Prior to the new release of Swedish progressive metal band Evergrey’s album, Glorious Collision, the band underwent a drastic shift . Three band members left at the same time, leaving singer, guitarist and songwriter Tom S. Englund and keyboardist Rikard Zander to look for replacements and somehow continue the momentum from their previous album, Torn. With three new members, one of them bassist Johan Niemann of Therion fame, does Glorious Collision succeed?
Evergrey performs a darker variety of progressive metal that is oft en described as melancholic, somber and lamenting. Lyrical subjects—such as religious cults, death, mourning, child abuse and misery—make up most their work, meaning that this band is not for those who prefer lighter material.
Arguably, their biggest hit is 2004’s The Inner Circle, a concept album about religious fanaticism and its consequences. The album’s top-notch production and orchestration caused many fans to be slightly disappointed with the subsequent album Monday Morning Apocalypse, which was rawer in sound and more stripped down. 2008’s Torn was better received, though still noticeably going for a raw sound.
This year’s release Glorious Collision does continue with the rough guitar from their previous album, which at first listen made me miss the aural crispness of The Inner Circle, but the song structures and Englund’s sense of melody and soulfulness kept me convinced of its quality in its own right.
The sound is still distinctly Evergrey, which is uniquely characterized in the progressive metal subgenre, such as Englund’s soulful vocals. Compared to previous releases, the sounds are not terribly varied. There are a few ballads here and there to contrast with the heavier material, but the overall feel of the album has a ballad-esque tinge to it, making it diffi cult for inexperienced listeners to distinguish the material. However, the band has not lost its sense of melody and soul. The singing melodies are much more layered in the choruses, compared to previous albums, where Englund’s deep and robust voice stood alone in both verses and chorus. The songs do feel sincere, and the delivery of the 13 songs were convincing. The single, “Wrong,” has a powerful hook and lyrics, as does the closing song “…And the Distance.” The best examples of the heavier, powerful songs include the opening song “Leave it Behind Us,” and “Frozen.”
Evergrey is a soulful progressive metal band whose music deals with serious and darker subject matter. Their work is usually considered to be for a very selective audience, but Glorious Collision is recommended to anybody who wishes to explore the deeper, introspective side of progressive metal, as the band is internationally known specialists of the genre.