I might add – with some really gnarly metal that manage to impress me. Those can’t be fabricated with studio magic, and require genuine skill and musicianship to write, not to mention they add so much to the dynamics of the music, that I can’t imagine not wanting to even attempt to incorporate them, though not everyone has the skill to do so. The song that really epitomizes this album is actually their cover of Yellowcard’s “Only One”; remember all those Punk Goes Pop albums? The ones that are chock full of covers that are essentially simple chord progressions and chugging breakdowns with screams for the sake of irony and a bit of comedy? Ever After could have easily gone that route with this cover, it wouldn’t have stood out, but its pretty much the norm at this point. They took the road less traveled however, and clearly put some thought and effort into rearranging this song, and doing it justice, while still making their own. And its that mentality that sums up the entire album, and the band themselves. Not to say its the most impressive song on the album, I’m not really a fan of any cover done by a metal band, unless its of another metal band, but it allows the comparison to be drawn between their songwriting, and the songwriting of the so-called upper level professionals really speaks volumes about the merit of Ever After.
Usually when I receive my week’s worth of press copies, and its littered with metal bands, including some big hitters like Lamb Of God, its these smaller, unsigned bands that are forgotten. No personal biases, they typically just lack the experience and developed and matured sound necessary to really stand out. But Ever After is definitely an exception, and I think its safe to say that, with such a bright start, they have a nice future ahead of them, in the mean time, I’m sure What Matters Most will keep me occupied.
Reviewed by: Mike Hogan