I’m going to give you some advice to better further your musical knowledge and knowledge of the bands around you. It can basically be summed up in 4 words. Those words?
Don’t *** with Evergrey.
The Swedish quintet has become one of the most underrated bands ever, in my personal opinion. They don’t quite get the respect they deserve, which is a shame, because their music is just so damn good. It’s original, it’s heartfelt, it’s technical, and it’s very atmospheric. What’s not to love?
Nowadays, they seem to have more of a following. Their album The Inner Circle garnered a bit of success, and they just completed a tour with Nevermore and In Flames as the opener (they should headline a gig, for Christ’s sakes). However, back around the turn of the century, they were still relatively unknown, and ready to release their crowning achievement on the world. Thus, in 2001, it was released, and still stands the test of time.
“I have decided to keep this tape recorder with me at all times. Just so that maybe one day I can explain all the strange things happening to me. The lack of sleep. The loss of time. But most of all the sensation of never being lonely...always being watched.”
Prepare to be In Search Of Truth
Evergrey - In Search Of Truth
- September 18th, 2001, on InsideOut Records
Tom S. Englund - Vocals/Guitars
Henrik Danhage - Guitars
Michael Håkansson - Bass
Steve Karlsson - Keyboards
Patric Carlsson - Drums and Percussion
As the opening line states, Evergrey have always had that dark atmosphere surrounding them. Coupled with Englund’s love of concept albums, it lends the album a very different feel than what’s usually around.
From what I can gather, the album is about an alien abduction. Not standard fare for a metal band at all. However, the concept works, and works rather well at that. Englund always had a taste for scifi and occult lyrical concepts, much like Warrell Dane of Nevermore, and he puts his writing skills to work on this one.
A brief rundown of the concept:
The Masterplan - Man figures out something is wrong
Rulers Of The Mind - Man tries to make sense of what is happening, but can’t
Watching The Skies - Man realizes he is no longer safe
State Of Paralysis - Man finally gives up hope
The Encounter - Aliens come, abduct man
Mark Of The Triangle - Man is returned, but is marked and has nothing to live for
Dark Waters - Tries to find aliens again, does, has nothing left
Different Worlds - Man thinks he lives in two different realities, really losing his sanity
Misled - Man is taken to asylum, has gone insane
Nice and happy, no?
Personally, I don’t think anyone could have written better music to go along with this concept. It fits the mood perfectly. Unbelievably dark, terrific atmospheric keyboard lines, haunting overdubbed narrative lines, the whole album eschews melancholic stylings. Everything is mixed very well (though I could have done with the guitars a little bit higher in the mix), and it all lends to the atmosphere that the album so brilliantly creates.
Evergrey is also rather infamous for their lineup changes, with Englund and Carlsson being the only 2 original members after only 3 albums including this one. Carlsson and Karlsson (whoa...) would jump ship soon after this to be replaced by Rikard on keyboards and Jonas on drums, which still remains today. I personally think that the lineup on this album is the best lineup Evergrey ever had. The guitarwork of Englund and Danhage intertwines and harmonizes perfectly, backed up by passable bass work by Michael (he’s not overly technical, but he doesn’t root all the time either, he has some interesting lines here and there), some decent drumwork by Patrick, and excellent, excellent keyboard work by Karlsson. He adds so much to every song, and his lines are always top notch.
Evergrey was also known for it’s unique mix of progressive and atmospheric metal (they seem to be less progressive now, opting for an even darker feel), and this album perfectly combines the two. Odd time signatures and extremely technical riffs bounce off of haunting keyboard lines and severely dark stylings in perfect harmony, creating a sound that has yet to be matched, save for perhaps the Norwegian band Green Carnation’s earlier albums.
Englund, aside from being a very good guitar player, also possesses one of the best voices (IMO) in modern metal today. It’s powerful yet soothing at the same time, and it embraces you whilst simultaneously holding you down. He will captivate you not only with his amazing solos, but also his amazing voice.
This being a concept album, you can get a much better feel of it if you just listen to the whole thing all the way through. However, there’s a few songs that I would call my personal favorites:
: Apart from having an extremely bizarre and sinster opening, this is widely regarded as Evergrey’s most famous song. They always close with it at concerts they do, and it’s not hard to see why it’s so famous. It’s damn good. A terrific keyboard line throughout, coupled with some odd patterns on guitar and drums, great solos, and one hell of a chorus. Evergrey has an almost Blind Guardian-like ability to create choruses. Roughly translated in laymans terms, it means their choruses are almost unmatched.
: This song shows how well Evergrey can blend technicality and atmosphere. A great scaled based guitar riff starts off the song with keyboards handling the emotional portion, and it blends SO ***ING WELL together. It’s really stunning. Another great chorus and some great guitarwork throughout round out this song as a keeper.
Mark Of The Triangle
: This is one of my favorite Evergrey songs ever, and possibly one of my most favorite songs period. A great opening riff, straddling the line between sad and evil, just keeps getting better and better. Even with a minimalistic verse (simple drumbeat, a bit of bass, and a background keyboard part coupled with Englund’s vocals), it’s still great. It really goes to show how well Englund can control a song. Again, the chorus reigns supreme, with a superb riff backing up even better vocals. Excellent solo work is also to be found here. The longest song on the album, it’s also the best.
: This one is a ballad, showcasing just how freaking awesome the damn keyboards are. Englund turns out another great vocal performance as well. Focusing mainly on Karlsson and Englund, with some guitarwork and the whole band later, the atmosphere here is DARK DARK DARK, and so deliciously excellent. The overdubbed narrative vocals creep the living crap out of me, honestly. They’re damn scary.
: I’m tempted to call this one a ballad too, but it’s too damn heavy to be a ballad. A slower song, it’s even darker than the last (if that’s possible), the main focus here is on the atmosphere, which delivers 110%. Honestly, if I was going insane, this would be my theme song. There’s an interesting part in here as well, where the tempo doesn’t change, but the note values do. It just gets faster and more aggressive while still keeping the same time. It works well with the song, and, of course, the chorus owns your soul.
Take an interesting concept, wrap it in a dark progressive atmosphere, and you have In Search Of Truth. The crowning achievement of this Swedish band, it’s also one of the most original things I’ve ever heard, and I always give extra points for originality. Basically, if you like any of the things I’ve described here (progressive music, atmospheric music, sad music, dark music, heavy music, whatever), this album will surely keep you satisfied.
Final Rating - 10/10
. An absolutely stunning album by a band that does not get 10 percent of the respect they deserve.