Evergrey - Solitude*Dominance*Tragedy


Year of Release: 1999
Label: Hall Of Sermon
Catalog Number: HOS 7111
Format: CD
Total Time: 43:26:00

When this band hit the metal scene last year with The Dark Discovery, it was evident that metal did indeed have a future, and that there are bands that do not try to jump on the trendy bandwagon and follow suit to get ahead. Evergrey is a band that is now making waves throughout the metal world with their powerful, melodic, atmospheric and progressive style which now seems privy to only this band; another sign that there are bands out there with brass that will sacrifice to do it their way, and their way only to get ahead and try to succeed despite the odds against them. Another band that did it this way and succeeded was Iron Maiden, who always did it their way until the world realized that they weren't going to change for anyone, and still became one of the most successful metal bands ever.

Now, in the face of what seems to be a dying breed as far as mainstream is concerned, Evergrey bursts onto the scene with their 1998 release The Dark Discovery, and now, in 1999 and 2000, release their newest disc, called Solitude*Dominance* Tragedy, another gem of a disc that will certainly add to this band's already growing popularity.

A virtually unknown band in 1998, the band defied the word "debut" by releasing a disc that many bands only hope to achieve after their 3rd or 4th release. Add in an incredible piece of CD artwork and package, a single video from the disc, posters, promotion, an alliance with Andy LaRocque (King Diamond), a quick trip to the USA in August 1999 to literally take over the annual Powermad show, and then release a sophomore disc that surpasses their already outstanding debut, and this band is obviously confident and ready to take over the metal world on the power of their own musical creations.

THE STYLE

Picking up where the band left off on The Dark Discovery, Evergrey still draws upon their original dark, atmospheric, gloomy, powerful, melodic entree and adds an even more sense of melody to their music. With the aid of keyboards, strings, female backing choirs, cellos, harp and an array of samples mixed in with their music, they continue to pummel the listener with heavy, crunching, power chords laced with progressive movements at every chance. The darkness is ever-present, and it's this darkness touched by beauty that gives Evergrey their strength in music. Never overbearing, but always powerful, the band makes sure to keep their heaviness tinged with beauty and it's rare that a band this powerful could make their sound so accessible and melodic.

I've always likened the band's style to a sort of King Diamond meets Tad Morose type fusion, in which the music is heavy, crunchy, powerful, progressive and melodic and cold all at the same time. Suffice it to say that if King Diamond or Tad Morose released a disc of this power, their careers would certainly be kick started once again and make a comeback statement - but as it stands, only Evergrey seems to be able to continually write their music with such power and beauty while others seem to have to experiment with different sounds to compete. It's evident that Evergrey has confidence and pride in their music to stick with their signature sound and expound on it.

From accessible, catchy power metal boomers, to soft, cushy, atmospheric ballads, the band shows that they are also capable and not afraid to mix up the music a bit to complement their dark, conceptual stories - usually about life / death relationships to each other, abstract emotions, the here beyond, and the constant fight within oneself living in darkness. The lyrics are unusually well thought out, meaningful, sometimes terrifying, and always making you wonder if the writer ( in most cases the singer Tom Englund ) is actually living this hell he has created for the listener to try to understand and absorb. This is a band that thrives on every aspect of their art - from the lyrics, to the production, the always incredible artwork, to the most refined aspect of their music.

THE BAND:

Tom Englund - Vocals / guitar
Dan Bronell - Guitars
Daniel Nojd - Bass / backing vocals ( now out of the band )
Patrick Carlsson - Drums

Based on their performance at Powermad and on their discs, I can honestly say that this band is one of the most talented metal bands to emerge in quite some time.

Tom Englund is nothing short of a musical genius. Writing most of the lyrics, doing all of the lead vocals, and playing guitar with a fury is certainly something to behold. His tall size, mixed in with the ferocity of his playing style makes him a formidable individual.

Dan Bronell, the most quiet of the bunch off the stage, remains quiet-like on the stage, satisfied to let his guitar speak for him, plays some quality lead guitar with melody as his partner. Neither of the guitarists are interested in the showmanship aspect of their craft - instead, they want to bring the music and the storyline to the listener via their instruments, and they both complement each other well - trading off leads and rhythms at the most precise moments and both adding to a wall of powerful guitar sounds.

Daniel Nojd, no longer with the band as of this writing, held the bottom end down with a powerhouse of a bass sound, and on both Evergrey discs, he cranks out some powerful bottom end that will rattle your stereo system.

Patrick Carlsson is one of the best drummers I've ever seen play live and it shows in the chemical makeup of the music. If you can try to imagine that Evergrey has incorporated the drums into the music AS a vital part of the makeup of the music, instead of just carrying the beat for the musical instruments, then this is what Evergrey has done. Patrick plays with a style that I've heard few players use. Mickey Dee of ex-King Diamond, ex-Dokken fame immediately comes to mind. Obviously a double bass aficionado, Patrick doesn't show off his ability to fire up the drums at the speed of light, but injects certain aspects of his talent at every turn when needed at vital points during the songs. Listen to his double bass injections as the most precise moments and you'll get the point I'm trying to make. I'm always amazed at how well and smooth prog metal drummers are, but I have to say that Patrick is one of the best out there in the metal world right now.

THE VOCALS:

Tom Englund has a gruff, low, passionate voice that just cries out passion and pain. His voice mixes in with the music so seamlessly and effortlessly, and his cries of pain and agony can be felt through each and every song that he belts out with what seems like his last breath. Lots of times in progressive music, people complain about gruff, growly or overly aggressive singers ( myself included ). I've seen very few people complain about Tom's style or voice, and I must say that for a guy who has a tone such as his, he uses his voice to its capacity and fills every song with tons of emotion, passion, and anguish. Evergrey lyrics are dark - and Tom's voice adds both beauty and darkness to the already dark music, making Evergrey's overall sound incredibly complete. From a soft, whispered introduction, to mid range passion, to increasingly agonizing yells, Tom's voice fits the Evergrey storylines perfectly. You'd never expect a guy with such a voice to be singing ballads. On 'The Dark Discovery", Tom belts out one of the greatest metal ballads of all time as far as I'm concerned, with his girlfriend Carina singing opposite him ( she is an incredible singer herself ). The song is called "For Every Tear That Falls", one of the most intense ballads I've heard. On SDT, he also songs solo on a ballad called "Words Mean Nothing". The guy can do it all and is amazingly versatile. A perfect voice for Evergrey music. I've had many conversations with Tom - on the phone and in person, and he sounds nothing like he sings. I once asked him in person if he wouldn't mind singing me some tunes so I can hear that voice, and he replied, " I can't"....... He went on to state that his voice changes when he sings, and that it was difficult to reproduce it when not singing to his music. We should all be so lucky...

THE PRODUCTION:

Evergrey does not compromise anything it appears - not even their sound. So they enlisted the aid of Andy LaRocque (King Diamond) on both discs to give them the extra added punch they needed to bring their music to it's fullest potential.

The sound is a combination of thickness, but Andy had the task of trying to maintain the darkness of the sound to complement it's underlying beauty. The outcome is a thick, punchy, wall of crunch with the added keyboards, samples and other various orchestrated instruments to bring out the melodic warmth of the music. Somehow, he managed to achieve this.

While the fury of the guitar sound is blasting out through your speakers, and the bass and drums are rattling your walls, you wonder how you are ever going to hear Tom's voice over all of this. I'm sure it was hell to achieve, but it was achieved. Every single instrument and vocal line is easily heard through each and every song. When the soft intros appear, with cellos, harps and Tom's signature whispers, the sounds come through crisp and clean.

I will give a huge thumbs up to the massive drum sound that Andy achieved on both Evergrey's discs. I'm glad that some producers see fit to give the drums their due sound instead of just focusing on another aspect of the music or vocals. In Evergrey, the drums are an important factor in the overall sound of the band, and the drums are not only superbly placed in the mix, but they have a sound that SOUNDS like a drum kit and someone who is banging heavily on the kit. One listen to the ride cymbals will give you an idea of how well this sound was produced. Kudos to Andy and Evergrey for obtaining a REAL drum kit sound instead of making the drums the weak point of the music, like so many other metal bands have done. Anyone who ever wondered what I meant by my comments about weak or non-existent drums and owns either or both Evergrey discs now knows what I mean.

THE VERDICT

As far as I'm concerned, Evergrey is the future of powerful / progressive metal and the attitude that bands must maintain if the integrity of the art is going to be maintained and heard. The fierce entrance onto the metal scene and how fast this band has risen in such a short time shows that it can be done, and I predict great things for this band. The way I see it, the band took a chance and burst onto the scene with guns blazing and all stops and plugs pulled out. The band lost a tremendous amount of money by coming here to the USA to play a short gig, but I do believe that the show did pay off for the band in some way, and it's this attitude that will propel the band into metal stardom.

...........

In January of the year 2000, the band will release their [Solitude*Dominance*Tragedy] disc officially and it's one you will want to own.

[And in 2004, InsideOut Music America reissued S*D*T* as a special edition (IOMACD 4045-2) -ed]


Tracklisting:
Solitude Within (5:33) / Nosferatu (5:41) / The Shocking Truth (4:35) / A Scattered Me (4:18) / She Speaks To The Dead (4:59) / When Darkness Falls (4:52) / Words Mean Nothing (4:13) / Damnation (3:52) / The Corey Curse (5:23)

Musicians:
Tom Englund - vocals and guitar
Dan Bronell - guitars
Daniel Nojd - bass and backing vocals
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: October 1st 1999
Reviewer: Larry "LarryD" Daglieri

Artist website: www.evergrey.net
Hits: 923
Language: english

  

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