Glorious Collision is the eighth studio album recorded by the Swedish dark progressive metal band Evergrey. After some major changes in the band around 2001, early 2010 other radical changes occurred. Three band members called it a day: drummer Jonas Ekdahl, guitarist Henrik Danhage and bass player Jari Kainulainen left the band on a friendly base before personal harm would be done to the relationships with the other band members. Apart from vocalist, guitarist and band leader Tom S. Englund, only keyboard player Rikard Zander returned on the new album. Replacements for the leaving musicians are guitarist Marcus Jidell, who made name in Royal Hunt, and bass player Johan Niemann, who played in numerous bands like Therion, Evil Masquerade and Mind's Eye. The relatively unknown drummer Hannes Van Dahl is the last one who joined the new line-up.
I wondered if the three new band members changed Evergrey's sound. Well, I think the sound has changed a bit indeed. Keyboardist Rikard Zander has got more freedom and thus has the opportunity to show his musical talents. Moreover I think the melodic twin guitars that used to be one of Evergrey's trademarks, have been exchanged for more guitar riffs and rhythms. This may be caused by the change of guitarists. I know Marcus Jidell is a fantastic guitar player and I hoped to get a bit more interaction between him and Englund. But hey, why am I complaining? Evergrey has never made a bad record and Glorious Collision is no exception. Englund's strong emotional voice is still one of the outstanding ingredients of the band and the heavy basics of drums and bass guitar still rock your socks off.
While listening to a song like Frozen you'll notice Tom's superb vocal range: from soft and low to powerful high notes, but always very melodic. The ballad Free shows his dark and emotional side; he goes deeper inside himself than he ever did before. Restoring The Loss has a catchy melody, some furious guitars with some fine keyboards underneath. On the other hand, the opener Leave It Behind Us is a real killer song with double bass drums, great riffs and very modern soundscapes in the background. The epic piece The Phantom Letters contains an acoustic opening then building up power with superb guitar playing. This certainly is one of the album's highlights. Sadly, I only got a download to listen to and I'm not able to compare the bonus song ... And The Distance - which has a special vocal part by Carina Englund - to the song with the same title that closes the album. The song itself is very pleasant and I wonder how the extra female voice would sound in this song.
Despite the changes in the band's line-up, Glorious Collision is again a highlight for Evergrey. It's a bit less dark and the slight change of direction could eventually lead to a more melodic path. There's more room for keyboards and the guitars are more 'to the point'. The great solos and Englund's powerful voice are still of the highest standard. I hope that Englund will make use of the tremendous guitar skills of Marcus Jidell in the future. On this album he's great, but I know he can better. All together Glorious Collision is a steady and promising album. I'm looking forward to see them live on stage.
***+ Pedro Bekkers (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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