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Evergrey - 'Glorious Collision' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/c5/c2/81/1040_evergreygloriouscollision_1298768603.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     February 27, 2011    
 
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A melting pot of diffuse influences – everything from classic hard rock through progressive metal.

Just one of a whole raft of great bands to emerge from the late 90's progressive metal explosion that swept through Europe like wildfire (think Vanden Plas, Poverty's No Crime, Threshold, etc.), Sweden's Evergrey were perhaps a little different than most – different insofar as their influences also readily embraced the gothic rock/metal infused sounds brought to the mainstream by Nightwish; and a darker, more reflective sheen a la the much missed Tad Morose.

Never prone to repeating themselves unnecessarily, the band – led throughout by mastermind Tom Englund (guitars / vocals) – has always managed to challenge your preconceptions and prejudices with each new release, deftly pushing the accepted boundaries. Technically speaking, their most complex and progressively inclined efforts came in the earlier part of the last decade (the three album period from 'In Search Of Truth' through 'The Inner Circle'), but having pursued the Dream Theater angle through to its logical conclusion, subsequent releases have seen them err back towards the darker melancholy of debut 'The Dark Discovery' and its follow up 'Solitude. Dominance. Tragedy'.

Feeling that 2008's harrowing 'Torn' opus was about as far as the current lineup could go, Englund and keyboard player Rikard Zander decided on the risky strategy of dispensing with the rest of the band in an attempt to strike out for pastures new. Invigorated by their new found sense of creative freedom, the dynamic duo set about the task of writing the most diverse and far reaching set of songs yet to bear the Evergrey name; and with the help of new recruits Marcus Jidell (ex Royal Hunt, guitars), Johan Niemann (former Therion bassist) and young drummer Hannes Van Dahl, have once again crafted an album that sets them apart from the crowd.

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Fittingly titled 'Glorious Collision', this latest slab of molten metal (their eighth should anyone be counting) is a melting pot of diffuse influences – everything from classic hard rock through progressive metal and back again – all skilfully blended together to create a pulsating wall of sound that is new and refreshing, yet unmistakably Evergrey. Sweeping majestically from crunching, uncompromising riffs one minute to moments of sober introspection the next; whilst 'Glorious Collision' is certainly the most varied sounding Evergrey set since 2004's 'The Inner Circle', from a purely commercial perspective it's far more immediate and accessible than their last few releases.

And so, having once again achieved musical nirvana by marrying great technical dexterity to arresting melodies, tracks such as 'Leave It Behind Us', 'You', 'Out Of Reach and 'The Phantom Letters' decamp in your cerebral cortex and steadfastly refuse to budge. Big hooks abound throughout, unfettered guitars skip joyously through a myriad of mind bending solos, cleverly selective use of background orchestration helps to create a truly sizzling album dynamic – hell, everything I love about progressive metal seems to be encapsulated into this particular release, and when you factor in a sprinkling of doom/gothic influences as well, the results are simply amazing!

Evergrey have always been unerringly consistent, but in balancing technique with accessibility, 'Glorious Collision' sees them raise the bar even higher!

Dave Cockett

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