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(56:30, Progrock Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Rain 5:13 2. Never Trust a Snake 3:39 3. Desert Sun 5:46 4. Free 4:53 5. Experience This 5:16 6. Can't Find 4:32 7. Make Me Famous 4:04 8. Walls 4:45 9. Pieces 3:29 10. My Own Vision 4:04 11. Insecure 4:18 12. Quit without saving 3:30 LINEUP: Attila Tanczer – keyboards, sampling Matyas Haraszti – vocals; guitars Ferenc Farkas – guitars; vocals Sandor Kallai – bass; vocals Tamas Szabo – drums
Prolusion. The Hungarian band EVERWOOD is an experienced unit that has a history that goes back 15 years or thereabouts, at first as Neverwood, and from 2003 under their current moniker. "Without Saving" is their third full length production, and was issued by the US label Progrock Records in the summer of 2011.
Analysis. It's intriguing to get to experience all the shades and differences bands utilize to separate themselves from others who explore similar territories. Or rather, it's interesting to try to envision how it came to be that different bands exploring the same general style turned out as different as they do. Progressive metal is one of the styles where the listener is invited to reflect on such matters often, as it remains a popular genre for artists and listeners alike. Everwood has opted for a fairly accessible take on this style: short tunes, predictable in development and without any major surprises in terms of arrangements either. A few inserts and bridges here and there and a tendency to quirky riff patterns are the main ingredients that set them apart from a traditional heavy metal act. And then there are the finer details of course, and I'll admit to being charmed by some of these. The rhythms department is a good and tight one, and although the drums may be a bit too sharply mixed they do work well within the total context, even if a tad borderline. And bassist Kallai does pull off a few nifty maneuvers, the most striking the funky motif utilized on some passages on Insecure, combining with the keyboards to invite associations to disco, although not in a manner that can be compared to Pain Of Salvations flirt with that genre from a few years back, I'll hastily add. The choice of guitar motifs is generally of a good quality throughout, Farkas an able provider of subservient drawn out riffs and dampened riff constructions as well as dark, hypnotic, surging ones. And while vocalist Haraszti has a strong and powerful voice, I do get the impression that he's close to the outer limits of his range at times, but not in a distracting manner, and he doesn't seem to try to force the issue either. But a token few moments here and there appear to document an artist having a close encounter with the border of limitation. Back to the charming details... In this case they are first and foremost provided by tangents man Tanczer, an able provider of symphonic backdrops and subservient nuanced motifs, who is also able to pull off sequences of a much more flamboyant nature. He's got a good ear for choice of sounds too, and knows when to pull off sampled strings, when an otherwise cliched futuristic effect is fully appropriate, and when the composition of in need of an energetic synthesizer solo of the bombastic kind, or when it's better to opt for a careful, fragile piano motif to strengthen the performance. I don't know how effective he'd be as a solo artist, but within the context of a band his choices and performance are of a high standard to my ears, and high enough to elevate this disc of fairly accessible and straightforward progressive metal from the realms of the ordinary to those of the interesting.
Conclusion. Short compositions of an accessible nature without too many complex tendencies are what Everwood has chosen for their third full length album, a likeable brand of progressive metal that should find plenty of interested listeners, also outside of the art rock universe. It's not a production that will ever challenge or broaden your understanding of music, but it is an entertaining and well made specimen of its kind. And arguably an item that might fancy those who appreciate clever use of keyboards in progressive metal just as much as those fond of the less complex varieties of the genre.
OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: Agst 13, 2012
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