By Matt Kastner
With the growing popularity of progressive and power metal in the United States, we are suddenly seeing an increasing amount of such bands. Unfortunately though, very few of them are trying anything different to actually progress or stick out from the rest. This is the case with Collusion. Hailing from sunny California, Collusion is a prog-power metal band bearing a close similarity to Sonata Arctica in sound. The only difference is Collusion is a female fronted band where as Sonata isn’t. Having released just a short demo and a four song EP in only a year, this band is on the fast track to stardom.
First, I was treated with listening to their demo; which contains the songs “Failure” and “Impossible.” Considering that it’s a demo, the sound quality is actually really good and is not one of those home produced demos on a 4-track tape that sound like crap. “Failure” is a good start to what seems to be a promising career for this band. It starts out with the typical bombastic power metal intro and progresses from there. We’re not even two minutes into the song and we’re already given a first instrumental break where guitarist Xander Snyder showcases his shredding skills. They bear a striking resemblance to Alexie Laiho of Children of Bodom and Jani Liimatainen of Sonata Arctica. Melanya Torosyan’s vocals are unique for a female-fronted band considering the low pitch in her voice; especially in this day and age where female fronted bands are dominated by either an operatic voice, an extremely high pitched voice or (in the case of Nightwish) both. The only complaint about this song I have is that the middle section could have been shortened up as it seems almost like the band tried to copy Symphony X or Dream Theater and have a song where there’s an instrumental show off contest in the middle. Not a bad song overall though. Next is the ballad “Impossible.” This is a melodically driven song and it helps to set the mood perfectly. The guitar kicks in once the chorus starts and then it goes into a short solo. The solo starts out perfectly, but then is killed with a short shred thrown in there in typical power metal fashion. So far though, this is a promising first outing.
After the demo, there’s the four song EP titled Two. The songs here are “Two,” “False God,” “Orbit” and “Lost.” The EP starts with the bombastic power metal intro yet again. The biggest difference is that there’s more of a synth/keyboard presence in this than there was in the demo. The only problem is that as soon as the rest of the band starts playing, it seems like the keys are suddenly given the backdoor and are very, very low in the mix. This is a band that just screams “orchestral,” and so far, they have yet to utilize that. Another thing is that there’s really no guitar solo that doesn’t have shredding in it in some way. Not that I’m anti-shred, it’s just that it’s overdone to death in today’s music scene. There’s parts where the song is moving along perfectly and the guitar solo starts very soothing and melodically, but then the shredding starts and it kills the mood that was just set. This is most noticeable in the song “Orbit.” Again, though, we do have a very good performance from Melanya’s vocals.
Considering Collusion has only been around for a year, there is still much room for them to progress. So far, they seem like they’re still experimenting with their sound so they can utilize it to its full potential, and believe me, there’s a ton of potential in this band. If they can utilize the keyboards a little more and cut down on the shred fests a little bit, they’ve got nothing to worry about. The musicianship in the band is very good and there’s only room for improvement. Give them a few years to develop and they’ll shine.