By Jason Wellwood
Album number eight from Evergrey left me scratching my head a little bit the first time through. My immediate thought was that Tom Englund and crew (of which, only keyboardist Rikard Zander still remains from the previous disc) had created a progressive AOR album. I’m familiar with Evergrey so I expect things to change a little from record to record but this just didn’t seem right. Of course on subsequent listens, my mistake was very apparent: you can’t put Evergrey on in the background!
Glorious Collision is a fairly apt title as it is definitely a collision of the music and bands that inspired both Englund and Zander (who wrote the majority of the songs). Ranging from prog to classical, metal to classic rock and yes, even 80’s AOR, it’s all in there but all in the Evergrey signature sound. I really admire the fact that Evergrey isn’t afraid to incorporate new influences to their albums. The fact that they can keep these influences within the scope of what the band’s supposed to sound like is a testament to their song-writing prowess. Many, more popular, bands could not accomplish this. My mistake, of course, in putting Glorious Collision on in the background was that the layers are so subtle you don’t always notice them until afterward. There is a point in ‘To Fit the Mold’ at about 4 minutes in, for example, where a little bit of symphonic strings pops up and if you weren’t listening, you’d miss it. Your brain tells you that something was there but…it’s a pretty good trick on Evergrey’s part: it keeps you coming back to listen over and over. Better than backmasking, that’s for sure!
I think, on the whole, Glorious Collision feels a little more laid back than the previous two records did. Don’t get me wrong, the attention to detail is there (obviously) and the songs are intense at points, catchy, well written the whole way through. It simply seems like Evergrey has maybe reached a point where they want to get into your brain a little more subversively. Glorious Collision is a beautiful record and with the embracing of some more mellow and melodic sounds, they’ll not only please long time fans but may find some new fans from the hard rock world coming out to shows as well.
Well done fellas!
Glorious Collision will be released February 22, 2011 on SPV