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Allen Olzon - Army of Dreamers Award winner

Allen Olzon
Army of Dreamers
by Kevin Lewis at 14 November 2022, 2:17 PM

ALLEN OLZON is a wild ride of a side project featuring Russell Allen (SYMPHONY X. ADRENELINE MOB), Anette Olzon (THE DARK ELEMENT, ex-NIGHTWISH) and Magnus Karlsson, who has played with and/or written for dozens of bands. Army Of Dreamers is their second collaboration, following 2020s World’s Apart. This newest set of killer Power Metal songs was released on September 9, 2022, via Frontiers Records SRL.

The opening to the album is an epic intro with triumphant horns and keys, strings and a soundtrack feel. The main riff is heavy and really vibrant. The drum work is spectacular, using a variable foot pattern to give an interesting tempo. The bass is powerful, thundering. “Army Of Darkness” is definitely a great choice to lead off the record, establishing their dominance in the Power Metal realm.

So Quiet Here” starts with more orchestration, further cementing the ALLEN OLZON brand of Power Metal as having major Symphonic Metal elements. Both vocalists stay in their clean registers, not even throwing in much distortion, much less growls. Sticking to the cleans allows them to appeal more to the masses. Growls are not taboo anymore, but this still will have a broader general appeal. It never gets too heavy, but you do get some excellent shredding in the guitar solo, so that will please the fans of the heavier genres.

For a bit more of a Neo-Classical feel, we move on to “A Million Skies,” a track that opens with an excellent string arrangement. Russell and Anette do some of their better harmonizing on this track. You get bits of the harmonies on each track, but this one has extended lines with both voices melding together perfectly.

For a more melodic sound, “All Alone” is what you need. The guitar work is still heavy and quite good but doesn’t get to the heaviness of “Army of Dreamers.” The vocals tend to the higher end of both singers’ registers, keeping the tone a bit lighter. It’s too heavy to be a power ballad, but it is close. This is the song that makes you realize this band can go pretty much anywhere they want musically.

Closing this opus out is “Never Too Late,” another semi-power ballad. The orchestration is some of the best on the record, though all of it is good. Something in this song really hooks the ears before the vocals even start. The guitars for the main riff have a great chugging rhythm. The shifts from lighter to heavier are really well done, turning at just the right spot.

ALLEN OLZON is a lot like a finely tuned sports car and the driver knows exactly when and where to shift, brake, and coast. It’s Formula One, not NASCAR. They don’t just go fast and turn left; they power through a veritable obstacle course of twists and turns. The orchestration is tasteful, not overpowering, the guitars are incredibly well-structured, fitting into the composition perfectly, without sounding formulaic. This is how Power Metal should sound.

Songwriting:  9
Musicianship:  10
Memorability:  9
Production:  9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Army of Dreamers
2. So Quiet Here
3. Out of Nowhere
4. A Million Skies
5. Carved into Stone
6. All Alone
7. Look at Me
8. Until It's Over
9. I Am Gone
10. Are We Really Strangers
11. Never Too Late
Lineup:
Russell Allen – Vocals
Anette Olzon – Vocals
Magnus Karlsson – Guitars/Bass/Keyboards
Anders Köllerfors – Drums
Record Label: Frontiers Records SRL
     


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