After the dismal (in my opinion) 2006 release 'Monday Morning Apocalypse,' Evergrey returns with possibly their finest and most accessible work to date. To classify Evergrey in a certain metal sub genre has always been nearly impossible because they easily access the best parts of melodic heavy metal, power metal and progressive metal. What continues is Evergrey's tradition of heavy riffs and dark, often despairing, themes wrapped up in versatile melodies, quick and substantial guitar and the passionate vocals of Tom Englund. Englund's vocals may be the single significant characteristic that allows Evergrey to remain powerful and relevant.
As mentioned previously, Evergrey's sound is fundamentally grounded in heavy riffs. This is more than abundant on 'Torn' as on songs like 'When Kingdoms Fall' and 'Fear' But I posit that you will find more melodic metal, albeit heavier melodic metal, than previously before on any Evergrey release. And this is where Evergrey is the most appealing and brilliant. 'Fail' and 'Numb' are perfect examples of this. On the former, the melody transcends the heavy riffs and the two guitar solos are smashing. On 'Numb,' even with some early crushing riffs, harmony and melody gain the upper hand thanks mostly to Englund's vocals and the entire vocal arrangement. Additionally, this song has two incredible and fiery guitar moments. I think it's the best song on the album.
Yet, the progressive elements remain as found on the title track which swaggers between crunching riffs and solemn acoustic guitar and vocals, and the more complex 'Soaked.' In the midst of all this fine work, some warts of mediocrity appear. Songs like the opener 'Broken Wings' and closer 'Still Walk Alone' have merit but really go nowhere. Another significant downside is that the keyboards, with very few exceptions, are subdued to nonexistence.
Evergrey's 'Torn' will certainly please their fans with its characteristic Evergrey sound. I think it may also garner some new ones. It's a strong work with some astonishing moments particularly in the middle. Recommended.
Evergrey returns with a strong work of heavier melodic metal yet still retaining some prog and power metal reference. This could be their finest and most endearing album to date.