|Review: Evergrey - Recreation Day|
Label: Inside Out Music
Year released: 2003
Genre: Progressive Power Metal
Review online: February 3, 2009
Reviewed by: Christopher Foley
Rated 4.39/5 (87.74%) (31 Votes)
This is the album that got these guys noticed by the masses. Hot on the heels of the superlative In Search Of Truth, Evergrey would have a tough job following it up. Well to answer that question straight off the bat, I can say that they didn't manage to top In Search... but that's not to say Recreation Day is a bad album. Far from it, because this is Evergrey we're talking about, who have yet to record an album I would rate below 4/5. These guys are right at the top when it comes to their said genre, and to a lot of fans this album is why.
With Recreation Day Evergrey put all pieces in place to form what they are now, cutting back on a lot of the keys from In Search..., slowing down the pace ever so slightly, and adding heavier, crushing riffs into the mix, all rounded off with a top tier production job. Album opener "The Great Deceiver" blasts out the speakers, shaking the room with wild shredding, and speedy riffing. Tom S. Englund's lyrics are as ever nothing short of sublime, dark and poetic, yet remarkably very catchy and never verge on becoming overtly depressing. "End Of Your Days" is my favorite track, a veritable Prog/Power anthem; keys are put to very good use here, nothing too overt, creating a suitably dark mood. The bridge to the solo oozes out atmosphere, with some beautiful use of acoustics over the chugging guitar - it never fails to send a shiver right down my spine. "As I Lie Here Bleeding" has to be one of the catchiest songs Evergrey ever wrote, a surefire sing-a-long in a live situation. "Visions" is a very interesting track, certainly one of the more progressive bullets in Evergrey's gun, featuring some impressive riffing progressing throughout the track. At 1:25 we're treated to an air puncher of a riff which is fucking unforgiving. The guitar work courtesy of Tom and Henrik Danhage really slays here, be it wild shredding, crushing riffs, beautiful strings or gorgeous leads, these guys have the whole package.
"Blinded" is another stomper, certainly a jewel in the crown of Recreation Day I find myself singing this regardless of the last time I played this album which testifies to the strength of the material here. One thing Evergrey always manage is a convincing ballad, usually working best with Tom and a Guitar/Piano. "Madness Caught Another Victim" is our ballad - for Evergrey fans if you can track down the special edition of The Inner Circle there is a beautiful live rendition of this track, which is really worth looking into, and the added keyboards give it twice the depth.
Recreation Day is one of those albums that never bore, one that always finds its way into my playlists. For those who like a little more substance to their music this is a no brainer. Previously established Evergrey fans should already own this masterpiece, and if not, you know what is in store. Deliciously dark, unforgiving in its heaviness (both musical and lyrically); turn down the lights, pour out a whiskey, light up a cigarette and enjoy. Absolutely essential.
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