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Evergrey: In Search of Truth

Dream Theater built a fantastic album around the concept of hypnotic regression (1999's Metropolis Pt.2: Scenes From a Memory), but the veteran prog-metal band failed to greatly evolve their sound. That's not the case with In Search of Truth, another concept prog-metal record focusing on hypnotic analysis of one man's damage to his mental and physical health. Sweden's Evergrey weave a textured tapestry of emotions throughout this record (their third), while solidly maintaining a somber, dark and slightly discomforting mood. A trio of new members brings a hearty aggression and passion to In Search of Truth, and keyboards play a more dominant role here than they did on either last year's Solitude Dominance Tragedy or 1998's The Dark Discovery.

Despite being rife with accessible melodies and hooks, a listener-friendly plot and engagingly desperate (almost whispered) spoken-word passages, this record is not for the weak of heart. Singer and guitarist Tom S. Englund's deep, gruff voice resonates long after he brashly exhales each note, practically stabbing listeners with its immediacy. The rhythm section of bass player Michael Hakansson and drummer Patrick Carlsson thumps its way in and out of progressive power-metal mode, galloping across landscapes both typical ("The Masterplan") and uncharacteristic ("Misled") of the genre. Further widening the scope of In Search of Truth is "Dark Waters," featuring more than a dozen members of The Mercury Choir, who almost elevate the song to a spiritual plane.

In many ways, Evergrey recall a lighter version of label mates Pain of Salvation, but with slightly less musical complexity and a lot less lyrical complexity. Cheers to Inside Out Music for sharing this band with a broader audience and for helping forge what could become a renaissance of sorts in a genre rapidly redefining itself.

Added: August 16th 2014
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Related Link: InsideOut Music America
Hits: 6294
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Evergrey: In Search of Truth
Posted by Murat Batmaz, SoT Staff Writer on 2014-08-16 10:51:25
My Score:

In Search of Truth is not only Evergrey's high-water mark compositionally and technically but it is also a benchmark for the genre. Here, the band's aggressive riffing on their previous album, Solitude Dominance Tragedy, is fully perfected here while pushing the songs into more progressive metal territory.

Englund's vocals are possibly his best ever, with moving lyrics and hooks. The keyboards have never achieved the same level of perfection on any of their albums again. Though he may not have been a core member of the band, Sven Karlsson's work on this disc remains unmatched. His keyboard tones creep into the mix secretly and underpin the guitars, peeking through the cracks and enveloping all the songs. Drummer Patrick Carlsson, on the other hand, is the main reason why these songs are so complex and engaging. Unlike the last couple of Evergrey albums where the drums just add rudimentary rhythms to the pieces, Carlsson actually *defines* them, with manic velocity and unexpected drum fills. Rather than following the guitars and bass, his drumming pushes the boundaries and paves the way for Englund and Danhage. The guitar tandem is amazing. There is great melodic depth in the compositions, which basically ripped apart the band's prior songwriting formula and replaced it with the unique Evergrey blueprint. Though melodically rich, the guitars also thrust metal into entirely new realms, giving off an antiseptic yet very organic atmosphere.

"The Masterplan," at less than five minutes, opens the album powerfully, setting the tone and introducing the concept, which is about alien abduction when taken literally, but I like to interpret the story line as a metaphor for paranoia, self-deceit, and a sense of abandonment. This might have been the greatest album opener on an Evergrey album had it not been for "Solitude Within," the first song on Solitude Dominance Tragedy. "Rulers of the Mind" and "Watching the Skies" hint at the band's more progressive stylings, mustering viable, memorable melodies and bringing forth intensely busy drumming with a punchy, super-charged guitar tone. Englund's desperation translates to his vocals like never before or after, yet he maintains the hooks and mini-choruses expertly. The experiment peaks on "Mark of the Triangle," easily their progressive metal highpoint, ushering in devastasting brands of technicality without losing focus on melodic signatures and easy-to-relate lyrics. Transitions between individual parts are rapid and unpredictable, but the compositional flair is never sacrificed or compromised in favour of speed-of-light playing or scorching vocal acrobatics.

"Different Worlds" pulls at the heart strings, with beautiful muffled micro sounds depicting the character's desperation and Englund's inimitable vocalizations. It's perhaps my favourite Evergrey ballad alongside "Words Mean Nothing." Unfortunately, I haven't been able to relate to any of their songs in the same way after Recreation Day.

The year 2001 was perhaps the best year for Evergrey's then label Inside Out. They released Ark's Burn the Sun, Devin Townsend's Terria, and Evergrey's In Search of Truth all in the same year and they're all masterpieces in progressive metal and absolutely essential to fans of the genre.

» Reader Comments:

Evergrey: In Search of Truth
Posted by Robert Lisanti on 2008-04-02 12:08:19
My Score:

Love this album, one of the best Dark progressive metal albums I ever heard escpecially the song "Watching the Skies".. This is a "Must Have" if you like Evergrey and this type of progressive music.

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