Evergrey - Torn
For a decade running, Sweden's Evergrey have been known for three things; reliability, progression, and passion. Many fans will readily tell you they haven't released a real awful record yet, and Torn is their 7th. Reliability. While maintaining a core sound laid out on early discs, they've also managed to inject palpable amounts of newness and originality. Progression. Frontman Tom Englund is one of metal's most well-known assests of emotive lyrics and equally soulful and harmonic vocals, and the music consistently maintains an atmosphere in tune to the lyrical supplements. Passion.
I'll admit it, I've never took the time to listen to Evergrey before Torn crossed my path, but I think I may have uncovered another favorite group. To take a newbie's prospective, their sound mixes the melodic death metal of In Flames and Dark Tranquility but also the catchiness and refined nature of an Opeth, with more of the progressive nature of the latter as well. So many songs stand out on big, beefy, chug-a-lug riffage and spot-on transisitions that will raise goosebumps across the most jaded melodic metal supporter. Englund's vocals are some of the most potent I've ever had the pleasure of hearing on a metal record, and I understand now what so many have told me about his skills in the past. Seek out key tracks "When Kingdoms Fall", "Fail" and "Still Walk Alone" for sure-fire enjoyment.
Here's a band in Evergrey who's entire back catalog (which is rumored by the band to perhaps be in store for reissue-with-bonus-material treatment due to their new deal with SPV/Steamhammer) I'll eventually end up owning. While this is nothing but modern metal, it's done with an obvious ear towards what's worked both in the past and what may suddenly jump out at you now, taking you totally offguard. It's got all the elements of a "must-hear", and as such will no doubt end up somewhere near or on many a "best-of-2008" list. Maybe even my own.
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