Evereve had the misfortune of releasing their first album in an age before the concept of avant-garde metal took off, that brief window in the mid-nineties when metal was starting to get its feet wet in alien waters—progressive rock, goth, electro, etc.—but had not yet opened up enough for unqualified acceptance of albums like Evereve’s “Seasons,” a record that both conforms to gothic metal expectations while upending those same expectations with unpredictable left turns. Songs that begin with dirge-tempo doom metal will suddenly shift into proggy off-time arpeggios, churning death metal or fey keyboard runs similar to those the Gathering employed circa “Always.” Each track is a complicated, winding mini-epic that uses several tactics to get at one goal: being theatrically gloomy as possible. Gothic metal is a generally predictable genre, relying on the same old bag of tricks. “Seasons” has a more inclusive, everything-but-the-kitchen sink approach to the genre, and it pays off.
Evereve’s vocalist at the time, Tom Sedotschenko, adds another dynamic facet with a huge array of voices to heighten the otherwise forgettable lyrics, including a Devil Dollish rasp, and effeminate speaking voice, a nasal yowl both high and low, a black metal shriek, a death roar and a few others too difficult to categorize. Sometimes his voice is too nasal, too cheesy, too intrusive, or simply too much, but most of the time it adds an over-the-top theatricality that complements the varied moods of the music (sorrow, despair, anger, regret, loneliness, antipathy, longing, etc.) and is difficult to resist. Unfortunately, Sedotschenko committed suicide shortly after the band completed their second album, and the two albums (“Seasons” and “Stormbirds”) are now the only record of his considerable talents.
Evereve went on to release several subsequent albums, apparently in a more electronic/industrial rock style, but the first two occupy a special place in my heart. Their sound at the time was defiant in its willingness to go for broke in a genre that too often takes the easy path of fragile female vocals, violins and Cure-lite guitar lines. They wanted to be more, which is probably why they’re rarely mentioned in gothic metal discussions, where efficient, sexed-up mediocrity too often wins the day.
01 – Prologue: The Bride Wears Black