by Altmer USER (175 Reviews)
September 28th, 2008 | 38 replies

Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Decent for what it is, but not really all that interesting in the long run.

Evergrey is one of those bands that sort of falls between the wayside in everything. Not that they ever were that bad, as albums like "In Search of Truth" and "Recreation Day" are acclaimed critically, but they never really rose to stardom like some of their peers, especially those from the Swedish music scene. Within the progressive/power metal niche they are fairly well-known, but they seem to never come up when someone mentions the real greats; Opeth or Dream Theater simply never seem to find "Evergrey" next to it.

And despite their musical qualities, 2008's Torn will probably not change that. Despite this being their seventh full-length studio album, they seem to have stuck to the tried and true Evergrey formula for making music. If a musician cook were to prepare a meal of an Evergrey song, he'd probably do it like this every time:

"Take a solid base of chugga-chugga riffing. Add a good midtempo rhythm section to underpin the rhythmic guitar foundations of the song. Don't make it stand out too much: mix it well. Add a couple of lead guitars. Not too much flash, or you'll just look like a wanker shred band. Also add some atmospheric keyboards, preferably ones that set a darker mood. Then add some nice high-pitched, well-executed vocals and lyrics about, well, relationships and humanity and such. Stir and simmer for a bit. Put in the preheated (set to Metal temperature) oven for an hour. Then take it out and it's ready to serve in a live setting."

This is pretty much every song on this album. Despite the interesting concept (solid progressive/power metal), it never really seems to take flight all that much. Every song pretty much follows the recipe described above, never really rising or sinking below that level. Songs vary between melodies, but that is pretty much the only discerning factor: whether Englund is singing an interesting or a non-interesting vocal line. Most of the time he pretty much kicks ass, like on the title track "Torn" or on "These Scars", with some really haunting melodies that can actually get stuck in your head. He also has a nice voice that is highly melodic without being screechy or unduly aggressive. But parts of this album are bogged down by what's backing him. He's singing good melodies over stale riffs and rhythms, and despite Englund's best efforts to make the songs stray from similarity, eventually the album seems to run together and become too samey.

The other issue is that Evergrey are in a sort of identity crisis when it comes to the musical style they want to adopt. There are high-pitched vocals typical of power metal, but there isn't that much double-bass or hightempo music to be found, with the band trying to groove rather than speedster their way through songs. There are dark chugga-chugga riffs, but the keyboards and lead guitars make it seem just a little too happy to be convincing. And the lyrics seem to focus more on human issues than the regular fantasy dungeons and dragons cheese we find in this genre; but the relationship issues aren't really addressed that well, either. They can't seem to find a real niche for themselves. They do have a sound to call their own, but it's still too mediocre to really be of any major importance because in the end their sound is going to have a limited appeal.

The thing is, this record isn't that bad. The strength of the melodies on some of these tunes is impressive, and England really gives off a good performance. The band aren't bad musicians either, as there are no sloppy performances, and the album is graced by a good audible production as well. But the main issue seems to be that even with all these pluses, none of the backing music allows the songs to truly stick, and listening to this album eventually becomes an "in one ear, out the other" experience. It's nice for what it is when you're actually listening to it, but it leaves no lasting impression, and I guess that is what separates Evergrey from the real heavyweights; they just don't seem to be able to write anything better than "decent." And this album doesn't do anything to change that.

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user ratings (116)

Comments:Add a Comment 
September 28th 2008


they just don't seem to be able to write anything better than "decent."

I like the cookbook thing, too, you should try that for a whole review sometimeThis Message Edited On 09.28.08

September 28th 2008


I saw them live a few years ago. Thought it was ok but i havent heard anything since. Maybe i should check this out.

September 28th 2008


it never really seems to take flight all that much.

This is true to all of their albums.

Good review Altmer, one of my most hated bands of all time. Can't stand them!

September 28th 2008


I think they're quite good, actually, and this is a bit better than you make it out to be. Yeah, it sounds like Evergrey, but so much darker than they've ever been. If the production on this album was better, this would definitely be in their top albums for me. There's just something about it that makes it sound like a collection of instruments rather than a solid band effort.

September 29th 2008


Your opening summary pretty much sums up this band for me. They're by no means bad, but they never really impress me much either. Good job, as usual. /Pos

September 29th 2008


Nice introduction. I liked the recipe device as well. Very neat review all-around.

September 29th 2008


Good review. I pretty much completely agree with you on them, Good...but not unique and great. I liked Recreation Day, so I'll probably pick this up just for the hell of it. Good music is good music.

December 11th 2008


Album Rating: 3.5

My friend let me borrow this yesterday and so far I'm digging it. The overall production of it is total orgasm!

January 27th 2009


Album Rating: 2.0

the previous album was quite good but his turned out to be a borefest.


September 12th 2009


I actually really like this album. My feeling towards Evergrey have always been the same as most people on this thread...decent band, not something that's really drawn my attention. I watched the "Broken Wings" video on a whim...think it was linked from something else I was watching. What really drew me in was:
#1 The ridiculously beefy guitar tones (seriously, one of the best tones I've heard in a long, long time)
#2 Englund's vocals. They were always what made the band stand out in terms of the prog&power genres (which usually have god-awful vocals), but I feel like he's really put his all into this album. Lyrics aren't about dragons, wizards, or (Evergrey's brand of cheesiness) vampires, so I'm fine with them.

SF I'm surprised you came out against the production on this album, as IMO it's one of the highlights.

September 13th 2009


Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

This has definitely aged well... I might raise my rating

November 29th 2009


Album Rating: 3.0

the summary sums it up ... nice review . the albums pretty boring .

December 4th 2009


I sort of felt the same way initially, but haven't felt I've given it an adequate effort. This is really half of why I read reviews -- to figure out if there is longer term value that comes with development.

Staff Reviewer
February 27th 2011


Excellently written, have a pos.

it never really seems to take flight all that much.

Have you listened to The Inner Circle?

That's where it's at.

February 27th 2011


Album Rating: 3.5

Some great songs on this. I need to hear more of their back catalog.

June 12th 2011


Album Rating: 4.5

Nothing mind blowing on it, but certainly worth listening through once or twice.

June 12th 2011


Album Rating: 3.5

used to really like this at one point

September 2nd 2011


I haven't yet listened to their other albums besides "The Inner Circle" and fear my phobia of one-album-wonder bands whose other material lacks. Are their other albums including this one as good/better or any extreme difference in style? I appreciate that particular album for being so unique so i'd hope the style isn't all that different if at all. Suggestions please?

December 3rd 2011


Album Rating: 4.0

Album is kinda low on content in comparison to some other releases, but the sound production and mixing on this one is superb.

December 3rd 2011


Album Rating: 4.0

@ pjquinones747,

In Search Of Truth and Recreation Day are better than The Inner Circle, check them out. Evergrey is far from a one-album-wonder band.

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