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Evergrey | The Inner Circle | review | metal | Lollipop


The Inner Circle (InsideOut)
by Martin Popoff

The Inner Circle is the bleakest, most depressing Evergrey album yet, due to the poetic and philosophical power of the story. Poetic, in that Tom Englund embeds the story skillfully in abstracts, sort of stripping out much of the plot and leaving a string of raw emotions; philosophical, in that it deals with a complex, mature topic. OK, it's an unlikely one: A man of low self-esteem sacrifices his child to a cult he has recently joined. As a metaphor for sacrificing something more probable, like your freedom, or will, or even possessions, the story has real worth. Also, Englund goes a step further, dealing with the mental anguish and personal revelation that the horrific act triggers. All told, it's a story with a moral, a warning, and it's artfully presented.

Musically, Evergrey add string arrangements, female voices, and ranting preacher clips to darken the mood, and the end result is a classic Evergrey album dressed up: Evergrey deluxe. As a bonus, Tom's singing is almost uncomfortably committed to the intensity of the tale. Around him, his unique band serve up their usual stirring display of keyboard-iced leaden power-ish metal, the Evergrey sound as hard to pin as ever. Progressive doom comes close. Limited-edition issue is a book-styled digi with three acoustic live tracks recorded in France, tracks that underscore this band's unquestionable thespian prowess at any volume level.
(1601 Banksville Rd. 2nd Fl. Pittsburgh, PA 15216)


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