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Collage - Over and Out CD (album) cover





4.13 | 147 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
4 stars Having formed almost four decades ago, COLLAGE proved to be Poland's answer to Marillion through the 1990s with its larger than life synthesizer attacks and sweeping guitar licks. The band was clearly in league with the greats of neo-prog having crafted four albums in the 1990s with 1994's "Moonshine" reaching classic status. Like many Eastern European bands of the era though COLLAGE never really garnered the attention they deserved and have remained somewhat of an obscurity until now!

The band formed as far back as 1987 in Warsaw and stuck around as late as 2003 despite the band's last album "Safe" emerging in 1996. The band reformed in 2013 abut hasn't released any new material. Until now! OVER AND OUT may only be the band's fifth album in nearly four decades of existence but give me quality over quantity any day and OVER AND OUT delivers the neo-prog goods in a way only a bunch of seasoned veterans can.

Despite new vocalist Karol Wrobleski taking on the lead singing roles since 2013, COLLAGE still has the template of the Fish-era Marillion days which has been both a boon and bane of its existence. Perhaps not the most terribly original band on the scene there is no doubt that COLLAGE has crafted this particular style of 80s neo-prog and picked up where Marillion left off and in a most grandiose manner. OVER AND OUT is a powerhouse of explosive neo-prog that delivers tight energetic performances drenched with dueling guitar and synth runs along with beautifully extended passages. Amazing feat considering the 27-year gap between this and the last album.

The opening track delivers what prog dreams are made of, namely an epic sounding behemoth of a track that is just shy of the 22-minute mark. Tinkling piano melodies, a passionate vocal performance and epic synth-laden grandiosity is what makes this opener instantly addictive. The Mark I era of Marillion may still be the dominant inspiration in COLLAGE's musical mojo but the band does indeed succeed in sounding just far enough removed to exist in its own little branch of the neo-proggo-sphere. And while the opening title track certainly steals the limelight with all the grandiose prog pomposity the album doesn't let up and continues delivering the goods.

Layering synth motifs and gentle breezy guitar parts are only one part of making a great neo-prog album. Existing in the more pop-laden section of the prog superstore, this is a genre that simply must capture your heart with irresistible melodic hooks and OVER AND OUT goes above and beyond the call of duty in mustering up some of the best ear heroin that prog has to offer. In addition COLLAGE has avoided all the pitfalls of sounding cheesy which melodic bands can often fall victim too. Kossowicz' vocals are tender yet forceful and offer a nice range of emotive displays. What puts this album over the top though is the amazing synthesizer works of Krzysztof Palczewski who works perfect in tandem with the guitar work of Michał Kirmuć to craft a larger than life effect.

It's been a long haul for COLLAGE and it's always exciting to find a band from so long ago make a triumphant comeback that matches their peak performances so many decades ago. Judging from OVER AND OUT it seems that COLLAGE is only getting warmed up for their comeback as this album has retained the energetic surge of energy that neo-prog has been delivering in the 21st century. Poland may have produced a number of neo-prog bands ranging from Satellite and Quidam to Abraxas and Millenium but has never really caught on in the English speaking world in terms of popularity however after experiencing this magnificent melodic gem by COLLAGE's comeback 27 years in the making i wouldn't be surprised if this band's time has finally come. Great stuff here. Passionate, dynamic excellently executed.

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |


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