|Review: Evergrey - Solitude Dominance Tragedy|
|Solitude Dominance Tragedy|
Label: Hall of Sermon
Year released: 1999
Genre: Power Metal
Review online: September 12, 2008
Reviewed by: Larry Griffin
for:Solitude Dominance Tragedy
Rated 3.53/5 (70.53%) (19 Votes)
Of the Evergrey albums I selected to examine, this one is by far the best, and it's not even really that amazing. See, Evergrey have this thing where they take a perfectly good Angel Dust-esque modern metal formula and make it boring, worthless shit. The formula I'm talking about is one you've probably heard before, because it was all the rage about ten years ago. I'm not going to lapse into some sort of historical revisionist rant, but from what I have observed, it seems to have been some knee-jerk reaction to all the filthy bile being passed off as metal at the time. It was a proggy, intricate style with heavier riffs and introspective, spacey synths woven into a thick production, with lots of dark lyrics and deeper, more serious sounding vocals. It was a very down-to-Earth, respectable sound compared to both the laughable stylings of a Slipknot or a Mudvayne and the over-the-top, silly bombast of Rhapsody.
Now, enter Evergrey. They were there at the forefront with the other bands of their kind - Angel Dust, Dark at Dawn, Eidolon, Tad Morose, et cetera. I like all of those bands to varying degrees, so why is this one the sole outlier? Why do Tom Englund and his band of misguided metal mercenaries feel the need to fill their music with wussy melodies that overwhelm the song, and backing riffs that are so dull that they forcibly remove your attention from them and place it on the vocals? Tom's vocals are nothing special at all, contrary to what fans will tell you. He has a decent voice, and he sings pretty well, but he isn't fit for a metal band; not really. The lines he's singing are simply too passive, weak and mellow to pass for a band that attempts to make heavy and powerful music. It wouldn't be a problem if Evergrey decided they wanted to make solely pop-metal ballads and start singing about relationships (hey, that sounds familiar...oh, right, they actually started doing that a few years later, and it was terrible!), but as it is, this is a pretty mismatched relationship. Start signing the divorce papers, guys.
As for the songs themselves, well, they all stick to the same gloomy, depressive mode, all whilst never actually employing any real emotion. It's like they just decided "hey, let's be dark!" and subsequently started writing songs with this annoyingly somber and serious tone. It never varies, either, never changing in texture or mood at all. You have heavy songs like "Scattered Me" and fast ones like "Nosferatu," and then ballads like "The Shocking Truth," and epics like "The Corey Curse," and yet, the band keeps to the same faux-dark, introspective mood throughout the entire duration of the album. While each mode of discourse should carry with it its own individual emotion, every single song here conveys the same emotion, never mind the tempo or the lyrics or anything.
Instrumentally, these guys are talented, but still, they don't really put any of it to use. The compositions here are stale as fuck. The band is lauded so much for being great songwriters, and yet the only basis for this seems to be SOFT SECTIONS + FAST SECTIONS = PROGRESSIVE (AND INTELLIGENT, MATURE MUSIC). Please, these guys aren't that great. They're decent, but not anything amazing. They're pretty cool when they stop the verses or the choruses and just slam out some riffs and melodies, but once the vocals kick in, it's like they forget all of that and just go back to power chord chug riffs and simple drumming, as if we'd forget Tom was singing otherwise.
Bear in mind that I still don't hate this album. It's very decent overall, as reflected by the somewhat generous score, but it's just got too many flaws for me to really, truly enjoy it. Not bad, but nowhere near good either.
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