Review Summary: A journey of darkness and sincerity.
Some time ago I read a user on Sputnikmusic comment in regard to Evergrey's The Inner Circle
: "I haven't yet listened to their other albums, and fear my phobia of one-album-wonder bands whose other material lacks [in quality]." Having never heard their earlier stuff yet myself, I decided to investigate. The conclusion I arrived at? Early Evergrey, including Solitude Dominance Tragedy
, is not only equal to The Inner Circle
, but in many ways actually even superior; it is among the most under-appreciated & underrated material I've heard in some time, and since discovering it, it has wreaked havoc on my Last.Fm account.
What the album presents the listener with is an up-and-coming Swedish progressive metal band still discovering and honing their sound; a style that's adequately complex with dark influences, is melodic, and puts the emotion-packed vocals of Tom Englund at the forefront. The album commences with Solitude Within
, which for 5:33 carries the listener through a barrage of riffs, drum fills, and high soaring vocals all on top of a grandiose atmosphere. Frankly, the song slays, and simultaneously gives the listener a taste of the orchestrated clamor that is to follow. Solitude Within epitomizes all that is great about metal, and I would go as far as saying the song still may be the band's crowning achievement.
A key attribute of vintage Evergrey is their ability to engage the listener with a multitude of topics, and in every sense of the word, diversity. The Shocking Truth
is a slower thematic piece about extra terrestrial life, complete with spoken samples throughout the song, such as, we have evidence of a superior culture out there; they come from....God knows where; maybe from some other dimension; maybe from some other dimension of existence.
An echoing guitar note completes the eerie feeling the song is intended to achieve. The Shocking Truth
is also important because it spawned the entire concept for their next album, In Search Of Truth
, which focuses on alien abduction and life both prior to and after.
Further adding to the depth of the album is Words Mean Nothing
, a well-constructed, well-executed ballad featuring piano, classical guitar, and orchestral instruments that is almost depressing in nature. Englund in typical fashion wears his heart on his sleeve while describing his anguish over a loved one who has passed away- I'm gonna fly, I'm gonna roll, I'm gonna thunder...my sanity has left me, the trust I once had has died; what's left is only pieces; all my words been proven lies...my trust has died with you
. Some listeners may recognize parts of this piece as some sections were later reused for a track called "Trilogy of the Damned" on the The Inner Circle
album. Bands reusing material is typically a pet peeve of mine, but in this case, I cannot criticize because the undeniable beauty of the song warrants it.
In sum, Solitude Dominance Tragedy
is an outstanding release worth your time and hard-earned money whether you're a fan of melodic progressive metal or not. There are highs; there are lows; there is pain; and most of all there is passion. I've listened to this album a solid ten times, and I've yet to find anything that qualifies as true filler. If there is one single word to describe Solitude Dominance Tragedy
, it would be "genuine." Not only are Evergrey outside of the one-album-wonder galaxy.... they're in a completely different universe.
"The Shocking Truth"
"Words Mean Nothing"
"The Corey Curse"