Released: 2005, Inside Out Music
It’s been five studio albums now and Evergrey are really starting to hit their stride musically as last years THE INNER CIRCLE was one of my favourite albums of the year, not to mention the most passionate and moving album they’ve ever made. So it’s rather fitting that these Swedish masters of dark, emotive power/prog unleash a double live album for 2005.
First things first and I’m sure anyone that’s interested in this release is already a fan but for those not in the know Evergrey play heavy, dark, and emotive progressive power metal. Melodic, heavy, soulful, and emotional are probably the best words to describe Evergrey’s catalogue of material. With the passion Evergrey have exhibited on their studio releases I was more than looking forward to this live release to see if maybe the songs could come off even better in a live situation. In the end though, I have to say I’m rather disappointed with this release.
The sound of the album is strong, it doesn’t sound overdubbed to hell. It’s not pristine and clean, which was what I was half expecting coming into this. A NIGHT TO REMEMBER sounds like a real representation of what Evergrey probably sound like live (I’ve never had the pleasure to witness the band first hand). One flaw I did notice is that when I listened to the album on headphones it sounded a lot muddier leaving the guitars sounding like a mess… although the album sounds fine through speakers.
The performance on the album is topnotch, the band is in sync and Englund’s vocals are just as good as the studio efforts. The band makes it sound extremely easy as they progress through some of their best material but that’s kind of the problem for me. It sounds too easy and I think because of that some of the songs don’t come off as powerful when compared to their studio counterparts. Maybe this is because things sound a lot more open in the live setting without backing tracks and layers of guitars etc.
The crowd interaction is great and the song selection is top notch, with all of my favourite Evergrey songs present. Songs like “Touch of Blessing” and “Mark of the Triangle” are two of my favourites and they come off rather well, especially “Touch of Blessing” with its heavy groove stomping riff. I’m generally not a fan of the “call and answer” thing on live CDs, it works live when you’re in the audience but on CD it definitely doesn’t give off the same feeling, but I have to say that this particular section in “The Masterplan” is actually pretty good and I don’t mind so much when it comes up.
For me, A NIGHT TO REMEMBER, is a solid live album and should be left to existing fans only. I wouldn’t suggest this release to someone looking to find out about the band but for those who have loved the studio albums this should be a nice addition to the collection. I find myself a little disappointed but I’m still eagerly anticipating the DVD of the live performance as I find actually seeing the band perform live adds to the whole atmosphere of a live recording.