Allen Olzon – Army Of Dreamers

Army Of Dreamers Album Cover Art

Allen Olzon – Army Of Dreamers
Frontiers Music s.r.l.
Release Date: 09/09/22
Running Time: 53:08
Review by Simon Black

Another day, another Frontiers Supergroup project… This one sees Symphony X’s Russell Allen reunited with former Nightwish singer Anette Olzon with the musical side of things being led by Primal Fear’s Magnus Karlsson, but to be honest all three are old hands at these Frontiers collaborations and this time the line-up is completed by session drummer Anders Köllerfors. 

Now although Allen remains one of my favourite powerhouse vocalists, because his range of delivery styles is so broad, my personal preference is when he’s either gruffly belting it out on the later offerings from Symphony X, or doubled up and scaling the heights more cleanly with the gruffer but equally forceful Jørn Lande. Or indeed during those moments when both the aggression and the scales counterbalance both perfectly in his delivery (such as the fantastic Symphony X opus “Underworld”). Allen’s also as loud as all the demonic legions of hell without any amplification, so with the more delicate tones of Olzen in contrast in this instance his delivery approach is much softer and subtle than I expected. 

Olzon for me is a slightly different kettle of fish. I was never convinced that she was the right choice during her brief tenure in Nightwish, as she’s a far more subtle and delicate vocalist than is the norm amongst female Metal vocalists, but I have been pleasantly surprised with her performance here, as she more than holds her own against Allen – even if he’s pulling some of his punches. I guess the intention is not to drown her out and he’s more than capable of showing a softer and more subtle approach, but equally a more direct contrast can be highly effective, but in some of the songs here it’s actually Olzen who’s delivering the suckerpunch.

Where I struggle with the album in general is that despite some lovely vocal delivery, the unexpected counter-switching in styles from the two leads and some great guitar work from the ever-reliable Karlsson, the album is let down somewhat by the song-writing. This happens a lot on Frontiers projects from the Italian studio end of things in particular, due to the sheer volume flowing through the studio and the relatively small group of session producer and musicians collaborating with multiple projects in parallel, but with this project having more Swedish roots, Swedish production and given the pedigree of its contributors, I expected better, or at least more consistently better. 

It has its moments, ‘Out of Nowhere’ is a strong piece of work and the anthemic ‘All Alone’ works really well, but we’re over halfway through before the latter emerges, and the attention deficit generation of today will have moved on by then. To be fair there’s more minor gems tucked away in this latter half – ‘Look At Me’, is enjoyable, if a little obvious; the Symphonic lighter-waver ‘I Am Gone’ works with the two singers bouncing verse lines off each other, to a catchy Melo-Metal chorus and the lengthier and meatier closer ‘Never To Late’ unfortunately proves that it is, despite being one of the more well-crafted pieces here. I like the unexpected role-switching of the two vocalists, but they need stronger songs to springboard off of them, and sadly there was only an EP’s worth of those here, not a full album. 

‘So Quiet Here’ Official Audio

01. Army Of Dreamers
02. So Quiet Here
03. Out Of Nowhere
04. A Million Skies
05. Carved Into Stone
06. All Alone
07. Look At Me
08. Until It’s Over
09. I Am Gone
10. Are We Really Strangers
11. Never Too Late

Vocals – Russell Allen, Anette Olzon
Guitars, Bass & Keyboards – Magnus Karlsson
Drums – Anders Köllerfors


Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Simon Black and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Leave a Reply