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Evergrey - Solitude, Dominance, Tragedy (Reissue) Award winner

Evergrey
Solitude, Dominance, Tragedy (Reissue)
by Justin "Witty City' Wittenmeier at 30 December 2017, 8:36 AM

Sweden’s EVERGREY have long since been the kings of dark, moody, and often times depressing Heavy Metal.  Although many people have often called them prog, they eschew long songs and crazy technical skills and focus more on emotionally deep songs that speak on a variety of subjects.  Their sound has always been pretty dense, with some really good production values to their riffs and tone that really make them heavier than most Prog Metal bands.

Their second album, “Solitude, Dominance, Tragedy,” has recently been re-released back into print and remastered as well.  Jacob Hansen did a remarkable job on the remaster; it sounds so much louder than the original but it isn’t blown out.  The bass is a lot more audible this time around and the guitars seem, somehow, even heavier than the first go around. This classic album is extra dark, even for EVERGREY, who write some of the most depressing and sorrowful music around.  The sound is a bit more Gothic than their usual fear and it adds an almost creepy atmosphere to the songs.

Musically speaking, if you are familiar with the band, then you are going to get exactly what you expect: mid length songs filled to the brim with surprisingly crushing riffs and some well-placed and time keys.  The songs mostly have the “Verse, Chorus, Verse,” pattern but this format is surrounded by epic passages of heavy riffs mixing with clean keyboards or a choir. However, as with any EVERGREY album, the highlight is Tom Englund and his vocals.  Simply put, he is one of the best singers ever and I would put him against almost anyone, regardless of style or genre.  Tom’s vocals are nothing short of magical and filled with pure soul. Even at such an early point in his career, his passion could be seen and felt. Honestly, I’m not sure why he isn’t more well known outside of Metal circles.

The album begins with one of the best opening tracks I’ve heard, “Solitude Within.”  Even if every song on this album sucked (none of them do, by the way), this one song would warrant the purchase of the entire disc.  It opens with a quick Gothic keyboard passage before the drums and riffs come barreling in.  The light but well-done keyboards boost the dark sound as the riffs really kick in, almost Thrash Metal in their attack.  The clean keyboards come back and work in tandem with the riffs in a way that most bands could only dream about pulling off.  Just when you think the song can’t get any better Tom belts “Cold is the air breathe I sleepless but I don’t mind the rain With fear I strive but still enjoying the pain I’m awaiting the dawn as I welcome the end.” The first time I heard this verse it sent chills up my spine and it still does.  The passion he fits in just this one verse is more than bands can’t comprehend or pull off.  His entire performance, not just this one part on this one song, speaks this type of emotional volume that I have trouble explaining.  It is just something you have to experience.

Elsewhere, tracks like “Nosferatu,” and “The Shocking Truth,” are backed by his vocals.  The subjects (vampires, aliens) are obviously not of a serious nature but I’ll be damned to hell and back if he doesn’t make me believe it and feel it.  To take such benign subject matter and turn it real, turn it to something that can move you, is a rare talent that very few have. “A Scattered Me,” has Tom riding high upon the waves of Zachary Stephens before the rest of the band joins in.  The song builds up as it goes, in no small part to Daniel Nojd’s bass. EVERGREY is at their best when they are playing fast, heavy, yet still retaining those expressive vocals.  There are very few things in the world better than an amazing clean vocalist with raw power singing over metal that is so heavy your face melts.  “When Darkness Fall,” is one such track that crushes the entire way through, proving that melodic Gothic tinged Prog Metal can be as brutal as anything else. Patrick Carlsson doesn’t hurt either.

The last track, “The Corey Curse,” is an album highlight, showcasing the strength of an album that ends as strong as it began.  The beginning has some wonderful melodic riffs and leads, a very dynamic show of play between Tom and Dan Bronell. A lot of bands earlier material, especially if its been out of print for a while, often times goes overlooked or ignored completely but as strong as they continue to be today, EVERGREY built their career on top of albums like this one.  Essential listening.

Songwriting: 10
Originality: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Solitude Within
2. Nosferatu
3. The Shocking Truth
4. A Scattered Me
5. She Speaks To The Dead
6. When Darkness Falls
7. Words Mean Nothing
8. Damnation
9. The Corey Curse
10. To Hope Is To Fear (Demo Version)
Lineup:
Tom S. Englund – Vocals, Guitar
Daniel Nojd – Bass, Backing Vocals
Patrick Carlsson – Drums
Dan Bronell – Guitars
Zachary Stephens – Keyboards (Guest Player)
Record Label: AFM Records
     


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Edited 16 July 2018
 

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