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Yet another top release - 97%

Andromeda_Unchained, May 17th, 2009

This is the album that got these guys noticed by the masses. Hot on the heels of the superlative In Search Of Truth, Evergrey would have a tough job following it up. Well to answer that question straight off the bat, I can say that they didn't manage to top In Search... but that's not to say Recreation Day is a bad album. Far from it, because this is Evergrey we're talking about, who have yet to record an album I would rate below 80%. These guys are right at the top when it comes to their said genre, and to a lot of fans this album is why.

With Recreation Day Evergrey put all pieces in place to form what they are now, cutting back on a lot of the keys from In Search..., slowing down the pace ever so slightly, and adding heavier, crushing riffs into the mix, all rounded off with a top tier production job. Album opener "The Great Deceiver" blasts out the speakers, shaking the room with wild shredding, and speedy riffing. Tom S. Englund's lyrics are as ever nothing short of sublime, dark and poetic, yet remarkably very catchy and never verge on becoming overtly depressing. "End Of Your Days" is my favorite track, a veritable Prog/Power anthem; keys are put to very good use here, nothing too overt, creating a suitably dark mood. The bridge to the solo oozes out atmosphere, with some beautiful use of acoustics over the chugging guitar - it never fails to send a shiver right down my spine. "As I Lie Here Bleeding" has to be one of the catchiest songs Evergrey ever wrote, a surefire sing-a-long in a live situation. "Visions" is a very interesting track, certainly one of the more progressive bullets in Evergrey's gun, featuring some impressive riffing progressing throughout the track. At 1:25 we're treated to an air puncher of a riff which is fucking unforgiving. The guitar work courtesy of Tom and Henrik Danhage really slays here, be it wild shredding, crushing riffs, beautiful strings or gorgeous leads, these guys have the whole package.

"Blinded" is another stomper, certainly a jewel in the crown of Recreation Day I find myself singing this regardless of the last time I played this album which testifies to the strength of the material here. One thing Evergrey always manage is a convincing ballad, usually working best with Tom and a Guitar/Piano. "Madness Caught Another Victim" is our ballad - for Evergrey fans if you can track down the special edition of The Inner Circle there is a beautiful live rendition of this track, which is really worth looking into, and the added keyboards give it twice the depth.

Recreation Day is one of those albums that never bore, one that always finds its way into my playlists. For those who like a little more substance to their music this is a no brainer. Previously established Evergrey fans should already own this masterpiece, and if not, you know what is in store. Deliciously dark, unforgiving in its heaviness (both musical and lyrically); turn down the lights, pour out a whiskey, light up a cigarette and enjoy. Absolutely essential.

Madness caught another victim! - 95%

WhisperingGloom, March 24th, 2005

I’m not a huge fan of progressive and dark/gothic metal. Granted there are a few bands from those genres that catch my attention. And Sweden’s Evergrey are one of those bands. A friend of mine sent me this album by them a long time ago. I listened to it and never really got into it all that much. I thought a few songs from it were pretty good. So I just burnt it off and left it in a pile with my other CD’s. And after not listening to it for quite some time, I took it out and listened once again. I have no idea why I didn’t like it before. This album was really well done. It's not perfect, but it's not far off.

These guys pour a lot of energy and emotion into their music, which really shows up in some of the songs on this album, mostly through the lyrics and the vocals. They just have this captivating way about them and that draw you into Evergrey’s dark little world. It’s quite interesting to read the lyrics. Their lyrical subjects are not just on the same old dark/gothic themes; love, romance, suicide, heartbreak… etc. These guys also deal with stuff like inner turmoil, decisions, darkness, and other very personal subjects which can appeal to a lot of people, even people outside of the metal genre.

The lyrics are quite emotional at times, especially when Tom Englund is singing his ass off during the chorus’. He has a very good voice and can really hit some interesting notes that not a lot of male singers are capable of doing without hurting themselves. But he doesn’t have one of those cheesy 80’s power metal/progressive metal voices that get under your skin right away and force you to stop listening. He has a genuine voice which adds a nice element to the music. His singing voice is actually very soothing at times, but can also be ferocious and brutal (even without the screaming!), which is something I like about these guys. I don’t like a lot of people who just straight out sing for whole albums, but I dig Tom’s voice quite a bit.

But the lyrics and vocals aren’t the only amazing thing this album has to offer. The guitar work is really good too. It has some very nice leads, emotional breaks and just all out ass kicking riffs that progressive metal is capable of having. It’s quite different from the normal black and doom metal music I generally listen to, where a lot of the times the guitar work is quite minimal. But this album is quite refreshing because of the guitar work. I really enjoy sitting down and just listening to it and just chilling out to the guitar work. It’s not something I like to confess a lot, but it’s true… haha.

A lot of the songs on this album are catchy as hell, which is a big bonus. They found a good formula and used it to the maximum on this album. After I listened to this album by Evergrey, I went and checked out the rest of their stuff. I wasn’t overly impressed by them. I thought they had some really good songs, but this album (Recreation Day) is easily the best thing these guys have ever released in their career! If you only buy/get one album by Evergrey, this is the one to get. This album is their best.

The album has some nice keyboard/piano work too. The piano fits in well with the emotional nature of a lot of the songs and adds a beautiful feeling to them. I never really liked straight up piano parts in metal music, but it fits here. And then there are the keyboards. They keyboards are very well done on this album. They’re not overbearing at all… I know a lot of people hate that in metal. But the keyboards are done flawlessly and beautifully. Definitely a good thing!

The drums on this album are decent. They’re nothing overly special. In a lot of progressive metal, the drummers tend to just go balls out technicality in every song… *cough* Dream Theater *cough* As you can tell, I don’t like them, but that’s a different story all together. The drums on this album are fast when they need to be, and they just play in the background and keep the rhythm when necessary as well.

So yeah, Evergrey had a great thing going with this album. It’s easily my favorite album by them. It’s not perfect, but it’s not far off. I highly doubt they’ll ever release another album like this, so treasure this one people. It’s a gem!

3 Favorite Tracks: As I Lie Here Bleeding, Recreation Day, Fragments

Very heavy! - 99%

MetalBanger, January 7th, 2005

Here is one Swedish band that can't be compared to anyone else! This band just gets better with age and each release. What sets this band apart is the fact that they can live up to their hype. On their fourth and most powerful release to date, the band just lay it all on the line. Each release is different, but the qualities of powerful musicianship, passionate vocals, dark lyrics and moody atmospheres are all intact.

The vocals provided by Tom Englund on the opener "The Great Deceiver" sounded just a tad unusual, but the smooth blended in with the raspy kick in there after. Patrick's tight and somewhat technical drumming are just as mesmerizing as before. Melody and dark keyboard atmospheres are always a strong point in the band's music. Tom's vocal performance on each track is just powerful and breathtaking. You can tell in his voice that he means what he says. The title track is actually a cover song from a Swedish band called Dilba in which Tom says that it was a popular song back then he just took it to a tougher level.

"Your Darkest Hour" not only shows off Tom's vocal capabilities, but sensual female vocals as well to counter Tom which works perfect. When you sing this passionately, you have to have something to sing about right? Well, "Unforgivable" speaks out on child molestation in the Catholic church which has been running rampant for several years now. The disc is completed with "Trilogy Of The Damned" which was issued only as a bonus track on the Japanese release of "In Search Of Truth". You get it here now at a cheaper price.

I would give this band a million dollars just to see if they could write a bad album. I think it's impossible for this band to do right now. If you like your Metal with a little power and have something to say, don't pass up this opportunity to get a wonderful CD!

I dig this quite a bit... - 80%

Snxke, October 15th, 2004

Evergrey have assisted me in finally giving prog-metal a chance. Their elaborate guitar-structures and high-brow lyrics are countered with an earthy sense of melody and lack of pretentiousness that can take a prog-metal outsider like me and draw him into the fold - if only for one albums worth of songs. This may be the usual Swedish mix of clinical production, stop on a dime musicianship and endless classical music references but it WORKS towards a point. Unlike many musicians lost in their own ability to play - these guys like the age-old concept of writing SONGS. They use their impressive abilities to compose tricky movements and deep hooks that will keep you humming their new-wave 80's choruses mixed with intense guitar-heroics for weeks to come. Far from the wanky prog-metal void that has kept the genre as it's own (often pointless) subculture for so long, Evergrey are out to prove that even those who spend a little TOO much time with their instruments can write songs for the headbanger as well as the music nerd.

The records opening song is also it's highlight. "The Great Deceiver" is impressive (darned near a classic) with it's ultra-wind guitars and sinister vocal melodies. Leading single "I'm Sorry" is a creepy "stalker love" type of song that works as well. Unlike the record that came after though, this record has no real stinkers. Track by track, we hear a musical progression that is both accessible AND interesting. When most prog music is bringing the lyrics into utter pointlessness Evergrey put their stories/concerns front and center without really preaching. Instead, they weave strong melodies, lyrics and riff-craft into a smooth mix of prog-metal - a mix of prog metal that is thankfully platable to all of us existing "outside" that fanatical sub-genre.

Evergrey are at their strongest for "non-fans" and many fans alike on this release. While not as wide reaching as the earlier material or as simplified (dumbed down) as the record that came after it - this record is both entertaining and technically stunning. These boys should have kept this growth, as my interest in prog-metal was boosted immensely by the work found on this release.

The next one wouldn't be half as entertaining sadly...

I say pick this up and play it when your mind wants to wander towards those questions that dark-minded European peoples tend to dwell upon in both music and literature.

Good stuff....

Pretty Damn Good... - 89%

Lataerez, July 26th, 2004

All right. I picked this one up on a whim, something I do occasionally. I'd heard Great Deceiver, nothing else. But, like Wolf's Evil Star or Stratovarius' Intermission, it was a choice move.
It took me a while to actually listen to it, if you know what I mean. It takes a few times to get into a disc usually, and this one took me about a month - I was catching up on my listening.

Anyway, the disc. The opener, "The Great Deceiver", is a fantastic tune for heavy-prog listeners. Tom Englund's vocals really charge this song with the disgust veiled in the lyrics while the guitars and keyboards mesh together beautifully; add in the drumming of Patrick Carlsson and Michael Håkansson's bass, and you have a fantastic opener. Sometimes it's hard to understand Tom's lyrics, but other than that, it's still a fantastic song. Unless you've heard it about fifty times, after which it's a bit boring.

Next up is one of my favorites, "End Of Your Days". The same deal as the last song: heavy bits, but with a nice, softer section followed by a strong solo on Henrik Danhage's part. Add in the lyrics, especially in the softer part. This is a fantastic tune, and one of my favorites so far.

The third track, "As I Lie Here Bleeding", is also a favorite of mine. The intro is magnificent, as is the first verse, both musically and lyrically. The solo, a switch off between Danhage and Englund, is up with some of their best, falling short of "End of Your Days" and "Visions"'. The backing vocals help this track's sound.

"Recreation Day" starts with a heavy riff, but moves into a softer sound for a verse, until the chorus, when the thunderous guitars and drums return with vengeance. The guitar solo is nothing spectacular, but a smooth piano solo follows this and rounds the song off as the guitar returns for another solo, which is better than the first. The construction of the backing vocals again contribute to the track.

"Visions" is a fantastic song simply for its solo, by Tom Englund. In fact, I consider it the best solo on the album. This song is only faulted by the almost droning chorus vocals, which fit the song. But it's still kind of boring, until you hit the solo. The rest of Englund's vocals are fantastic, if that's any consolation.

"I'm Sorry" was the one song I avoided for a while because I'd read that it was a cover of a pop song, something I'm still not entirely sure about. But I've listened to it quite often since then, and love it. The video is damn good as well. The mix between piano, guitar and strings (provided by Rikard Zander's synth no doubt) really catches you off guard if music pulls at your emotions easily. The lyrics have much angst in them, but at times, they're extraordinary: "I painted a picture of you/Your soul was red and your mind was blue." This one is a must listen.

Next comes "Blinded", another top knotch song. Zander's synth after the first chorus just plain rocks. Possibly the highlight, if not the change in vocals and music just after the post-chorus verse. The reversion to the original sound is well executed, although a bit rushed. And the solo is, once again, not exactly a bright spot in the song. The chorus vocals rock, and this song live just rapes you.

"Fragments" starts off with a strong intro, but slips a bit in the verses. The strongest bit is the resounding "I am here. I am lost I am weak and bothered…". Yes, even though it is somewhat reminiscent of Visions. But the solo is definitely an improvement over "Blinded"'s. One thing I'm fascinated by is Englund's sudden scream-vocal just before the last chorus. It seems out of place, almost nu. But I welcome it anyway.

"Madness Caught Another Victim" caught me completely off guard as I listened to it, as I wasn't expecting an acoustic song on this disc. The guitar, when played during the choruses and the intro, is fantastic, I'll give it that. But the lyrics are dry. The vocals are weak aside from the chorus when the guitar backs it up. An all right one, but it lacks the Evergrey feel. Maybe because there are no keyboards…

The song "In Your Darkest Hour", has a weak intro for once, but a strong chorus. Well, actually, it's more that the chorus doesn't fit the rest of the song very well. But the chorus' use of keyboard is effective. The one other problem I had was the piano and drum only part of the song - when Carina Englund (at this time still Kjellberg) adds in "Great Gig in the Sky"-esque vocals. Again, this part is boring. But if you can handle it, then the fantastic keyboard/guitar chorus awaits on the other side. Vocals are fairly good, as are the lyrics.

Finally, we have "Unforgivable Sin", which starts strong and stays strong. In fact, listening to it right now reminds me of The Inner Circle. The myriad vocals in the chorus are great, and the duet bit between husband and wife really kicks ass. I love the recurring riff, and the only thing I find a bit wrong with this one is how the rhythm guitar seems to jump onto not-so-pleasant chords every once in a while. We say goodbye to the disc with yet another piano bit, one that I rather like.

It's been called rushed, this album. Some parts, yes. But even so, this is a fantastic starting disc for those curious about Evergrey. Highlights are "End of Your Days", "As I Lie Here Bleeding", "Recreation Day", "Visions" and "I'm Sorry". Add "Your Darkest Hour" to that as well.

Overall the production was a bit flimsy, and at times, the music and lyrics lacked. So I'll give this album an 89%, simply because there are some choice tracks. But it cannot beat The Inner Circle.

I would love it... but it lacks speed. - 70%

AzzMan, June 1st, 2004

It propels pure power from The Great Deciever... and maybe a couple other tracks. The rest are pretty boring. They use speed in places to make it seem strong. It is.

But the problem dosn't lie in the speed, but more in the consistancy. A nice switch up is nice, an acoustic at teh end of an album-whatever. But here I think Evergrey might have done better just going for the real speed thing. When they do decide to riff it up, it feels a bit... repetitive. So really, there's no reason to bitch unless you, you know, like your music good. Or fast.

Overall, if they concentrated more with aggression, I think I might have liked this more... maybe they did that on another album? If so, I think I might check Evergrey out a bit later. For now, I'll stick to Blind Guardian.

Check it out if you feel you're in the mood for something with varying speeds, styles, or something a bit dark or sad. Otherwise go back to headbanging.

cheesy power metal (a Rage album gone wrong??) - 45%

UltraBoris, May 17th, 2004

Well, it is a bit better than the album that came after it... this one at least has some balls. Unfortunately, it sounds more like Dream Theatre covering a Rage album than anything else, with some recent Angel Dust also making an appearance. It's still kinda pussied, and the vocalist still is a non-entity, and the production is still a disaster, and did I mention that at times it gets reeeaallly pussied?

But, at least there are riffs. It's not the most headbangable thing ever, not "End of Your Days" (told ya this was a Rage album gone wrong!), not the whole thing. That song sounds a real whole lot like a Dream Theatre album, with the guitar tone and the noodly keyboard (or is that a guitar? I can't tell what that other instrument is) soloing. The riff is a generic Pantera-like construction, like when Dream Theatre attempts to be heavy. Oh yeah and the vocalist just plain sucks. He's better than on the subsequent album, but still sounds a lot like a lounge singer. And that one riff that they keep using over and over again is really fucking annoying. It's a single-note timing thing, sounding like a bad attempt at channelling Coroner, and getting Meshuggah over the airwaves instead. Oops.

There's the occasional bit of brilliance. Take the title track for example... most of the song is a perfectly good example of "pussy rock". Isn't this the kind of stuff that made the 80s hair bands become really unpopular? Big hair, big keyboards, big mounds of cheese. And it's not even catchy, like "Home Sweet Home", which has that one infectious piano part... the beginning of this one just has a large mishmash of instruments supporting a main vocal line, and there's a piano part that goes nowhere, and then another set of mishmash. Oh but there's a fast section with a solo... HOLY CRAP THAT'S A COOL SOLO!!!!

Yeah, I wish they sounded like that more often. Fucken A, now that was fucking metal.

For about thirty seconds.

The rest of it... damn, I can't figure out which 80s singer this dude sounds like, I'm guessing, for now Phil Collins on valium, but I know there's an even closer resemblance that I'm just not thinking of right now. Man, what the fuck?? They throw in this blazing speed metal solo into this horrendous mound of cheese that would make Poison rethink their careers.

Okay, so how about the rest of the songs? For the most part, every song has some pussification, ranging from "small amount of pussification" to "man, this makes the Vagina Monologues seem like Rambo". The only exceptions are the opener, which is pretty much the best song on here... and the song Blinded, which is upbeat but has this horrendous chorus ("I'm blinded, I'm blinded"... right, and I'm going deaf).

There's a cover song... it's marked as a Dilba cover. I have no idea who Dildo is, but gawd do they suck the hard suck. But not significantly more so than some of the other songs on here. I mean, Fragments, is basically the same thing, except apparently they wrote that one all by themselves. Man, what's up with the completely emotionless ballads? I think The Crimson Idol has more value in half an intro piece than these guys have in their entire career. Throw in some random Peter Steele vocals, and complete the complete effect of stupidity. "Visions" is half a great song buried in half a pile of fecal matter.

The last three songs are basically all keyboards all the time, and are completely worth skipping (unless you like this stuff, which would be the only explanation for you getting this far in the first place). And I thought of it... the whole thing sounds like fucking Jon Secada. That's who it is. Especially those piano pieces at the end. "I ... I can't resist ... trying to think of what I've missed... just another day without you." Some cheeseball 80s ballad. Go look it up. And if ya dig it, go check out this album.

Entirely not recommended. The signal-to-noise ratio is really bad, and it's not worth gleaning through the entire album to find them. Check out the opener, and then if you like that, get a Rage LP. Those don't have the "big drums and shitty guitar tone" production that's all the rage today. Heh. Try "Unity".

Oh yeah... cool logo, but the album cover sucks hard. That's the least metal kid ever. Go find a picture of Andy Galeon from '83 or something.

Agressivene,depressive,metal masterpiece! - 97%

Benign_Hypocrite, August 30th, 2003

Evergrey is one of the new metal bands with great abilities in music.They play
something between progressive and power metal combined with depression and darkness.The sorrow and the dark atmosphere in their music is the thing that impresses you in this band.The lyrics talk about unsolved mysteries and situations full of sorrow."Recreation Day" is the more recent release of Evergrey.
This album is more strong than their previous releases.The production is also perfect.There is still the depression and the grief
in their music,but in this album the riffs are more powerful than before and there are more fast songs.The vocals of Tom Englund are still
full of emotion and his voice fits perfectly with the music.The album starts with an amazing song "The Great Deceiver",a ripping guitar solo in the beginning of this song
is the foretaste of an awesome album,the song continues with a fast guitar riff and the beautiful vocals of Tom Englund,the rhythm changes are also good and the solo in the end of
the song.With the first song you realize that this album could be one of the best of the year.The second track "End Of Your Days" is also good,technical,atmospheric,with a fabulous chorus,great work
from Evergrey.The third song in this album "As I Lie Here Bleeding" is one of my favorites,melodic,emotional with a great chorus too.The guitar and the keyboards are combined perfectly in the songs.The fourth track,"Recreation Day" starts
with a heavy,powerfull riff,the melodic emotional chorus and the tearing solo make the album track one of the best songs in the album.The fifth track of the album is one of the most agressive tracks of Evergrey,great drumming and riffs,rhythm changes and the
dynamic vocals of Tom Englund paint this song.The sixth song of the album "I'm Sorry" is the melancholic piece,a great ballad full of grief and misfortune,with songs as this everyone realises that metal music has everything to offer,from agressive songs to beautiful emotional ballads.
Each song in this album is magnifical,Evergrey developed a metal masterpiece,with the first hearing you can understand that "Recreation Day" isn't something common.After "I'm Sorry" the album continues to excite and fascinate.
With songs like "Blinded","Darkest Hour" and "Fragments",the acoustic guitar balllad "Madness Caught Another Victim" and the emotional "Unforgivable Sin".This album is stirring.Evergrey have created a beautiful album you must hear it more than one time to understand the depth of the music.
I think that whether you are a black metal fan or a power metal fan you'll like this album and you must definitely have it in your collection.This album is one of the metal's best,you must get it.

Best. Prog/Power. EVER. - 99%

OSheaman, August 16th, 2003

This is it, boys and girls. Symphony X can go fuck themselves--the award for best Prog/Power album ever goes right here, to Evergrey for Recreation Day.

Holy shit. That basically sums up this album. Everything about it is exactly as it should be. The riffs are crunchy and huge as hell, and the bass line is incredibly catchy. The drum work is ridiculously good (as is to be expected with any band with "prog" in their description) and the vocals are basically pretty good, although sometimes the slower vocals don't quite work. Back to the guitars, though. The riffs rule. The riffs rock. The riffs ride the lightning. The riffs kill 'em all. The riff eat your motherfucking dog and spit out its bones in your face. You will be thrashing like a little baby having a seizure with this puppy on. In fact, this is the most headbang-able album in the world, bar none. In addition to the pure riffage, we have some excellent guitar soloing that doesn't wank all the fuck over the place--it just keeps you firmly entrenched in the music. Incredible.

The Great Deceiver is a cool song, but who cares? The important song on here is End of Your Days which is, and I write this in capitals for the benefit of those skimming the review, THE MOST HEADBANG-ABLE SONG IN ALL OF METAL, if a bit inconsistent with that title. It does contain THE BEST RIFFSET IN ALL OF METAL, which is probably why it's so headbang-able. The song starts out with some weird wanky shit and some incredible use of timing as you realize the drums are doing an entirely different rhythm from the guitars, yet it *still works*, which is pretty cool, but then at 0:16 it all comes together and we get THE BEST RIFFSET IN ALL OF METAL, and yes, it beats out the one in Hallowed Be Thy Name (though just fucking barely, and the rest of the song can't compare to Hallowed Be Thy Name, which is, of course, THE BEST FUCKING SONG IN ALL OF METAL). Back to End of Your Days. The riffset is God Almighty and it is physically impossible to not headbang to this riff without the assistance of a very sturdy neck brace. buh BUM BUM buh DUM BUM ba da BUM BUM ba da BADABADUHBADA buh BUM BUM buh DUM BUM ba da *BUM* BUM ba da BADABADUHBADA! *headbangs* You'll be headbanging to this bitch in no time, I assure you. It's the shit. Then, all of a sudden, the beat drops and the vocalist comes in, and you're thinking, what the fuck? what happened to that riff. Eventually you'll start headbanging again as the beat comes back, first slowly and then more at the normal speed. Then you hit the chorus and you're headbanging away again, and then they do the solo all sneaky and quiet and you're tapping your foot and doing tiny little headbangs and thinking "Holy Shit, this song has some *class* shit," and then the riff gets a little louder as it's picked up by the keyboard and you're doing a little more headbanging, and then it grows into that other guitar riff in the song as a very cool keyboard solo comes in, and then you start doing some more headbanging with the vocals again, and then the song kinda enters into a lull as the riffs pound the fuck away and everything else gets real soft and reserved, and then out of nowhere comes this awesome guitar solo, and then the chorus comes back in and you're headbanging like a mofo. Amazing.

It's nearly impossible to match that, and they don't, but they keep a good, solid album up for the rest of the time. All of the songs have very cool riffs and are very headbangable, with the exception of the average ballad I'm Sorry and the pretty lame epic Trilogy of the Damned which comes as a bonus track.

Get this fucking album right now if you enjoy headbanging at all. And you know that neck brace I was talking about earlier? You might need one after you're through with this album.

These guys keep getting better... - 92%

Xeper, May 7th, 2003

I'm not big on their debut, and haven't heard the second. In Search Of Truth was great, but this album blows it outta the water in my humble opinion. It's so much more powerful, far as production, riffing, and emotional content goes. As usual, the lyrics are very personal, and Tom Englund emotes this quite well in all the songs. The musicianship is very tight and well-produced as always, but the best part is that the keyboards aren't the loudest instrument on the album as has often been the case (mainly on ISOT, anyway). Sure, the keyboards are still there, but they're used in a more classy manner this time in my opinion, providing atmosphere (and one or two leads here and there), the sound of which is generally audible but not overbearing. The guitar finally is on an equal level, maybe a tad louder, and it's a good thing too, because this album has made me realize what an amazing guitar player Henrik Danhage is-while Englund does some guitar work too, I assume Danhage is the lead guitarist, which might explain why he has his own signature model made by Caparison Guitars. The solos are gorgeous and well-written, see songs like "I'm Sorry" and "Visions" (especially the!) for proof of this. Riffs abound, all of which are heavy and crunchy, often complemented by fiery leads on top (see the shredding opener "The Great Deceiver") and syncopated interplay with the keyboardist. Their strongest effort yet, and I'm glad I picked it up. (Also, a brief note to those wondering about the bonus track: it's basically three songs from a previous album combined into long medley, tied together by studio stuff like the occasional guitar solo. Interesting for diehard fans I suppose, but if you're just getting into them or a casual fan, don't stress about hunting it down, as it's nothing mindblowing.)