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Review: Evergrey - Torn

Label: SPV
Year released: 2008
Duration: 54:00
Tracks: 11
Genre: Progressive Metal


Review online: September 18, 2008
Reviewed by: Larry Griffin
Readers' Rating
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Rated 3.68/5 (73.53%) (34 Votes)

I was going to wait a little longer to review Evergrey's latest musical misstep, but holy shit, I don't think I could bear to listen to this again. There are just some things that are TOO MUCH, and listening to Torn is one of them. Now, this band was never good in the first place, so that slightly lessens the impact of the suckitude of this album, but not by much. I don't know what exactly came over this band, but at least they're not trying so hard to mask their fallacies with faux-dark imagery and metallic song structures anymore. At least now they're being truthful, and showing the world the blackest depths of their inner selves, bleeding mascara and crying blood as they slit their wrists while looking into their parents' bathroom mirror, clad in Avenged Sevenfold shirts and girls jeans. I suppose that's a disservice to Avenged Sevenfold, as this is far worse than anything I've heard from those infamous angst-queens. Oh, sure, Evergrey still have the solos, which are the only reasons why this is a metal album in the first place, and also pretty much the only slight positive I can mention in this watery, squeamish mess of an album, but everything else pretty much just falls into the category of "uninspired angsty bullshit."

The formula here is basically heavy chugging riffs and whiddly solos along with synths that sound somewhere in between 80s rock and elevator music, plus just about the wimpiest, sissiest vocals you could ever imagine. Seriously, Tom Englund used to produce vocal melodies that were at least somewhat listenable, but here all he does is croon out the most contrived, dry, pre-processed lines imaginable (listen to "Fear" for the most generic one), with just about the worst lyrics I've heard all year, too. Yes, you heard it from me first, they've completely lost it, and here they explore the full range of complete faggotry with song titles that make them sound like a nu-metal band, and lyrics that - from what I can decipher - don't challenge this viewpoint. And guess what? The music follows suit too!

Evergrey's songwriting has gone beyond boring and somewhat crusty; here it's just downright hilarious. See, the basic structure of a typical song on this album involves a heavy, groovy opening riff, and then the guitars just drop out when the vocals come in. Once they limp through a chorus or two, they kick into a slow, melodic solo, and then repeat the chorus again with bland power chords and distorted fuzz backing it. Back on Solitude Dominance Tragedy, they at least knew how to switch it up every now and then, despite that not always working and coming off as quite insecure and flighty, but here there is no salvation - every song more or less repeats these same guidelines. They don't even try to dress it up with flashy symphonics or pretty vocal melodies like they used to, either. They just let it all hang out.

The worst thing about this is just how fake it all sounds. This is pop music masquerading as Heavy Metal through the guise of "progressivism" and "intelligence." It has no conviction or balls or even sincerity, and yet the music is coated with a dire, somber atmosphere that just doesn't work. It doesn't make me feel anything, as the band most likely intended, except my balls shrivelling up. It doesn't convey anything except mindless commercialism and idiotic tweenie angst. Evergrey try so hard to make compelling music - they always have - but as usual, they fail mostly at creating anything that you want to hear again. I've written reviews like this before, but I guess that's a testament to how bad the metal scene can get when it tries.

I know that such terms as "faggotry" are quite overused in their own right, but just look at this, and tell me you disagree with a straight face. There is a reason that people don't like this shit in their music, and it's because most metalheads and fans of good music in general don't want this wimpy, passive sense of self defeat. It's pathetic, and that trend has long since passed, so Evergrey are not only tearstained losers, they are also horribly behind the time. You'll always have apologetic, soft-spoken fools who will defend this on some non-existant perception of a "redeeming quality," but me, I'll stick to better music.

More about Evergrey...
Review: A Night to Remember (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: Escape of the Phoenix (reviewed by Christian Renner)
Review: Recreation Day (reviewed by Christopher Foley)
Review: Solitude Dominance Tragedy (reviewed by Larry Griffin)
Review: The Dark Discovery (reviewed by Christopher Foley)
Review: The Inner Circle (reviewed by Larry Griffin)
Review: The Storm Within (reviewed by Bruno Medeiros)
Review: Torn (reviewed by Christopher Foley)
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