Evergrey / Humanity
7 May 2006
Camden Underworld

Humanity have been holed up in the studio with Evergrey`s Tom.S Englund, working on their new album. From the dishevelled look of frontman Chris Le Mottée, you wouldn`t doubt they`ve been locked away from the world. Nor would you doubt that the band are taking a lot from their experience with Englund, as they take us through an impressive five song set.

Blessed with Evergrey`s soundman, the sound out front was excellent. Not overly loud, but clear enough to hear every instrument. However, I learned afterwards onstage the band were playing with Evergrey`s monitor settings, hence they were completely unaware until afterwards how good they had sounded. This explains why the band were not as energetic as usual, but it was all about the songs this evening.

Humanity are certainly honing their craft. The whole of debut album When Silence Calls has gone from their set and the only "oldie" tonight is Serenity. I seemed to have noted catchy next to all the new songs and whilst Disbelief seems tailor made to be a single or video track, throughout the new material the band retain their past intricacies. In fact, back when I first saw them I had commented that they were maybe the British Evergrey and this seems even more so now, but without being plagiaristic.

Certainly on tonight`s evidence, Humanity`s next album will be one to check out.

Humanity set list:
Dream Within A Dream / Serenity / Disbelief / Illumination / The Price You Pay

Following a couple of Bloodstock appearances and a support slot with James Labrie, Evergrey tonight finally make their first headline appearance in the UK and a busy Underworld is here to greet them.

The great sound Humanity had enjoyed continues into Evergrey`s set, with opener Blinded sounding crisp, clear and powerful. End Of Your Days quickly follows with the crowd eager to sing the chorus. Following this, a hush falls throughout the Underworld when Tom speaks, causing Tom to comment that he feels like he`s in church. Mind you, what`s not to worship when Henrik Danhage rips into a shredding guitar solo during Nosferatu.

The opening of More Than Ever is built for headbanging and the audience duly oblige. As ever the half speed section of this song hits the mark with Michael Håkansson stomping around stage front. Håkansson appears to have morphed into captain caveman since I last saw him, with club replaced by bass.

The core of tonight`s set has been similar since The Inner Circle album came out, hence it`s no surprise that the band is tight and a little rehearsed at times. As usual Tom loses his guitar for I`m Sorry and lets the crowd sing the songs opening verse for him. This song continues to work well at breaking up the set.

What was perhaps a surprise was the lack of new material played tonight. Evergrey are about to unleash a new album, Monday Morning Apocalypse, and only the title track found it`s way into a set which stuck to the favourites. The song itself is a pacey number with a very catchy chorus.

A couple of songs from In Search Of Truth close the main set before Rikard Zander`s keyboards combine with Jonas Ekdahl`s drums for a moody prelude to Recreation Day. Amusingly the band then briefly lose Henrik, who had departed alone for a second encore, as the rest of the band prepare to play A Touch Of Blessing. On returning his presence was firmly felt as he and Tom indulge in the songs perfect twin guitar harmony during the song which receives the best reaction of the night. Masterplan is left as the final song of the set, with Tom splitting the crowd for some participation.

I get the feeling that things may be neatly aligned now for Evergrey and that the new album has a great chance of pushing them further. Certainly this was the best set I have witnessed thus far in 2006, hence it came as a bit of a shock to be told by Classic Rock`s Dave Ling that he had found the set a bit workmanlike. He conceded that maybe you need to be very familiar with the bands songs. Certainly I`m a sucker for Evergrey`s recorded work to date and I do hope for their sake that the new album gets the necessary exposure.
Evergrey set list:
Blinded / End Of Your Days / Solitude Within / Nosferatu / More Than Ever / She Speaks To The Dead / Watching The Sky / I`m Sorry / Monday Morning Apocalypse / Rulers Of The Mind / Mark Of The Triangle / When The Walls Come Down / Recreation Day / A Touch Of Blessing / The Masterplan

Camden Underworld
Dave Ling