Evergrey - The Dark Discovery


Year of Release: 1998
Label: Gothenburg Noiseworks/Black Sun
Catalog Number: GNW002
Format: CD
Total Time: 47:52:00

How I came to have this disc is very interesting; I was in the mood for something new, interesting, and something that I don't normally listen to, and this popped up on my doorway one day. Actually, Ken Golden described this to me before I scoffed it, and it really didn't sound up my alley, except that Andy LaRocque (of King Diamond) was producing the disc, and playing some guest solo spots on it as well. The combination of needing something different, and Andy being on the disc convinced me to grab it. I don't normally listen to this style of music from the description, but as I played it, I realized that it had all of the ingredients in the music that I do love; the atmosphere, the crunch, the darkness, the melodies and the power. What I was listening to was pretty much like a power metal version of Tad Morose, a band that is known for the above mentioned qualities and a band that I truly admire for it's unique style of prog metal. Evergrey takes the darkness of Tad Morose, adds in some more power, more acoustics, a bit more warmth, and rolls it all up to make this disc. Power / prog fans should have a field day with this disc when it finally gets released in the States.

THE STYLE:

If you can imagine what Tad Morose sounds like playing some power metal, then you pretty much have an idea of what Evergrey is all about. As a matter of fact, Tad Morose would have lived on in a much brighter light had they released this disc, regardless of what singer they used. I will be using Tad Morose (circa Sender Of Thoughts) as a basis for comparison for most of the music, as I feel that this music comes close to that approach. This music is very heavy, crunchy, powerful, emotional and quite dark due to the nature of the story, which I still can't figure out. I would call this a combination of power / prog, with an emphasis on power. Not your typical run of the mill power metal band, however, there is so much more going in within the music that prog fans will enjoy this as well. Somehow, the band never stays still within their song structures, yet they manage to maintain a nice sense of warmth and melody while doing so, the same ingredient that draws me into Tad Morose's music. Another band that Evergrey bring to mind would be Pain of Salvation and the Entropia disc. Note that all of the mentioned bands are Swedish?, and darkness seems to run rampant between them. I would guess that fans of Tad or Pain of Salvation would love Evergrey as well. The Dark Discovery is a concept disc, covering 47 minutes of a story line that I've yet to figure out. It seems that this guy has died, for reasons unknown to me, and what he discovers during his death scares the hell out of him more than his real life ever did. Along the musical journey, we are treated to a powerhouse of crunching metal, acoustic passages, an even a ballad that blows me away each time I hear it. The music and vocals are played and sung with so much passion, you can't help but be drawn into this dark world.

THE BAND:

Drums, bass, keyboards, and 2 guitarists with one of the guitarists doing the vocal honors. It's clear that the band as a whole seems very comfortable as a power metal band, yet not content to play just any straight ahead, catchy, fun songs. Instead, the band throws in twists and turns from every direction, making this one hell of a progressive approach. Sure, there are easy to follow and good toe tapping songs on here, but somehow the band manages to keep it changing and interesting without losing the listener. If I had to pick out a standout musician on this disc, something I don't normally do, it would be the drummer. For some reason that I can't explain, his sound and style stand way out in front of the rest, with his ever changing drum beats, and interesting sound, you can't help bang something on the table or couch during this music. The keyboards are primarily used for a dark, dreary background, much like Tad Morose. Using lots of string synths, the music is given a dark but emotional boost and beauty; something that is not found in most bands. The darkness combind with the beauty is the key to this band's success. The bass player is quite adequate to my ears, pounding out nice, heavy thumps along with the drums. The guitarists are interesting as well, with a nice, thick, heavy crunch to their sound, and the leads played with emotion rather than for filler or show.

THE PRODUCTION:

I always have complaints with productions. Most of the time they are all small, little bitches that don't amount to anything except a preference, and the same applies here. Andy LaRocque produced this disc, and King Diamond's discs are among some of the best sounding discs in metal, so it's no wonder that Evergrey sounds ever great as well. However, it's a very thick production, and the guitars are just a bit stuck together with a very thick sound, and it's hard to hear exactly what they are doing all the time. The drums stand out to my ears, with one of the best kick drum sounds I've heard in awhile. It's quite a clear, thundering sound, quite different from most kick drums I've heard from bands. I think it's the drum sound mixed with the drummer's ability that makes him standout as he does. The bass is clear and heavy as well, giving this heavy music plenty of bottom to shake your walls. The keyboards are also crisp and clear. The vocals are a bit back in the mix it seems, but you can hear every word that the singer says, even through a bit of an accent that goes unnoticeable most of the time. Overall, the production matches the music almost too perfectly, and it's amazing that every aspect of this band and their music blends so well. It's a combination of their style and their sound that makes this disc such a hit for me.

THE VOCALS:

Tom Englund's voice, by all defintions of my taste, should be somewhat of an obstacle for me; but for some reason it isn't. He has a gruff / gravelly voice, almost like a heavy breathing style of singing, in that while he singing, he sounds like he is breathing quite heavy at the same time. The interesting thing about him is that for a voice like his, you would think that screaming would be more common, but Tom chooses to actually sing these lyrics, and he presents them with such passion that it's hard not to feel for the guy in the story. It's almost as if Tom were playing the part of the guy, and trying to get us to feel for him as well, and he does this well. Tom doesn't overdo it, and stays within a certain range, opting to bring the story to us rather than try to out do the music or experiment with his voice. His voice is very emotional as well, which may be the key to my ability to enjoy it as much as I do. Most people won't have any problem with his voice, and you will find that it fits the music and story almost perfectly.

THE COMMENTS:

To be honest, I'm blown away by this disc. It was sent to me at the right moment, it had the right ingredients, and it's become a favorite of mine in the power section of my collection. Throw in a neat concept, power, Andy LaRocque, darkness, warmth, beauty and emotion, and this adds up to one hell of a disc. Those looking for something different in their prog metal would do well here, in addition to Tad Morose and Pain of Salvation fans. The disc has been released in Europe, and should be released here in the States some time in the near future. I did forget to mention the gorgeous artwork on the cover. It's a digi-pak style, beautifully laid out and the painting is superb. There is a booklet with the lyrics and band info that slides neatly in and out of one of the sides of the cover. All in all, everything about this band and it's music is done right, and it would be hard to find anything to complain about unless the style doesn't appeal to you. Other than that, strap in for a dark ride through death, but in a beautiful, tasteful manner if that makes any sense. Highly recommended.

[This album was re-issued by InsideOut Music America in 2004 (IOMACD 4044-2) -ed]


Tracklisting:
Blackened Dawn (3:52) / December 26th (5:05) / Dark Discovery (3:35) / As Light Is Our Darkness (1:59) / Beyond Salvation (4:03) / Closed Eyes (6:39) / Trust And Betrayal (4:18) / Shadowed (3:52) / When The River Calls (4:28) / For Every Tear That Falls (4:14) / To Hope Is To Fear (5:39)

Musicians:
Daniel Nojd - bass
Dan Bronell - guitar
Tom Englund - vocals and guitar
Patrick Carlsson - drums

Discography:
The Dark Discovery (1998)
Solitude*Dominance*Tragedy (1999)
In Search Of Truth (2001)
Recreation Day (2003)
Inner Circle (2004)
The Dark Discovery - Special Edition (2004)
Solitude*Dominance*Tragedy - Special Edition (2004)
A Night To Remember - Live 2004 (2005)
Monday Morning Apocalypse (2006)
Torn (2008)

A Night To Remember - Live 2004 (DVD) (2005)

Genre: Progressive/Power Metal

Origin SE

Added: July 25th 1999
Reviewer: Larry "LarryD" Daglieri

Artist website: www.evergrey.net
Hits: 1062
Language: english

  

[ Back to Reviews Index | Post Comment ]