The handful of my elementary school peers that aren't currently occupying real estate underneath my basement will attest that that I have an affection for monster, horror movies, and creepy things that make noises in the night that don't result in an expensive furnace repair bill. When I heard that Evergrey's third album, In Search of Truth, was a theme album based upon an ominous storyline I was able to overcome my aversion to usual Swedish prog-bands. As it goes, In Search of Truth should appeal to fans of the X-Files episodes that deal with aliens and government conspiracy, especially if said fans also like Dream Theatre, Queensryche, King Diamond and Iron Maiden.
"I have decided to keep this tape recorder with me at all times. Just so that I maybe one day can explain all the strange things happening to me… the sensation of never being lonely...always being watched..." And so begins the album which details an alien abductees struggle to understand what is happening to him before dive-bombing into fast and furious Swedish prog-metal with Yngwie Malmsteen-like chromatic solos. The nine tracks continue in this gothic prog-metal with constant displays of technical virtuosity and the occasional sidetrack of adding a passage of haunting piano, mixing in neo-classical ideas, or augmenting the male singers already emotive vocals with female vocals or a choir. The good points: strong vocals and lots of great keyboard. The bad: with few exceptions, it all sounds the same. And instead of eerie, this non-believer finds the story cheesy.
A lot of people are going ga-ga over this album but even after multiple listens spanning a period of two months, I'm still waiting for something to stand out to me, for some interesting hook to catch my tender flesh. So far nothing has, er, abducted my attention or imagination (sorry… I couldn't resist). Maybe I'm wrong and the "lot of people" are right, but the next time I'm in the mood for melodic, dark, goth, power-prog metal I'll put on either Pain of Salvation's The Perfect Element or Blackwater Park by Opeth. You know… the classics.
This review first appeared in WhatzUp, January 2002.