Evergrey - Glorious Collision Review
by Matt Hensch
When progressive metal fans are rejected by women they like, they return to isolation and eventually dust off those old Evergrey albums that understand the pain and frustration throughout those nights of denial, bargaining, anger, depression, and finally the blazing ray of acceptance; thank you Evergrey, see you in a couple months. Tom Englund's creation sounds like Dr. Phil force-fed a spoonful of steel: loudly emotional music, yet with a side of decency for those of us not in high school. "Glorious Collision" marks a new age in the band's longevity, as several loyal members of the group turned in their nametags and left Evergrey prior to the album's recording. Englund, being the band's leader, recruited a number of noteworthy musicians from groups like Royal Hunt to finish "Glorious Collision," branding it a new era for Evergrey. And eras may come and go, but the card Englund plays throughout "Glorious Collision" marks a wide expansion of color and identity that some of Englund's other creations lacked, mainly "Monday Morning Apocalypse."
In a sense, "Glorious Collision" firmly stands as a progressive metal opus layered in riffs, keyboards, and choruses as Evergrey have done in the past, but instead documenting an emphasis on strength and incoming credit via new members. The album itself is a showcase of consistent track after consistent track, each covered in its own blanket of ideas and techniques. For example, you'll see the band venturing into a variety of keyboard tunes, thrash hints, explosive rhythms, poppy choruses, and even a child choir on "I'm Drowning Alone" with a surprising aftermath of one not in bitterness. Most of these aspects have appeared on an Evergrey outing before, but never has Englund truly explored such terrains so methodically. Aside from that, Evergrey still does the usual Evergrey routine as we've come to know the group, but featuring better riffs, better choruses, better structuring, and better overall cuts. Englund's deep, melancholic voice is charming as always, but thankfully isn't the only positive quality "Glorious Collision" can idolize: the band is tighter, more complex, craving for viciousness, yet sophisticated and classy.
The record opens with a smashing piece titled "Leave it Behind Us" with all of Evergrey's genetics intact as prominent keyboards smoke with a vibe of electronica, eventually synchronizing the bass drum and keys into a pseudo-dance beat and leaving the riff-fest to end impressively. "It Comes From Within" brings a lot of speed and power into the track's rapid picking and virtuoso guitar work, once again pinning the metal back to Englund's brainchild. "Frozen" bounces itself on its chorus, which is certainly its point of power; a little repetitive, yet I'll argue its for the best. And of course, every Evergrey album needs a plethora of ballads, yet "Glorious Collision" proudly captures some of the most emotional and well-written pieces of sorrow this band has written. Not a single track lacks a healthy punch of power, whether it be from hammering guitars or an atmosphere of hope lost once more. It's an Evergrey record atop a mountain of Evergrey records, if you will.
The exterior influences brought by Marcus Jildill of Royal Hunt and Johan Niemann navigate through Englund's typical masquerade with an edge of uniqueness and velocity Evergrey seemingly abandoned late in their career, so finally hearing something that has authentic diversity while maintaining an honest code definitely makes for a satisfying listen. I'd say "Glorious Collision" is probably the finest Evergrey effort I've come in contact with aside from "Solitude Dominance Tragedy," and I'd walk straight in the madhouse and check myself in if it isnt one of the bands greatest releases, so definitely give it a shot.
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