In many ways, it is very unfortunate that the prog-metal scene is ruled by bands like Dream Theater. I've expressed my dislike for them many times and many would disagree with me but despite their acute playing, I find Dream Theater and their many clones very "clinical". Their music is cold and sterile.
EverGrey is a band that could be a good prog-metal band but they let the Dream Theater and Symphony X sound influence them too much. Within the chunky, atonal riffs that form the back drop of each of their songs, there are some interesting, unique sounds clustered at sporadic moments, waiting, hoping to emerge. It gives the bands somewhat mediocre music a lift, but it is not enough to make this band a contender for prog rock listeners.
The Swedish band is made of Patrick Carlsson, Drums; Tom S. Englund, Guitars & vocals; Henrik Danhage, Guitars; Sven Karlsson, Keyboards; Michael Håkansson, Bass guitar.
The rough vocal timbre of Thomas Englund makes their sound seem more American than Swedish. The band released their debut album "The Dark Discovery" in 1998, which was followed up with last year's "Solitude Dominance Tragedy". Their latest album entitled, "In Search Of Truth" showcases crunchy guitars and a vast array of keyboard sounds.
"In Search Of Truth" is the band's first full blown concept album. Produced once again by King Diamond guitarist Andy Larocque (who also guests on slide guitar on the album), the results are patchy and uneven, but show great promise.
Every prog-metal album I've heard seems to start off with the album's worst song and this one is no exception. Though a nice chorus lifts the tune, "The Masterplan" is generic Dream Theatre stuff. "Rulers of the Mind" and "Watching the Skies" follow strongly with a soaring keys backdrop which gives space and symphony to the music. After a sparse, piano instrumental, the band blasts into "The Encounter" which has power but loses the melodic aspects of previous tracks. Again, the generic prog-metal signature permeates this piece. But I like the passion of Englund's vocals here. "Mark of the Triangle" finds the band in a spookier, more atmospheric light and perhaps gives a sign of the classical elements in the band's playing. While the guitar sound of the band is adequate, but unoriginal, I always find myself listening to Karlsson's creative keyboards. "Dark Waters" has a sombre piano intro that shows promise and a powerful thrust to the song makes it a strong track. "Different Worlds" is very melodic again thanks to some nice piano by Karlsson. "Mislead" closes the album nicely with some crunchy guitar riffs and interlaced by more melodic piano. Generally, this album improves as it goes along and also with each listen.
While EverGrey is definitely not doing something new, they do show great promise and perhaps will release a very good prog-metal concept piece that finds its way into a good place in a prog rock collection.