Collective Soul - Blood

by Zane Ewton

Across 25 years and 10 studio albums, Collective Soul has forged a career that includes some compelling detours and some unfortunate missteps with trend chasing, but they a11lways come out the other side with a firm grasp on the three things that make them a great rock band: big guitar riffs, undeniable melodies and E. Roland's unmistakable voice.

The band has also been willing to age gracefully without losing its urgency - a fact on full display with the new album Blood. Look to the band's tour this year as evidence of how invested they are in the new stuff. How many band's 25 years in are playing half of the new album on tour. They are playing these songs because they are solid songs that stand up beside all the old favorites.

First single "Right as Rain" has the bright hook and singalong chorus Roland seems to write in his sleep. "Them Blues" is a pleasant surprise with its slow burn piano building into a heavy ballad - a reminder Roland continues to have surprises up his sleeve as a composer.

Blood leans more toward the rock than the hit-seeking ballads that sometimes punctuate a Collective Soul record. It's a welcome reprieve when compared to the band's contemporaries who can often be found slogging through just the hits of the good old days or doing a boring covers record.

Instead, Collective Soul is crafting vibrant songs like "Good Place to Start" and "Observation of Thoughts" or riff-driven snarls like "Now's the Time"

Tommy Shaw of Styx guests on album closer (and standout) "Porch Swing," playing some dobro and adding some background vocals. It's likely more of a friendly hat tip between friends than anything else.

It's tough to discount a rock band, 25 years into the game, still making records as confident, consistent and simply rocking as Collective Soul has made with Blood.

Collective Soul - Blood

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