(All Album Reviews by The_Lurker)
Torn is the seventh studio album from Evergrey, a quintet from Gothenberg, Sweden, and their first on their new label, Steamhammer/SPV. The band describes its music as dark melodic metal, which seems appropriate. From the opening measure, Torn is a consistent prog metal opus, which sometimes seems a bit ‘samey’ to me, but has plenty of good moments. To me, the strengths of the album are Henrik Danhage’s guitar riffs, Jonas Ekdahl’s drumming and Tom Englund’s vocals, which are similar in style to Russell Allen of Symphony X when he is at his least aggressive (think of his work with Star One).
Englund’s vocals are clean, which is how I prefer my metal vocals, but with a bit of edge to them. The album consists of mostly up-tempo rockers, with a good amount of crunch and some double kick drum. At least seven of the 11 songs are up-tempo, including “Numb,” a number that features an excellent guitar solo – perhaps the best on the album. Two of the faster numbers, album opener “Broken Wings” and album closer “These Scars,” feature very nice vocal support by Carina Englund, who provides a sublime female presence. The second track, “Soaked” changes tempos, as does “Still Walk Alone,” while “When Kingdoms Fall” provides a slower, more atmospheric side of Evergrey. “Torn” also is a slower, more atmospheric piece.
Englund and Ekdahl produced the tracks themselves, and the production is clean, but not overly so. Joining Englund, Ekdahl and Danhage are keyboardist Ricard Zander and a new bassist, as Fredrik Larsson was replaced by former Stratovarius musician Jari Kainulainen. Both perform admirably on this CD.
Overall, the album works well. I think the better songs are at the beginning and end of the album, with a bit of a bogging down in the middle. Again, the songs can seem a bit ‘samey,’ but there is enough quality here to enjoy. Fans of Evergrey’s other albums will probably enjoy this, as would fans of bands like Nightwish, Shadow Gallery, Ayreon / Star One and perhaps prog metal kings Dream Theater and Sympony X.