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Evergrey - Torn CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

2.77 | 64 ratings

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The T
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars EVERGREY's previous album, "Monday Morning Apocalypse", was a complete disaster made of simple 3- minute songs with no good melodies or interesting riffs and even less progressive elements. Is this newest release, "Torn" any better? The answer is a yes, though not a very enthusiastic one.

Some of the problems that plagued the preceding work have been worked upon this time around. For starters, the songs are slightly longer in average, and they seem to have been given some thought before being recorded. It doesn't sound anymore like they were spur of the moment, as in the atrocious "Monday Morning Apocalypse" which reminded us of bad made-for-MTV metal (which by default isn't the greatest compliment I could give to an album). The songs in "Torn" sound composed, sound intelligent.

Much of this improvement is due to the better guitar work that we can appreciate. Riffs are much better, much more interesting, original, and powerful. Even though we can't really say that this is the most memorable collection of riffs ever, at least is competent enough for a good metal record. Some are derivative (like the main one in "Fear", which sounds like a mix of DEATH and MORBID ANGEL, bands way heavier and innovative than EVERGREY).

But the biggest advantage that "Torn" has over its infamous predecessor is that it seems Englund and Co. finally decided to bring back that old, forgotten little detail that music oftentimes has: melody. No, this isn't really sweet or mellow music or anything like that, but this time around we actually can remember some of the choruses, some of the verses, even some of the solos. "Broken Wings" and "Scars" are examples of this.

As always, EVERGREY features some tight musicianship. Englund's skills in the guitar are good enough to deliver a decent performance, and Danhage's are even better. Ekdahl never amazes us but is always efficient, and in "When Kingdoms Fall" his performance behind the drum kit is very precise. Zander, though a very competent keyboardist, is more of an ornament than a true main player in EVERGREY. Rarely have I found a better example of "background keyboards" in a metal band.

And that's probably my biggest problem with this band. It started progressive-enough, reaching its climax with "Recreation Day", and taking its music to a newer level with the almost-excellent "The Inner Truth". But suddenly, Englund dropped all the interesting lyrical themes and it seems the music had to suffer as well. The band really "dumbed-down" its music with "Monday Morning Apocalypse", and even though "Torn" is a step in the right direction, is nowhere, nowhere near the level of their previous releases. Songs are shorter, keyboards are just a gimmick, even Englund's vocals, once regarded as some of the best in metal, have taken a distinct commercial approach, with the singer constantly favoring superfluous adorning techniques instead of delivering a true powerful performance.

Overall, EVERGREY is just barely a progressive-metal band. To put this idea in perspective, we can say that, while in "The Inner Truth" and earlier efforts the band sounded a little bit like SYMPHONY X and PAIN OF SALVATION, nowadays what their music reminds us of is of much more direct, non- progressive Swedish metal bands like SOILWORK or IN FLAMES. It's clear that that's the direction Englund wants for its creature. Sadly, I must say that the music of any of those two bands is far more entertaining and well-crafted (for metal, that is), than the last two releases by EVERGREY. While those two bands sound like excellent melodic-commercial-death-metal, EVERGREY could just be described as "metal formerly known as progressive". It doesn't fit in any other description, not because it's incredibly original, but because it almost lacks any character.

As a metal album, I'd give "Torn" a 3, as it's entertaining enough. As a progressive-metal album, it can't get better than a 2. That averages as 2.5, and I'll round the rating up to a 3.

The T | 3/5 |


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