Released: 2011, SPV
Evergrey is a highly regarded band on this web-site. I hadn’t been as thrilled with the last couple of albums but fans and critics were still enjoying the band. Then it was announced some time back that Tom had fired 3/5 of the band. The PR people called it ‘rearranging his musical environment’ Ha! That's a clever way of saying he fired most of his band…again. Initially I thought, ‘Now what?’ but in hindsight Evergrey has always been the Tom Englund Project. (TEP?) He has had fifteen members in just over 10 years so in reality, new lineup changes probably aren’t that significant as long as his golden pipes are in place.
Well to my pleasant surprise, TEP/Evergrey has delivered the best album in years. It’s dark, heavy, somber and crammed with great songs. The new guys are proficient musicians and have brought back some of that ‘Metal’ edge the band was lacking on the last few releases. Check out cuts like, ‘Frozen’ They haven’t sounded this fierce in a while.
It’s a fairly long, dense album with 13 cuts clocking in at over an hour, meaning it’s a fairly intense listening experience. Tom sounds as good as ever, the production is nice and there are even a few little hints of studio tricks on cuts like ‘To fit The Mold’. As always the presentation is good, the cover art, reminding me of one of the Megadeth live albums from a while back.
There are far more dynamics, more light and shadow more nuances than in previous albums. Somehow the band has delivered an energetic yet at times melancholy album and the juxtaposition of these sounds and styles work very well. Cuts like ‘The Phantom Letters’ shift from an almost ballad like dirge to a chugging crunchy drive. There are many examples of the audio dynamics in the composition and arrangements. A Glorious Collision indeed!