Evergrey Glorious Collision

Steamhammer / SPV

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The eight album by the Swedish band Evergrey is a hard one to review, as I can’t capture it in one word. If it was the debut of a band I hadn’t followed in ten years, I would say it was a masterpiece, but from Evergrey I expect a bit more. “Recreation Day” (2003) is still one of the best metal albums I know, and on “Glorious Collision” they are back with a new line-up and a strong energy vibe. Also the band left their more commercial sound behind and they have returned to their roots a little more. The new members are very talented and the writers duo Rikard Zander (keyboards) and Tom S.Englund (vocals, guitar, songwriter) is a golden combination.

Most of all, the strength and energy are back, something I missed on the last two albums. On the other hand, there are recognizable elements and parts that I have heard on previous albums, something I never thought I would say, because Evergrey has the reputation to change their sound on each new album. That doesn’t make this one less challenging. Keep in mind that the band has returned from a dark period and all that said and done makes it clear that it is indeed a masterpiece if you only give it time.

The opening track “Leave It Behind Us” starts serenely with a choir, but soon sets the tone for a very catchy and heavy guitar and drum sound. Vocalist Tom Englund is still outstanding whatever he does, but with many effects on his voice many layers disappear. The classical piano from Rikard Zander is a dynamic element that stays in your head. The melody is a bit predictable and somehow it makes me wonder if Englund has the motivation to improve himself. The middle part with a guitar solo by Marcus Jidell has all the power and energy you can imagine.

A darker and groovier sound on “You” reminds you of the old days of the band. Drummer Hannes van Dahl is fast, has technical knowhow and most of all doesn’t fill every empty minute. The end of the song contains a very interesting battle of all instruments, going faster and faster and it definitely proves that this combination of musicians has a special chemistry that brings the band to a higher level. Johan Niemann on bass is finger fast and a perfect contradiction with the warm piano outro. It has the intense vibe, which gets under your skin and makes you silent afterwards.

The single “Wrong” shows a more fragile side of Tom Englund, putting all his emotions in his sometimes broken voice. The lyrics are suddenly breathing and more convincing. When the choir and guitar are working towards a bombastic climax it makes me shiver. Jidell has such a seventies inspired sound, and it fits so well, that it is a real diamond to develop that chemistry over the years.
“Frozen” has the dark, dynamic sound that reminds me of “ Monday Morning Apocalypse” (2006), a classical Evergrey song with very strong progressive elements, bombastic guitars and synths.
On “Restoring The Loss” the power grows. The low voice of Tom S.Englund is the top layer, but when you dive deeper, extremely technical guitar, bass, and orchestrations are the strong base of this song. A very surprising song, because the band uses new elements and creates a deep sound without getting too bombastic and making it even darker than before.

“To Fill The Mold” is also a complex, melancholic and sensitive song. Acoustic guitars and a more serene Tom S. Englund create a fragile atmosphere that soon breaks into a raw chemistry between all the instruments without losing sight of the essence of the song. It unites contradictions in a beautiful manner: dark and light are finding their way throug the guitarsolo, melodic drums and orchestrations. This is a masterpiece that gives me the evidence that Evergrey can still do it: writing amazing, unforgettable songs that take my breath away. After four listening sessions, I still discover new elements that amaze me.

“ Out Of Read” is an intense wall of music, marking that we are halfway through ‘Glorious Collision’ and “ The Phantom Letters” is an acoustic midtempo ballad. Finally, I can focus more on Tom Englund’s voice, but not for long. A bombastic twist makes the song very dynamic, good songwriting and teamwork.

“It Comes From Within” is another strong ensemble, definitely pay attention to all the layers, in a raw and straightforward approach. “Free” has a beautiful intro, short and very gothic. Then in an explosion of energy, Evergrey is saying indirectly that they are back full force to conquer the metal scene again, and I believe they have a lot to carry out: it is a compact album and it demands a lot from the listener in a good way.

“The Disease” is the song I recognize from the demo and again the melody stays in my head. Again the golden duo Rikard Zander and Tom Englund perfectly find the right key to open everyone’s heart: it’s sensitive, intense, beautiful and interesting.

After this highlight, the contrast on “ I’m Drowning Alone” can’t be bigger. Even the voice of his daughter plays a part in this bombastic, groovy song. After more than fifteen years, Evergrey is still a strong band, and the finale “ ..And The Distance”, a duet between Tom Englund and his wife Carina with her warm voice, makes it all complete. This guitar orientated song convinces me that the band is back, delivering a dynamic, strong, convincing, amazing, vivid and powerful album. This is the best promise for the future! (Silvia Deurwaarder)

01. Leave It Behind Us
02. You
03. Wrong
04. Frozen
05. Restoring The Loss
06. To Fit The Mold
07. Out Of Reach
08. The Phantom Letters
09. The Disease...
10. It Comes From Within
11. Free
12. I'm Drowning Alone
13. ...and The Distance
14 . And The Distance (bonus track – Carina)

Tom S. Englund - Vocals, Guitar
Rikard Zander - Keyboard, Backing Vocals
Marcus Jidell - Guitar, Backing Vocals
Johan Niemann - Bass, Backing Vocals
Hannes Van Dahl - Drums