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Evergrey - The Inner Circle CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

3.85 | 181 ratings

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4 stars Evergrey is the kind of band that, just listening to the extreme heaviness of the music without ever hearing lyrics, you might expect them to have a growling death metal vocalist. I, for one, am very grateful that this is not the case. All of Evergrey's albums are pretty similar in overall sound, even though the band's lineup has undergone several changes, most recently with a change of drummers. Jonas, the new guy, is pretty standard for metal drummers. He's good but not great, not quite as good as the last guy, Patrick was his name.

All of Evergrey's albums have a very distinctive sound within the prog metal landscape. The albums consist of mostly very heavy songs in a medium tempo, with backing keyboards (not very many solos, but at least good atmospheric stuff) and very emotional vocals. The latter is especially true in Evergrey's two concept pieces, including this album. The Inner Circle is probably my favorite Evergrey album, I just love the dark atmosphere, melodic solos, and the emotional vocals with great lyrics.

"A Touch of Blessing" is a great album opener that is really great at first listen, and that's kind of what album openers are for.

"Ambassador" is one of my least favorite songs on the album, the vocals are a little too harsh for me, but it's still a pretty good metal song.

"In the Wake of the Weary" is the type of song that I love Evergrey for creating. It has great vocal lines, including some really good female vocals from Tom's wife, and a killer solo.

"Harmless Wishes" is one of the defining songs of this album, it has all of the elements that make me love this album so much. The vocal lines are very emotional, and the topic that the lyrics cover realy demands that they be delivered in such a manner. The string quartet is used very well in this song, and is one of the best elements of the album.

"Waking up Blind" is the only song on the album that I really don't like that much. It's not that I can't handle a slow song now and then, but this one just isn't that great.

"More Than Ever" starts off really heavy with a headbanging type of riff; I've seen this song performed live on the DVD, and it's one of the best of the concert. The chorus is standard for this album: emotional with some killer female backing vocals; one of my favorites.

"The Essence of Conviction" is my favorite song on the album. It is also one of the more progressive and symphonic sounding songs on the album, it starts off in 12/8 with some really nice backing keyboards. The vocals are very emotional and really draw you in to the concept of the album, and the song's morbid topic... It's about the cult's leader sacrificing his own child to fulfill his insane religious visions. The guy that does the voice of the ambassador really does a great job of making you hate him when he says "We have to kill the baby!" It's really bonechilling stuff, and I love it.

"Where All Good Sleep" is another mid tempo song that makes me love this album even more. Although it's not an album highlight, it is not weak at all. Great song.

"Faith Restored" is another one of those slow acoustic songs, except that this one is GREAT! Is is definitely an album essential. The string quartet really makes this song what it is. The main menu of the DVD has this song playing in the background, but only the string quartet's part... I left it on the main page for like an hour just soaking in the greatness. More bands should use strings in their music, it really adds another dimension to songs such as this one.

The last song is an instrumental, "When the Walls Go Down." It really showcases the string quartet very well, and although it is instrumental, it does have some spoken word stuff from the ambassador... spooky. The album ends on a kind of awkward note... not that it's bad, but it really doesn't sound complete like other concept pieces do.

That's why I am not giving this album five stars. Evergrey have been pretty prolific for a prog-metal band, releasing 6 albums in the past 8 years, but none of the albums has been much longer than 50 minutes. I don't believe that Evergrey have released a masterpiece album yet, but they have come pretty close THREE times in a row. I am pretty dissappointed with the latest release, but I still have hopes that they will someday release their greatest work.

Crazybreadhorse | 4/5 |


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