I think that every country and every genre has its unsung heroes that would deserve so much more attention than they receive. When it comes to German Progressive Metal, TOMORROW’S EVE undoubtedly are part of this “elite” group of bands, because while releasing immensely high-quality releases, only few people have ever even heard of them, which is sad and frustrating at the same time. “Tales From Serpentia” is their fourth full-length album and once again they are laying out a concept as foundation for the music to built on and while the story does not necessarily seem overtly original, it is way more than what first catches the eye. It deals with a man, who, together with his wife, becomes addicted to a drug named “serpentia”, and then after a huge fight breaks up with his wife and decides to come clean, but sees his past catching up with him when he finds notes that he had put down while being under the influence.
The crucial element for any of these concepts is the realization and here TOMORROW’S EVE shine, for the music perfectly reflects the different moods the character goes through, be it reflection, desperation, hope or aggression, with a common dark atmosphere threading through the whole album, a lot darker than what we have heard from the German quintet in the past, while maintaining a definitive Prog foundation, but without over-cranking the complexity gears. This is greatly complemented by the expressive voice of Martin LeMar, who is a true asset to the band due to his emotive delivery, which mirrors the agony the main character is going through, resulting in a captivating whole that will suck the listener into its world to relive the progression of the story and face the demons that are the root of all evil, so to say.
And this also makes it immensely hard to go into great detail on single songs, as they all are integral part of the story and album and while being good tracks independently, make the most sense in the context of the album, thus the total is greater than the sum of its single parts, which is why I will refrain from mentioning single songs (just this much – rarely has a 19 minute+ closer finished off an album more wholesome than “Muse” in this case), as they are too much part of the whole for me to dissect them. Just rest assured that the Germans manage to walk the narrow ledge between demand and accessibility, being able to fully put the songs into the service of the story to further and progress it (so I guess that in this case the term “Progressive” Metal is truly warranted?!), showing enough technical prowess to wipe any doubts about their skills away, but at the same time not resulting to senseless wankery to impress (or annoy) the listener, making the over 68 minutes of this album rush by like a Grindcore EP.
Embedded into a very clear and powerful production, which lets all the details shine, “Tales From Serpentia” paints a dark and dreary picture of what drug (ab)use can lead to, truly shining in its musical realization of a dense, dark and at times disturbing topic, which is one of the best Prog Metal albums of the year 2008 and should hopefully help TOMORROW’S EVE to be catapulted closer to the Prog Olympus, where they would deserve to be seated among the greats!
(Online January 20, 2009)