Collage - Over And Out

(CD 2022, 58:01, Mystic Records)

The tracks:
  1- Over And Out(21:50)
  2- What About The Pain (A family album)(8:36)
  3- One Empty Hand(5:03)
  4- A Moment A Feeling(13:22)
  5- Man In The Middle(9:10)

Website      facebook     

Website info.”More than a quarter of a century after the release of the last album, Warsaw Collage returns with the long-awaited new album, entitled Over And Out. The album will have its premiere at the beginning of December, but the history of this album dates back to 2013, when, after a long break in their activity, the musicians of Collage decided to return. Before returning to the stage, the musicians of Collage and the vocalist Robert Amirian parted ways, he was replaced by Karol Wróblewski, and then by Bartek Kossowicz, known from other Polish band Quidam. In 2015, the decision to part was made by one of the group's founders, Mirek Gil. Michał Kirmuć took his place. From that moment a new chapter in the history of Collage began, the result of which is the album Over And Out.”

My first musical encounter with Polish Neo-prog band Collage (founded in 1985, disbanded in 2003 and reformed in 2013) was in the early Nineties, after reading a very positive review about their first album entitled Basnie in the French progrock magazine Harmonie. I bought the album and was very pleased with it, due to the obvious Marillion hints, and the emotional native vocals. Now, more than 30 years later I get their new album to review, studio-album #5 and the guest musician is ... Steve Rothery, from Marillion, full circle!

During my first listening session I got more and more excited, this is Neo-prog Heaven, obviously inspired by early Marillion, the sound reminds me of the debut album Basnie. But to me it doesn't sound derivative, because Collage delivers lots of own musical ideas and surprising breaks. This is embellished with wonderful work on keyboards and guitar, fuelled by a powerful rhythm-section, and topped with strong and emotional English vocals. The five compositions are melodic, harmonic, elaborate and tastefully arranged with flowing shifting moods, and succeeded in keeping my attention during the entire album.

What About The Pain (A family album) alternates between slow rhythm and bombastic eruptions featuring moving work on guitar and a great keyboard sound, from orchestral to a spectacular fat synthesizer solo, wow.

One Empty Hand delivers dreamy piano and tender vocals, then a lush and powerful sound and finally back to dreamy, culminating in a howling guitar solo.

A Moment A Feeling: This is the most dynamic track. From a mellow intro with tender vocals and soaring keyboards to bombastic eruption with exciting guitar, lush keyboards and propulsive drums. From a slow rhythm with emotional vocals in bombastic atmosphere to a compelling climate wit orchestral keyboards and strong vocals. Halfway a moving guitar solo, backed by an excellent rhythm-section (with powerful bass), this is top notch Neo-prog!

Man In The Middle starts with tender piano and emotional, Fish-like vocals, but with the focus on exciting guitar work by guest musician Steve Rothery, he sounds very moving and compelling. Finally tender piano and vocals.

My highlight is the epic first composition Over And Out. The intro is surprising with spacey sounds and sequencing, in the vein of early Jean-Michel Jarre, wonderful. After softly spoken words the music turns into 24-carat Neo-prog, again with strong hints from early Marillion. The sound in the first part is between mellow with dreamy piano and vocals and bombastic with orchestral keyboards, synthesizer flights, howling guitar and emotional vocals. In the second part the music turns from tender piano and vocals gradually into more lush and powerful, with sparkling piano and moving guitar work, culminating in a sumptuous end featuring expressive vocals and an ominous climate, very dramatic, like a rock opera, how exciting!

Incredible how this Polish band has matured during the years, I am very impressed, highly recommended!

**** Erik Neuteboom (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)

Where to buy?

All Rights Reserved Background Magazine 2023