Monday, May 30

Evergrey - Glorious Collision

Evergrey
Glorious Collision
2011


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Despair, if one stops to think about it, is quite a strange phenomenon. It is by its very nature unenjoyable and unpleasant, something that none of us wish to experience, and yet it one of the few things we all share - it is integral to the human experience, and for this reason it has served as both a focus and as an inspiration for much of our art. On their eighth full-length album, entitled "Glorious Collision," the guys from Evergrey once again explore this rather enigmatic emotion, but this time achieve somewhat enigmatic results.

Lyrically, there is a lot of depth here. The lyrics are, in typical Evergrey fashion, quite dark and introspective, and over the course of the album they become quite relentless in the quest for the pure expression of despair, longing, and self-doubt. As there are any number of brilliant lyrical moments in this album, I won't bother trying to single one out, but I found the lyrics to be consistently good throughout the album. Good lyricism, however, counts for nothing without strong vocals, and so fortunately the vocals here are quite well-done. Singer and guitarist Tom Englund delivers a powerful, emotional, and heartfelt vocal performance, and this is one of the greatest strengths of the album.

In terms of the music, we see a bit of a shift in Evergrey's sound: while their general vibe remains intact, they have gone for a slightly more commercial approach with this release. The song structures, vocal melodies, and instrumental parts (apart from the solos) all point to a slight simplification of Evergrey's music. This is not necessarily bad; "Wrong," the single for "Glorious Collision" and probably the most commercial track on the album, is also one of the strongest tracks. However, it seems at times like the band has simply run out of ideas - see the chorus from "You," for instance, which despite being played with conviction, is melodically quite mundane and tedious.

I suppose I should mention what specifically makes "Glorious Collision" seem more "commercial." Evergrey certainly still sounds like Evergrey, but here they have added some elements of modern American hard rock, of the variety popularized by Three Doors Down and bastardized over the years by various hosers. This can be both a good thing and a bad thing. When it works, it brings a refreshing rock sensibility to Evergrey's sound, and when it doesn't, it ends up dumbing down songs that could be better. Simply put, Evergrey is adding a new element to their sound, and getting mixed results. When they sound like old Evergrey, they do a wonderful job, but when they go for a more commercial sound, there are some difficulties.

I see "Glorious Collision" as a bit of a transitional album for Evergrey. The band is working in a slightly different paradigm than they have before, and although they are finding a measure of success, this is not as strong as some of their previous works. That is not to say that it is bad; Evergrey still maintains their high lyrical standards, and there are a number of great moments throughout the album, but there are also some unremarkable moments which drag down the album as a whole. However, Evergrey has historically been a very consistent band, and I believe that, with time, they can make this new sound work. Despite some inconsistencies, I found "Glorious Collision" to be an enjoyable listen, and I look forward to hearing what Evergrey comes up with next.

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Morpheus's Rating: 3.0/5


1 comment:

CanuckFan said...

Well, I'll have to check these guys out since I'm going to see them live in Vancouver in October. I'm actually going to see the opening act, Sabaton, and I have yet to hear any Evergrey. So, I have a bit of homework to do!