Evergrey – Glorious Collision
SPV/Steamhammer Records – 2011
Incredibly consistent with massive heavy riffs, one of the best voices in all of heavy metal and top-flight song writing are just a few of the reasons why Evergrey is my second favorite band.
A lesser band might have panicked when losing three-fifths of their line-up. Not the Gothenburg, Sweden powerhouse, as they have re-grouped and come back better than ever with Glorious Collision.
In the more than capable hands of mastermind Tom S. Englund and his stalwart keyboardist Rikard Zander, Glorious Collision is multi-layered juggernaut of beautiful keyboards, heavy guitars, pounding drums and driving bass.
Guitars thunder across “Leave It Behind Us” with Zander’s keyboard alternating between delicate piano and a fluctuating electronic signal. The majestic background vocals from Englund’s wife Carina, set a grand stage for new guitarist Marcus Jidell and Tom Englund to solo with blinding hair-raising effect.
The dark heavy riff of “You” sounds remarkable against Zander’s soft keyboard touch. The dual soloing is insanely fast and when they take turns trading off, each guitarist brings a unique approach. I can’t forget the terrific drum work by Hannes Van Dahl. The parts of the song where he kicks the double bass pedals with heavy guitar rhythm will kick your ass!
I love when the band cuts back the heaviness to allow the piano and percussion breathe softly in “Wrong.” On the other hand, the double bass drums kick the harder parts with authority.
Speaking of drums, they fall on top of you like an avalanche in “Frozen.” The stop and go of heavy distortion and free space is presented as an art-form in this fourth tune. One of the guitars speaks together with the keyboard to create beautiful instrumental voicing. I think the little keyboard sounds in this track are absolutely genius.
Though it’s heavy, I haven’t got the faintest idea why “Restoring the Loss” isn’t played on every rock radio station across the globe. It’s melodic with hook power to snare anyone. This fifth song should reach the masses. If it doesn’t, it is a criminal act of negligence by radio programmers.
Try not banging your head to the colossal riffs and drum beat in “To Fit the Mold.” The lead guitar work is fluid and played with outpouring of emotion.
“Out of Reach” has such an amazing melody that it felt like I recognized it on a subconscious level. It’s pure Evergrey with Englund telling a story while the guitars fire away from two sides. The drums and Johan Niemann’s bass unite for a Tour de Force of a song.
An acoustic guitar plays while Englund sings with great sensitivity in “The Phantom Letters.” The harder parts of the song punctuate the tune with the band’s aggressive inflection. I love how the picking guitar rhythm plays along with the kick of the bass drum. The speed picking guitar runs are just wicked quick.
The muted distorted guitar in the back of the keyboard is an awesome intro to “The Disease.” Zander’s keyboard and Van Dahl’s drums take turns leading the way for the band to rip it. Englund and Jidell’s dual harmony towards the end is Maidenish.
Carina Englund’s voice beams from heaven before an onslaught of instrumental power strikes like a hailstorm of sledgehammers in “It Comes From Within.”
The opening keyboard in “Free” has almost a cool 70s soundtrack tone (ala John Carpenter ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13). The layers of vocals fit nicely with the acoustic guitars and the drums are mixed just right to not overpower the softer instrumentation.
I’m astonished how the soft, fluffy keyboard mixes right in with the vicious distorted guitars of “I’m Drowning Alone.” The harmonic heavy riffage is breathtaking! The break with the child singing before the big riffs come back is brilliantly conceived and executed.
Tom & Carina Englund sing a duet in “…And the Distance.” I like how it’s not just a ballad but infused with Evergrey’s attacking instrumental fortitude.
As you already know from the beginning of this review, Evergrey is my second favorite band. I like and even love everything they have recorded and released. Their album In Search of Truth is a masterwork of a concept album. I regard Monday Morning Apocalypse in the tip-top selection of my all-time favorite albums. But to be brutally honest, Glorious Collision just might be the best album Evergrey has done so far.