Since I was first introduced to Evergrey’s totally unique brand of dark progressive metal with 2001’s In Search of Truth, I’ve anticipated each new Evergrey release about as eagerly as I would a new Dream Theater album. I’ve only once been (mildly) disappointed with a new Evergrey album, but since that happened with the band’s previous effort – 2006’s Monday Morning Apocalypse – I was a bit apprehensive about hearing 2008’s Torn for the first time.
That apprehension lasted roughly 30 seconds. From the very first moments of album opener Broken Wings, it was clear that the band is back in their element. Torn is the logical follow up to Recreation Day. It’s not as singularly focused as the epic (and utterly brilliant) Inner Circle, nor is it as unfocused as Monday Morning Apocalypse. Rather, it sounds like the band made a real effort to regroup after label and lineup changes and come up with a collection of songs that accurately reflect what the band is all about. I think Recreation Day did that perfectly, and so does Torn. All of Evergrey’s power, intensity, darkness, technicality, passion, soul and emotion are perfectly represented here. It’s the kind of album you’d hand to someone unfamiliar with the band to make them a fan for life.
Anyone less than thrilled with Monday Morning Apocalypse (and to be fair, that’s an album that definitely grew on me) should find Torn a welcome return to form. It’s also a powerful reminder why there is no other band on the planet quite like Evergrey. I’m giving Torn a full 5-star rating. It’s not quite as impressive as The Inner Circle, but it’s still an amazing release.
NOTE: Early versions of Torn come housed in a neat digipack (though not as nice as the InsideOut digipack versions of Recreation Day and The Inner Circle) and include the bonus studio song Caught In a Lie. This is actually one of the album’s better songs, and makes for a very effective closing track, so if at all possible you should try to get this version of the album.