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GLORIOUS COLLISION

Evergrey

Progressive Metal


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Rivertree
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Psych/Space Team & Band Submissions
3 stars A promo offer by Freeman Promotions ensured my first encounter with this band from Sweden. They are active for more than 15 years in the meanwhile with seven studio albums in the back ... but I honestly must say I haven't heard anything from them before. So let's say I'm unbiased in some way. Eventually mastermind Tom Englund had to run a big update because drummer Jonas Ekdahl, Henrik Danhage (guitar) and bass player Jari Kainulainen left the band in May 2010, for what reason ever. So this is a new line-up nearly, if you will.

They issue 13 songs here, when it comes to the limited edition even adding a special bonus track decorated with vocals by Carina, Englund's missis. Although you are faced with a powerful straightforward drum style and Marcus Jidell's slicing guitar riffs all over, this album showcases a bunch of catchy moments. First of all ... Rikard Zander's keyboard work is restrained, accentuated, contrasting while using many delightful piano sequences or symphonic impressions. I especially like his part. And, brought in enthusiastically, Englund's vocals are matching, embellish all the nice melodies.

They get off the starting blocks with Leave It Behind Us and you are faced with a bass drum battle in some way - probably drummer Hannes Van Dahl had a glorious collision, hahahaha. On the other hand the whole thing is really accessible due to the main refrain which is provided with recognition value. You and Wrong, showing some bombast impressions, are in no way inferior to the opener. So I would say this appears really promising right from the start.

The next songs prove that they don't tend to take it with ease. Frozen shows furious drumming and crashing guitars. Restoring the Loss comes as a more tricky exemplar, Out of Reach has the makings of a new hymn. Sometimes this reminds me of bands like Thunder or Magnum - although this is more dashing in the whole. But ... who is searching for 100% pure prog, for odd surprises, for some real innovation won't be completely satisfied.

The songs are taking between 4 and 6 minutes all the way through - provided with compact arrangements and some sing-along as well as headbanging qualities. Surely prolific due to Tom Englund's longtime experience. However, I occasionally can't get rid of the impression that I already came across such melodies at one time or another. 3.5 stars anyhow (yeah .. I like what I hear), overall I consider 'Glorious Collision' a solid melodic prog metal album. It will be available at the end of February 2011.

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Send comments to Rivertree (BETA) | Report this review (#379679)
Posted Thursday, January 13, 2011 | Review Permalink
J-Man
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Leave It Behind Us

Evergrey has had quite a few ups and downs in their 15 year history. Albums like In Search and Truth and Solitude + Dominance + Tragedy are hailed by fans as progressive power metal masterpieces, but since Recreation Day the band has been moving towards a more commercial-sounding metal act with mixed reception. Monday Morning Apocalypse was Evergrey's downfall; an album panned and beaten to death by fans and critics alike. The band has been on a rebound since then, and 2011's Glorious Collision shows them in a confident state with some killer new material. This can't compare with some of their earlier masterworks, but it's a very competent album that will surely appeal to fans of progressive power metal on the more accessible side. People who loved the complexity of Evergrey's early albums will most likely book this as a disappointment, even though I find myself enjoying this album quite a bit. Glorious Collision isn't the best thing Evergrey has done in their nomadic career, but it's a more than competent album that should satisfy open-minded fans and newcomers alike.

Although this is distinctly Evergrey for a variety of reasons, this is an extremely clean, polished, and accessible version of them. Glorious Collision will grab you at first listen - whether or not that's a good thing is up to the listener. Usually albums this accessible are major issues for me, but there's enough excellent material here to warrant many more replays. Songs like "Leave It Behind Us", "Wrong", "Frozen", or "Free" are all excellent, though selecting any highlights here is like picking randomly out of a hat. Every song here is of excellent quality, filled with memorable melodies and irresistible riffs. It's a bit formulaic (verse-chorus-verse), but incredibly enjoyable nonetheless. Again, people who were drawn to the complexity of their earlier releases may feel left in the cold by Glorious Collision, but what I hear is an excellent melodic power/prog metal album that fans of the genre should get a kick out of. One of the biggest assets to Evergrey's music has always been the excellent musicianship, and, though there have been many lineup changes since their last outing, that still holds true. Of course, the stellar vocals from Tom Englund are at the forefront. The man is simply a spectacular singer, and surely among the best in modern metal.

The production is a bit too polished for most people's tastes, but I find myself liking it anyway. The sound of the crunchy guitar riffs and Englund's excellent vocals are especially excellent.

Conclusion:

Glorious Collision isn't the best thing Evergrey's ever done and its safe approach will unquestionably disappoint a few fans, but I've had a great time listening to the album recently. I think fans of power metal with irresistible choruses and impressive musicianship should love Glorious Collision - I know I sure did. This isn't the best starting place for Evergrey, but it's another great addition to their discography and a warm recommendation from me. 3.5-4 stars are deserved in this case.

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Send comments to J-Man (BETA) | Report this review (#391267)
Posted Monday, January 31, 2011 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars 'Glorious Collision' - Evergrey (4/10)

As sad a trend as it is, many bands that stay around as long as Sweden's Evergrey tend to slip as time goes on, falling at some point along the way. A band whose earlier work dominates the Scandinavian power metal scene, Evergrey seems to have taken a fall from glory. Instead of the great comeback record some may have been predicting, 'Glorious Collision' turns out to be a somewhat weak, uninspired collection of anthem rock tracks, that fails to capture the imagination. Unfortunately, the theme of falling may not just apply to the album's artwork.

Anyone familiar with the term 'AOR' will know what to expect here. The music is deeply rooted in the arena rock that lay slave to each set of white, middle-class ears during the 1980s. The music is almost always focused on the vocals and melodic lines, often giving the instruments the semblance of a backing track to Tom Englund's vocal work, whose strong delivery comprises the album's greatest strength. The songwriting is kept basic to point of being called 'barebones', and to make things worse, the album tries to cover this with an overly polished production, which could work beautifully for a more technically vibrant work, but makes a good deal of the music here feel even more lifeless.

Each song follows a nearly identical pattern, with little exception. A instrumental introduction opens up the song, usually promising some sort of interest to the song. Unfortunately, by the time Englund's vocal work comes in, the instruments recoil and let the singing do almost all of the work. Each song is built around a chorus that- more often than not- is the highlight of the song. while there is melodic prowess here with much of the chorus-writing, it can often feel as if one familiar song is replaying over and over again throughout thirteen tracks of tired arena rock. With that in mind, the songs begin being judged not on their inherent quality, but on how different they manage to sound from the rest. While the album's opener 'Leave It Behind Us' works the best to describe the musical output Evergrey has produced with 'Glorious Collision', the highlight would ultimately be the semi-acoustic track 'Free', which opens with a simple keyboard idea, and is driven by some beautiful acoustic work. Unfortunately, this fleeting inspiration is only made the more enjoyable due to it's companions, which have much less to say.

What the album gets right however; it gets right very well. As has been said, Tom Englund is a fantastic vocalist for this type of melodic rock, and although the instruments almost never prove to be more than a backing track for Englund's powerful delivery, his voice carries the better parts of 'Glorious Collision' along rather nicely. 'Glorious Collision' is certainly an album that introduces Evergrey in a new light (with an almost entirely new lineup) but unless the band makes some serious improvements and opts to balance out their sound in favor of greater instrumental work, Evergrey may very well fall completely into relative obscurity.

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Send comments to Conor Fynes (BETA) | Report this review (#395040)
Posted Saturday, February 05, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Well Evergrey are back... what's left of them... And it is a magnificent comeback!

We all knew their problems after "Torn". And the question was how Tom and Rikard could continue with this. But let's face it, Tom is the heart of this band. And maybe since the departure of the other three members there was more space for Zander's keys. So with a new rhythm section they are releasing Glorious Collision.

I must confess, although their first albums till The Inner Circle are more of what we use to say Prog, I always liked Torn. There was a certain familiar to me mood there. So is the new one better? Equal to the old ones? I will not do the comparison. They don't deserve this, not at all. Honestly, I think that the new one is a great album, great melodies, great orchestrations, GREAT solos, with their style that we love.

The keys are more in the front, spreading their sound, giving new dimensions. The lyrics speak to you, it goes really deep sometimes. Tom' s voice just shouts "I am back". And the new players are up to the task, powerful drumming, nice bass lines and heavy riffing.

This is an awesome album, an emotional trip and heavy as always. Five stars, cause this is a great effort and cause we need bands like Evergrey, keep it going!

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Send comments to Sophocles (BETA) | Report this review (#400972)
Posted Tuesday, February 15, 2011 | Review Permalink
2 stars Another sad release for Evergrey pretty much extinguishes any last hope of a return to form. Sadly future albums are just not worth the listen (3 strikes, your out).

The above statement makes me sad as only a few years ago Evergrey was easily at the top of my favorite bands list. Great old school riffing with a fresh modern sound, strong front man and strong musicianship with enough prog elements to have something really unique. I also had the privilege of seeing them live and they were fantastic.

So what's gone wrong? Monday Morning Apocalypse was the beginning of a move in a commercial direction that has not stopped. But I forgave them for this, it was a different album but still had a great riffs. Ironically many people have voted Torn a better album but to me although Torn may not have been quite so obviously commercial as Monday morning, it didn't really have any catchy riffs to it to hold your attention. Both of these albums dulled down the keyboards - a trend that has continued to Glorious Collision (even the album names have become lame & uninspired).

Having seen Everygrey in action there was little doubt Tom Englund desperately wants the whole rock god thing but I doubt he's destined to get it. Everygrey's music still remains too heavy for the average cross-over or rock charts fan and the songs are becoming more repetitive, predictable, sappy and dull. The original fan base and prog lovers alike are fleeing like rats from a ship while new metal heads see Everygrey's music as too obviously try-hard commercial. In short they aren't finding any real audience.

Glorious Collision offers pretty much nothing (except the same safe old formula if that's what you want). Nothing really stands out, nothing is new, the whole album meanders along at a constant pace. It is completely uninspired.

Everygrey is definitely a band beyond it's expiry date which is a shame. Having put out earlier masterpieces that in my book dominated the progressive metal scene this really is disappointing and I suspect attributable to Tom Englund's clearly gigantic ego. Keyboard players of worth long gave up trying to be an active part of the Everygrey sound and now all we have is a repetition of uninspired riffs.

I do hope one day a miracle can turn things around and Englund sees the light. (2.5 stars)

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Send comments to Ramma (BETA) | Report this review (#402099)
Posted Thursday, February 17, 2011 | Review Permalink
1 stars Ah yes, another Evergrey album has arrived. I must admit that when I heard that 3 members of the band were leaving I was shocked but then I remember what happened last time there was a major member change, back in 2001. We got In Search of Truth which many consider to be Evergrey's finest hour. The frustration and high emotions which entrench themselves during a breakup, usually find a way of emerging through the music(which is good for the listener). Overall, I am fairly happy with this album. (Changed my mind, it sucks) After hearing Torn, I was worried that the band had ran out of inspiration. It really felt generic and tedious, and you can almost tell that band was disintegrating. Well here comes new guys and new energy, and there are some real highlights on Glorious Collision, but still it comes off as generic. I was listening to it today and actually got bored, and turned it off. These long drawn out choruses are driving me nuts like "I'm Frooooooooooozeeeeeen" instead of just saying I'm frozen. Its just not that interesting. I enjoyed the first listen just for the novelty of it, but it wore off way faster then I expected, so I guess this is the point where I wash my hands of Evergrey. P.S. dumb album name and kinda cheesy album art, but whatever. Should've named it "From the ashes" or something referencing new life and rejuvenation, but whatever. (Changed my mind, it sucks)

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Send comments to Phoenix87x (BETA) | Report this review (#403319)
Posted Saturday, February 19, 2011 | Review Permalink
AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
3 stars 13 songs in one hour of solid blasting power metal from Evergrey.

Evergrey are a melodic power metal band that have the key features of strong melodies, awesome riffing and incredible passionate vocals from Englund. They remind me of Symphony X or Theocracy at times, and are focussed on creating memorable melodies and riffs with some scorching lead breaks played with razor sharp precision and speed.

There are some fantastic tracks on this new album, a dark somber atmosphere throughout but very strong melodies. The excellence is not consistent but I would rate this a 3 and a half star album, not quite 4 stars but still very good.

It begins with a brain blaster on heavy distorted galloping guitars. Leave It Behind cranked into my cranium and I couldn't get it out of my head, it just haunts you after it is over. The signature sound is well known to Evergrey fans, and I was astounded at the ferocity of the distortion and the way vocals plead through low tones and exceptional high register singing; "it's your silence that makes you so hollow, all things that we don't know are danger and we should leave it behind us, everything changes, we wait for the darkness". The techno keyboards add another dimension to the sound.

You is one of the best tracks due to that melodic power metal and a blistering lead break and choppy rhythmic distorted blasts. It is the longest song at 6:24 and the best for me, with a beautiful minimalist piano section. Worth listening to any day, any mood.

Wrong has wonderful verses sung with passion and powerful organ passages, with a crunching chorus with a strong melody.

Frozen has a hammering riff that is rather intricate with an odd time signature. Overall the track is a raucous thrasher with some moments of slow chord changes and everpresent are those powerful vocals. The chorus is majestic and epic, and then the instrumental break is an effective twin lead guitar harmony. The time sig changes are inspirational, and there is even a break away with some spacey keys before one more powerdriving chorus.

Restoring The Loss begins softly with phased keyboards and then a galloping chunk of metal blasts drive it forward.

To Fit the Mould absolutely floored me for its unusual structure and the wonderful melodic metal, the power riffs are stunning and these are some of the most uplifting vocals from Englund. An absolute highlight of the album and unforgettable epic chorus.

The Phantom Letters has to be mentioned for the dynamic vocals "and the ashes fall from heaven", and the incredible fret melting lead work.

It Comes From Within is a killer track, and begins with an ethereal haunting female vocal and then launches into break neck speed riffs and lead guitar fills. The darkened atmosphere is consistent with heavier vocals; "It's taking me over, making me weak, I belong to the shadows, to the ones?". The lead guitar is explosive on this track, it woke me up after a few mediocre moments and this nailed me to the wall with blistering lead work and crunchtastic distortion. The eerie female ghosts lift it to a progressive edge.

Free begins with sombre organ and heartfelt well executed vocals. The softer sound is welcome after the blitzkrieg of previous tracks. The bass pounds like a heartbeat and it builds to a clean guitar and beautiful ambience. Another very good track among the best on the album.

I'm Drowning Alone is back to the gut wrenching distorted crunches of pure Evergrey. The riff is fantastic driving and powerful, with a higher vocal register from Englund. You have to love that melody in the chorus; "Release from darkness, release me from all that chains me here, I'm drowned in your silence, I hate to ask but I wouldn't if I didn't mean it, I'm much stronger on my own, but so much weaker, I need you to help me." There is a keyboard pad underneath the power metal and a weird section that chills me sounding like children singing.

And The Distance has one of the best vocal performances, passionate and full of the pain of loss and regret. The guitar swells are divine over a melancholy piano. When it builds to the metal section the atmosphere lifts; "you're keeping your distance, you're pushing me away, you never let me say the words I want to say, our circumstances change, because you never let me say the words I want". There is a time change and a ferocious instrumental, with Carina's female vocals that sound so pleasant with vocals. The harmonies as good as you may hear on an Ayreon album.

Overall this Evergrey album is full of melodic powerful songs, some absolutely inspired moments. I enjoyed the journey and look forward to hearing more from this dynamic prog metal band.

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Send comments to AtomicCrimsonRush (BETA) | Report this review (#418131)
Posted Saturday, March 19, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars Leave It Behind Us

In the not to distant past Evergrey has released some amazing albums, most notably 'In Search of Truth' in 2001, but with this album they've seemed to leave it behind them and by doing so this album is a little weak. Granted, I still really like this album, but I definitely think that it could be better. The songs are quite simple for most of the time, and the couple of songs that are very good get drowned out by the rest. Also 'Glorious Collision' seems to be a little repetitive for its hour long time span.

Of everything on the album, my favorite thing would probably have to be Tom Englund's, which sounds a lot like Fish, from Marillion. Being the huge Marillion fan that I am, this adds a lot to the album, especially on songs such as 'The Phantom Letters' and 'Free'. His voice blends in very well with Evergrey's sound, and is a lone highlight on most of the songs. If I were to just listen to the first couple of songs this album would hold no interest to me at all, but, thankfully, the last six songs are really good, and salvage the album. Starting with 'The Phantom Letters', 'Glorious Collision' takes off on a new, and better path that would interest a listener much more than the first half.

The keyboards on this album, played by Rikard Zander, are very good and highlight the melodies very good with their lighter sound. That's the one cool thing about Evergrey that has stayed the same; they know how to infuse different genres into their music. In the past they have released both progressive and power metal albums, and, in my opinion, 'Glorious Collision' is a good mixture between the two. With more progressive sounding songs such as the ballad '...And The Distance' and 'Free', they show their diverse talent, while they also show they can get the job done with nice, heavy power metal songs like 'Frozen' and 'I'm Drowning Alone'.

The production is very polished, and almost too perfect, but I find my self liking it. Englund's voice sounds great with it, and the guitars sound pretty good, too.

While hardcore Evergrey fans will probably be disappointed with this new release, there's not too much to complain about. It has great musicianship, wonderful choruses, and great melodies. I found myself liking this album a lot, but as I said before, if you're just getting into Evergrey this might not be the place to start. I got this at around the same time I got 'In Search of Truth', my first introduction to Evergrey, and it was amazing at the difference. For their good, yet lacking release Evergrey gets 3 stars.

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Send comments to The Block (BETA) | Report this review (#435816)
Posted Tuesday, April 19, 2011 | Review Permalink

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