Review Summary: On Divine Winds is a decent death metal album, nothing more, nothing lessOn Divine Winds
is a death metal album that compositionally meets all the requirements, but it doesn't offer anything new. It has all the basic qualities of death metal, but on the negative side, besides Martin van Drunen’s vocal performance, there is nothing to set the record apart from other standard death metal albums. On Divine Winds
is death metal in its purest, but also in its most casual form.
The one genuinely original thing about this record, as said, lies in the vocals of Drunen. His style sounds like a mishmash of screaming and gutturals, presented in a truly ominous way. At times he sounds like a tortured warprisoner, and at others, he reminds me of a screaming general who has either smoked way too much, or has had a bullet fly through his throat at some time in the past. The small downside to Drunen’s vox is that, though original, they do become somewhat tiring by the end of the record, and he doesn't vary them up either (the latter is not a distinct minus though, as we are dealing with death metal after all).
As for the rest of the record and its components, everything is decent, but nothing more. Practically every song on the album has the same structure and sound: The songs usually open up with a semi-groovy death metal riff and then quickly transition into medium-paced, downtuned stompers, with a slow lead raising head every now and then. The leads are pretty interesting and when there are solos they work very well, but a little bit more experimentation, soloing or just plain old time signatures would have been great, since the album does start to drag a little about 2/3 through. The main reason for this is the aforementioned lack of change in overall sound. Most of the songs just melt together into a long, but ultimately derivative track, since there is basically nothing to set them apart from eachother, unless you are keeping a constant eye on the tracklist. And even though I do appreciate the crunchy, downtuned guitar tone and the doom influences present, the rhythms still sound rather tired at times, thus making some parts of the album underwhelming.
On Divine Winds
sure is one consistent album, but it's consistently decent, and nothing more. It is a good record that has solid, if somewhat restrained musicianship, and an overall sound that, while pretty strong at its core, is sadly too invariant to make a very big impact. The drums are pulsating, but I feel like the patterns could be more complex; the riffs are "nice", but they lack the surprise and "wow" factors; the mixing is well done in the sense that it is very balanced, yet it also doesn’t help to highlight anything, thus making the album feel a bit one-dimensional. With that in mind, I can recommend this album for people who just want to listen to some good but casual death metal with war themed (more specifically, Pacific War themed) lyrics. If that is the kind of music that gets you off, On Divine Winds
would be a solid addition to your collection, but there is better death metal out there from this year.