Evergrey - Torn

1. Broken Wings
2. Soaked
3. Fear
4. When Kingdoms Fall
5. In Confidence
6. Fail
7. Numb
8. Torn
9. Nothing is Erased
10. Still Walk Alone
11. These Scars

Tom S. Englund (V & G)
Henrik Danhage (G)
Rikard Zander (Kb)
Jonas Ekdahl (D)
Jari Kainulainen (B)

The Dark Discovery (98)
Solitude-Dominance-Tragedy (99)
In Search of Truth (01)
Recreation Day (03)
The Inner Circle (04)
A Night to Remember (Live, 05)
Monday Morning Apocalypse (06)


Evergrey is said to have felt a little worn out with how they made their music up until their latest album, ’Monday Morning Apocalypse’ was released with help from an outside producer. With ’Torn’ however, that collaboration is ended and Evergreys’ front man and band leader Tom S. Englund and drummer Jonas Ekdahl now again stand responsible for the mix and production. Personally, I don’t have a hard time understanding why they would feel that way, but none the less Evergrey have come out with their best albums in the three latest and that’s why some people (in this case me) might feel a little uneasy when the band go out with the message that this is a mix between ’In Search of Truth’ and ’Recreation Day’. Personally I was never fond of more than one or two songs on each of those albums, but probably… I’m just guessing now, Evergrey forgot to mention that this also mixes in some ingrediences from ‘The Inner Circle’ and ‘Monday Morning Apocalypse’ as well.

‘Torn’ (in Swedish this means “tower”) is also something totally new from Evergrey. The grayish, darkish band have always had some dark and sorrowful lyrics, but this is on the border to EMO at times. The album doesn’t use the Swedish meaning of Torn and therefore the title might be quite revealing. I’m guessing this is somewhat of an concept album about a man or woman that is torn between hope and despair because of miserable love that doesn’t seem to have an happy ending. Titles like Broken Wings, Soaked, When Kingdom Falls, Fail, Numb, Torn, Still Walk alone and These scars all witness about the dark theme and painful, hurtful feelings that have inspired the lyrics. I don’t know if someone in the band has went through a hard separation from someone he loves or not, but they move you, the lyrics. At least they move me very much, since I just went through a very painful separation and recognize most of the word more or less directly.

Lyrics are very, very good but I don’t really like Englunds’ voice. Many people celibrate this guy dearly and say he lifts Evergrey to even another level. I understand how they resonate, but I don’t really agree with people saying that. I think his hoarse voice is pretty annoying in the end and even though he performs and delivers the feelings directly into my heart I would actually like it better if he was one or two steps lower in pitch and a little clearer in the voice. But that’s just my personal opinion and the reason to why I give this album six and not seven, it’s not that his voice really is bad and it does definitely not ruin the album in any way, just keeps it from being perfect and I know some people agree with me on that while others think I’m totally crazy for thinking that.

The music is mainly guitar lead and a bit power progressive with a pretty dark mood, just like most of the previous ones. This is although much more guitar inspired and the keyboards have moved pretty much into the back and sometimes you don’t even hear it at all – even though you can feel it somewhere, adding strength, power and a certain kind of depth to the music. The base is nowadays played by former Stratovarius bassist Jari Kainulainen and I don’t know if he’s to blame for the much more melodic baselines or if the songwriters have written them better but it certainly makes Evergrey more melodic than ever before. Songs like In Confidence, When Kingdoms Fall and Torn are my favorites and they are some of the most melodic songs that I’ve heard from Evergrey.

For people that have missed Evergrey before I shall now try to explain how their sound is in words… Well, for this album at least the progressive and complicated tunes are kept a little bit in the shadow and only come forward from time to time (e.g. in songs Broken Wings, Fear and Nothing is Erased). When it do come forward it’s in forms of tempo changes but mostly in strange tempos. I’m no musican and can tell exactly if it’s 3/32 or 5/11 of a seconds but it definitely go far beyond the traditional 4/4 and 4/8 quite often. Drums often express these odd tempos, but also the base and guitars make it quite obvious sometimes. Evergrey is also very heavy. It’s like putting a fast death metal band behind a clear singing vocalist (just like the feeling in fellowband Nevermore), but on this certain album many of the songs are softer and that actually takes Englunds voice to another level and makes the big picture better. In my opinion, maybe something to take even further with the next album. Soften down a little as they get older.

No, in my opnion, I don’t really have anything to talk down on – I think most or everything is really good and this definitely matches my favorite album from Evergrey before this one (The Inner Circle) and maybe even triumph it. I didn’t like it the first time I heard it, I sort of liked it after two times, I liked it after the third one, I really liked it after the fourth and now, after five-six or seven times (I don’t really keep up any longer) I absolutely love it! My favorite song is In Confidence and Evergrey might just give fellow Gothenburg mates In Flames a match for the album of the year title! This is a very high “torn” in Evergreys career… with “torn” referring to the Swedish meaning.


Written 08-26-08

Label - Steamhammer/Triada
Three similar bands- Symphony X/Nevermore/Pagan’s Mind
Reviewer: Caj Källmalm