A Decade And A Half SPV / Steamhammer Records
Personally my knowledge of Evergrey has been marginal, but their release of this twenty four track compilation has brought me up to scratch with these heavy, yet melodic Swedish rockers. This release spans their eight albums, which have all made the top twenty in their native Sweden. These two CD's capture the best moments from Evergrey's career, with a mixture of studio tracks and live performances, inter-mixed throughout both CD's, plus some previously unplugged unreleased tracks.
The first CD opens with 'The Master Plan', which is an excellent track from the 'In Search of Truth' album, as is 'Rulers of The Mind', taken from the same album. I love the choral effects in this song and in fact throughout Evergrey's songs (think Queensryche's 'Operation Mindcrime') . Tom Englund's vocals are awesome and bearing in mind the album 'In Search of Truth' was released in 2001, I think you have all missed out on a cracking album, if you hadn't ever heard much of Evergrey's work before!
Other tracks on the first CD and indeed the second CD are really all worth checking out, with stand out moments for me on the first CD including 'A Touch of Blessing', with an excellent build-up and mega guitar solo, which is haunting. 'Frozen', taken from their last album. 'Glorious Collision' is pretty damn heavy and truly rocks, as does 'Blinded' from 'Recreation Day', both are excellent and in your face!
'Faith Restored' slows the mood down with its acoustic playing and beautiful meaningful lyrics. How the hell this song has never been heard by a much bigger audience totally baffles and annoys me to be honest. The same can be said for 'Words Mean Nothing', such intelligent and thought provoking lyrics, intense and with a magnificent melody. The final song is 'Wrong', an unplugged and previously unreleased song, which finishes off the first CD and to be honest, this reviewer is sat here surprised at how amazing this band are and why they are not bigger!
On to the second CD and standout moments are really all of them, as with the first CD. Personal favourites are 'Monday Morning Apocalypse', where the metal comes to the fore as with 'Waking up Blind'. 'Solitude Within' is an epic song with different tempos throughout the five and a half minutes. 'Still In The Water' is another live track and really showcases the bands talents. 'Leave it Behind Us' from 'Glorious Collisson' has the keyboards playing an eerily background, as the drums come to the fore and is a uplifting moving on song with top notch drumming and riffage.
'When The Walls go Down' is probably the most emotional song. The keyboard starts then a spoken passage depicting a man struggling and wrestling with his faith. A beautiful string arrangement then leads into the drums and the whole song then picks up pace and stampedes along. The final track is a unplugged version of 'Frozen'.
My only criticism of this album are the studio tracks being mixed up with the live performances, I think they should have had one CD with the live work and one with studio tracks, but having said that, it does work I guess. Finally I know the band has a fairly big following, mainly in the progressive melodic metal crowd, but as I stated before, this band should be selling out venues worldwide, everything about Evergrey is pretty damn formidable.
The songs are excellent, well crafted and delivered with such emotion. Evergrey have supported bands as varied as Inflames, Archenemy, Iced Earth, Nevermore and Children Of Bodom.
The CD comes with a nice 24 page booklet and is well worth getting. If you have never ever heard of this band then I would encourage you to give them listen, soon, even if you are not heavily into melodic metal. This band are truly outstanding.
Review by: Seb Di Gatto
Tracklisting - CD 1:
1. The Masterplan
2. Blackened Dawn (live)
3. Rulers Of The Mind
4. A Touch Of Blessing
6. For Every Tear That Falls (live)
7. More Than Ever
9. Faith Restored
10. These Scars
11. Broken Wings
12. Words Mean Nothing
13. Wrong (live, acoustic)
Tracklisting - CD 2:
1. The Great Deceiver
2. Monday Morning Apocalypse
4. Waking Up Blind (live)
5. Solitude Within
6. Recreation Day
7. Still In The Water
8. Leave It Behind Us
10. When The Walls Go Down (live)