Evergrey have been saluted as the new promise of scandinavian progressive metal. And I ask to myself ¿why? ¿Where is progressive, or symphonic, on “The Inner Circle”? I haven’t had the “pleasure” of tasting the previous albums from the swedish band, but perhaps I will never do. I gave them a chance, and I must confess that I’m absolutely disappointed.
In fact, this CD features a wide range of things that I pretend to NEVER find on an album. For example, Tom S. Englund’s melodramatic and permanently forced voice, far away from subtleties or shades. For example, the extremely aseptic sound of the production, which makes Jonas Ekdahl’s percussion sound like a drum machine for the most part of the CD. For example, Rikard Zander’s almost non-existent and undistinguished keyboards. As I can see on the artwork, Evergrey are a band more worried about their look, a good make-up and a proper wardrobe, rather than elaborating an interesting or innovating musical discourse.
It’s not enough to add sound effects and recorded voices to your songs; it’s not enough to play flashy bits here and there to remind the listener that you’re a real musician; it’s not enough to constantly overwhelm the audience with a wall of sound that leaves no room to breathe. Not to mention the subject of the album, which Englund himself explains in detail on the unnecessary and comically stilted liner notes. It takes true talent and imagination to dare with a concept album, and Evergrey hardly fill 48 minutes with their confusing atrophy of terribly trite melodic metal, from the single-potential “A Touch Of Blessing” (5.50), to the shattering “Ambassador” (4.29) and “In The Wake Of The Weary” (4.43). There’s room for mellower tracks, like “Waking Up Blind” (4.22) or the acoustic “Faith Restored” (3.53), but histrionics and overproduction finally ruin them. “When The Walls Go Down” (5.42) closes the album with some taste, thanks to, at last, a good use of a string section. Anyway, when a cheesy fake piano starts to play everything’s spoiled. A pity. The acoustic bonus tracks recorded in France add nothing remarkable and remain as a simple anecdote.
Well, I guess the metal community will crucify me for smashing this “masterful” CD from the “brilliant” Evergrey, but I simply give my opinion and, subjectively, an album like “The Inner Circle” has nothing for me. If you want good swedish progressive metal bands, listen to Pain Of Salvation or Wolverine, both much more creative and interesting than Evergrey. Sorry.