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WEBCounter by GOWEB    

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   EVERGREY
The Inner Circle
2004
Inside Out
http://www.evergrey.net


rating: 5/5

1. A Touch Of Blessing
2. Ambassador
3. In The Wake Of The Weary
4. Harmless Wishes
5. Waking Up Blind
6. More Than Ever
7. The Essence Of Conviction
8. Where All Good Sleep
9. Faith Restored
10. When The Walls Go Down

Let me be the first to say that I love the concept of concepts. Since all life is based upon one concept or other, it's very difficult to not become enthralled with the reasons why people do what they do. Justification, condemnation, understanding and disbelief are themes that play out time and again within our day to day lives on planet earth, and one of the most interesting concepts that comes of this melding of emotions is that of utterly blind faith. It is this question of faith that Evergrey explores on their latest opus, "The Inner Circle". The result of the ensuing discourse is, well, disturbing to say the least.

"The Inner Circle" tells the story of a man who becomes involved in cult activity due to his own loneliness and want of belonging, a need which eventually culminates in the death of his only child, a death which he himself sanctions. Through the course of the album, the listener is privy to this man's slow descent into madness, paranoia, anger, and general unrest of his soul.

Kicking off in fine fashion, "A Touch of Blessing" chugs and grooves along its winding road of hook, riff, and respite of pleasant keys and other atmospherics. From there on, the tone of the rest of the album is set, and that tone is bleak indeed. Tom Englund weaves his tale in great storyteller fashion, allowing his characters to have depth and beauty while disguising a somehow inherent evil lurking just beneath the surface. Upon the middle of "Ambassador", track two, Evergrey takes art to a whole other level by inserting sound bites of preachers. This theme is present for the rest of the album and lends a sinister mood to the already haunting soundscapes boiling and rumbling forth from speakers which have somehow become the mouthpiece for total despair. Female vocals make a short but needed appearance upon track three, "In The Wake of The Weary", which can also be seen as the mid point of the story. And then there's those... soundbites. Yikes. As the story unfolds, and the instruments of Evergrey get more and more like bit characters in a film, the soundbites scrape away at the listener's brain, forcing one to believe that this story may have actually happened. Such is the visceral, immediate power of "The Inner Circle", a tempestuous beast that comes to a head on the last track "When The Walls Go Down". A totally instrumental track couched by the most disturbing sound clips I have ever heard. The album as a whole spurts forth an uneasy sentiment as urgent as blood sputtering from a slit throat. I challenge anyone to take a serious listen and not be fundamentally shaken to the core of their being. It's just that good.
And oh yeah, the limited edition comes with three acoustic tracks from "Reckoning Day" recorded in France.

submitted by Nathan 02.08.2004

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