Evergrey


The Dark Discovery

Evergrey - The Dark Discovery ©1998 Gothenburg Noiseworks
1. Blackened Dawn
2. December 26th
3. Dark Discovery
4. As Light Is Our Darkness
5. Beyond Salvation
6. Closed Eyes
7. Trust And Betrayal
8. Shadowed
9. When The River Calls
10. For Every Tear That Falls
11. To Hope Is To Fear

As I read the liner notes accompanying this CD, I was reminded of a song from a really bad US variety show in the 70's called "Hee Haw." The song's lyrics were, "Gloom, despair, and agony on me. Deep dark depression, excessive misery. If it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all. Gloom, despair, and agony on me." Darkness, blackness, demons, suffering and misery romp through the words of the songs on this debut from Evergrey. I don't think it can be classified as black metal, and it certainly isn't gothic. I've seen others call it "dark progressive metal." I suppose that term is better than "misery metal", which was the first label that popped into my mind. Driven by Tom Englund who plays guitar and sings, Evergrey is one part Rage, one part Tad Morose, one part Dream Theater, and several parts unique. This is gloomy, dark, progressive metal with PUNCH! The guitars crunch and wail, the keys back and enhance the music without overwhelming it. The songs all fit together nicely. The singing is interesting. Englund's voice is somewhat like Peavy Wagner's with a definite raspy, gritty edge to it. However, considering the content of the songs, his voice fits perfectly and really carries the emotion of the songs very well. On one song, "For Every Tear That Falls", he sings a sort of duet with his wife, Carina Kjellberg, that is very touching. I don't know the events that inspired the songs, but there is a lot of dark passion in the words that gives the whole CD a very tight feel. The band moves well together and the brilliant guitar work is very much a part of the music. These songs are not written solely for the purpose of allowing the guitarists to show off. Take Dream Theater's Scenes From A Memory album and rewrite it with Edgar Allan Poe's pen, and you'll have a good grip on the sum of this CD.

Review by Matthew Braymiller

Review date: 06/2000

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Solitude. Dominance. Tragedy

Evergrey - Solitude. Dominance. Tragedy ©1998 Gothenburg Noiseworks
1. Solitude Within
2. Nosferatu
3. The Shocking Truth
4. A Scattered Me
5. She Speaks To The Dead
6. When Darkness Falls
7. Words Mean Nothing
8. Damnation
9. The Corey Curse

Evergrey's second release really caught me by surprise. I was expecting it to be good, but I was unprepared for just how good it is. Gone is the keyboardist, or at least from the band's roster. In his place is a harp, a piano and some strings. The added elements really help bring this CD off. The music is still dark and somber, though perhaps not quite to the extent of the first CD. This certainly is not pick-me-up, feel good metal. There is a thread running through the songs giving it almost the feel of a concept album. Tom Englund's singing still fits the music wonderfully. The additional vocal arrangements made by his wife all fit seamlessly into the package. The singing aches with the song, bringing the emotion to the fore. The musicianship on this CD is even better than on their first. There are Rush inspired bursts on the drums and guitars that twine around each other in a style reminiscent of Iron Maiden. There is a lot of diversity without feeling disjointed. Some of the songs rocket ahead while others sort of slide past. The ballad, "Words Mean Nothing", is one of the best ballads I've heard on a metal disc in a long time. "Nosferatu" is a wild ride of a song that will probably remind some folks of Therion's recent work. There is more keyboard work throughout the CD giving it a much more progressive feel than The Dark Discovery, but they are still used as a backdrop against which the main framework of the music rests. This CD is a very satisfying romp through a gloomy landscape. It has seen a lot of play time in my stereo. I see a bright, uh...dismal, future for Evergrey.

Review by Matthew Braymiller

Review date: 06/2000

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In Search For Truth

Evergrey - In Search For Truth ©2001 InsideOut Music
1. The Masterplan
2. Rulers Of The Mind
3. Watching The Skies
4. State Of Paralysis
5. The Encounter
6. Mark Of The Triangle
7. Dark Waters
8. Different Worlds
9. Misled

I had a happy childhood. Sure, I had my bouts with the usual childhood fears, but I got over them. I'm not afraid of the dark or the things that go bump in the night. I have outgrown those fears. The members of Evergrey appear to not have outgrown those fears. Indeed, the fears appear to have grown to adult proportions that have undone their ability to function as normal members of society. While that may be an unfortunate thing for them, it is most fortunate for those of us who enjoy fine progressive metal. Those fears are brought to life on this CD in a very impressive way.

In Search Of Truth is a terrific disc. It will certainly be in the running for best progressive metal disc of the year. The disc follows in the vein of the two that preceded it with the trademark haunting sound that is filled with a sense of the unknown and the dread it inspires in the listener. How do you package the indefinable fears of the unknown? Somehow the members of Everygrey have managed to do that very thing by telling a story of those fears. This disc is a concept based on paranoia.

The music is progressive metal with a dark, haunting edge to it. It is heavy and melodic and full of atmosphere. The music is not so much frightening as it is frightened. There is a very palpable sense of eeriness around the edges of the music. The lyrics and singing really drive the story home as Tom Englund gives the vocal performance of his life on this disc. The words and music combined will cause a dilemma for the listener. Are the things being expressed in the songs real or are they phantoms inspired by paranoid delusions? Is the storyteller relating the truth, or is he off his rocker?

I really enjoyed how Everygrey did not go for a contrived end to their story, but left it wholly up to the interpretation of the audience. My hat is off to them for allowing their audience to have some intellectual capabilities and not feel the need to spoonfeed us a prepackaged interpretation. This disc is a real treat for fans who like some substance to their music. This disc will be high on many "best of" lists this year. This is a must have progressive metal disc, a must have concept disc. Just don't expect any easy answers.

Review by Matthew Braymiller

Review date: 10/2001

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