Evergrey have finally released their long-awaited double live album recorded in Gothenburg, Sweden last year. A Night to Remember is a splendid live release covering songs from the band’s all five studio albums. Live albums are usually difficult to pull off; because some fans want to hear the songs rendered close to their original versions, while some others look for novelties. In Evergrey’s case, it seems this won’t be a problem, since Tom Englund and the band him behind easily manage to keep the unique Evergrey sound intact through the whole concert, still adding touches of new ideas.
The sound quality is simply excellent. Tom Englund and Henrik Danhage’s guitar sound is thick and richly nuanced. They trade off solos like they do on their studio releases and their playing ranges from emotionally charging solos to crushing metal riffage depending on the songs. Englund’s voice is absolutely amazing; he delivers each and every piece exactly the same way he does on the albums conveying emotions of fear, confusion and aggression. It could be that there are some overdubs on this album, but even if that’s the case, they are no where close to being derivative.
New drummer Jonas Ekdahl had got me confused for a moment with his competent yet rather straightforward drumming on the last Evergrey album, The Inner Circle. However, the songs on A Night to Remember find Ekdahl kicking ass, doing the previous songs justice and playing them exactly the way they should be played. Even his tone fits with the rest of the instruments seamlessly — check out his rhythm workout on “As I Lie Here Bleeding” and you’ll see what I mean. The first disc is a bit more varied as it contains songs from all albums. My favourites would be the In Search of Truth numbers as they’re more progressive and textured; “Mislead” is one of the longest tracks here and Rikard Zander plays a blindingly beautiful keyboard solo. He also shines on “Mark of the Triangle”, another favourite song. “Rulers of the Mind”, however, along with the final track is the ultimate climax of this 112-minute live album.
The Gothenburg Symphonic Orchestra helps Evergrey create their huge sound, especially on The Inner Circle tracks. Three female vocalists, including Englund’s wife, also support the band, adding impressive vocal melodies. Englund and his wife duet on “For Every Tear That Falls”, a song from the band’s underrated debut disc. The female vocalists are also amazing on “End of Your Days” and “More Than Ever”.
The second disc starts off with “When the Walls Go Down”, a song I’d never think they’d do live, since it’s basically an instrumental track with punctuated voice-over parts. If there’s anything that seems slightly out of place here, it’s this tune. The band quickly goes back to its thunderous heaviness though. “Solitude Within” and “Nosferatu” from the band’s second release both open up with a killer main riff supported by powerful bass, chaotic drumming and imposing keyboard lines. Even the violin on the former track is present in the music to stay true to the song’s original format. “The Masterplan”, spanning over 10 minutes, is an aural gratification displaying the great audience singing the chorus of the song. Tom Englund introduces his bandmates in the breakdown and they finish off the track by merging the keyboard-oriented parts into heavier guitar passages. A Night to Remember is a great live album from a great band — check it out.