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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

Evergrey

In Search of Truth

Review by Gary Hill

The truth is out there. Everygrey's new album does have strong X Files leanings. In fact, it is a concept album that deals with alien abduction. Rather than taking the subject in a cheesy sort of universal mode, though, it is the story of one man's struggle to understand what is happening to him. The lyrics, and the strong delivery by vocalist Tom S. Englund, convey the confusion, fear and sense of helplessness splendidly.

Did I mention that there is also music? Actually, the music is very strong and powerful progressive metal - think Queensryche, Iron Maiden and King Diamond all rolled together. The instrumentation really adds to the story line. At times it emphasizes, creates drama and builds tension. The overall picture is that of a very well crafted concept album that certainly should please fans of progressive metal.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: The Early Years Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
The Masterplan
Beginning with the narrator's voice saying that he is going to keep a tape recorder with him at all times to record the frightening events befalling him, as the instruments kick in it is in the form of fast and furious prog metal. The vocals here are powerful, as is the punchy, sometimes staccato music. A hard-edged fast paced instrumental break pulls the cut in new directions and showcases a powerful guitar solo.
Rulers of the Mind
Starting with mysterious sounding keys, this cut quickly explodes to prog metal fury. The crunchy tone gives way to a more sedate, but still mysterious sounding prog metal ballad mode. It drops to a piano-dominated segment that adds some strong pathos and drama to the number and album. The cut rebuilds based on that segment. Chorale oriented vocals add a neo-classical feel that calls to mind Queensryche's "Suite Sister Mary" a bit along with the movie soundtrack to The Omen. This is a killer prog metal cut with neo-classical leanings.
Watching The Skies
With the music based in hard-edged frantic metal, the confusion of the narrator's fate is overtaking him. The later segments of this cut get quite powerful.
State of Paralysis
Starting with haunting piano, the cut builds on this mode in a melancholy sort of balladic style. Englund's vocals are incredibly powerful and emotional on this one.
The Encounter
Frantic metal guitar riffs start this cut and the prog metal changes are awesome. This piece conveys the helplessness in the face of the abduction by a superior intellect and power. It gets very dramatic and covers a lot of musical ground.
Mark of the Triangle
A slower dramatic and melodic mode begins this cut. It changes gear to frantic driven prog metal after a time. It then drops to a staccato and dramatic more metallic section after a time. It builds from there, becoming quite heavy at times. It continues to alternate and build on its various themes.
Dark Waters
Mysterious tones start this one, and it kicks in with a great percussive based melody. This track chronicles one of the abduction and truly conveys the helplessness of the situation. The arrangement takes on neo-classical operatic tones. This is an incredibly powerful piece with many varied styles presented within. It just cuts off to end.
Different Worlds
Keys start this one very gradually in the emptiness left behind by the previous piece. After the first verse, tones similar to the theme to The Exorcist begin building the piece. The lyrics chronicle the loss of dignity and respect that the encounter has caused our narrator. It alternates between a couple of different modes and the vocals are very powerful. The piano work on this one is very evocative and a spoken word narrative conveys the pure terror of the situation wonderfully. It then evolves into a hard rocking dramatic mode, feeling almost Pink Floydish at times. The earlier themes return, but in this harder mode.
Misled
Melancholy piano starts this one, but it quickly begins to rock out, then drops back to a progressively oriented keyboard dominated segment. The cut screams out later in prog metal fury and lush arrangements. This is a killer number and a great closer to a very strong album.
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