Review Summary: Not bothered by religious lyrics? Like your power metal fast, aggressive and unrelenting, with a healthy does of cheese? Check this out, then.This is a review of the Japanese release
"We rock! We will never stop, with passion and fire!"
. The preceding statement is a direct lyrical quote from the song Passion & Fire
, and other than the line which follows it, "we rock for the king"
, it's the most hilariously autobiographical line on the album.
The reason this instantly hits me is because it's explicitly true. DivineFire does in fact rock, and they will seemingly never stop. Into A New Dimension
, the bands third release in just as many years, proves the band can turn out albums at an impressive rate. What's really mind-numbing is the music seems to be improving on every album, and though it's by a thin line, their third release is definitely their best. Passion & Fire
is autobiographical for another reason, though, one that'll definitely turn a lot of people off the band. When they say we rock for the king
, they're referring to his Holiness, the King of the Jews, King of Heaven, King of the Skies, King of…you get the point. To be frank (Tyler), they're a Christian metal band. To be even more frank (Tyler), they're a Christian Power Metal band. This tells you two things; they're cheesy and they're not about to hide it, not that they'd really be able to.
The notion of them being a Christian power metal band isn't as indicative of their sound as you'd think, though. Shi
t, wait; while we're here, let's add another useful tag to that growing genre. They're actually a symphonic Christian power metal band. Actually, you know what, let's add another; Christian symphonic melo-death power metal. Nevermind, that sounds silly....
....Anyways, back on topic. As I was saying, the idea of a Christian [symphonic] power [melodic death] metal band isn't as indicative as you'd think. DivineFire are a unique entity to both the Christian and power labels, the reason for this being their interesting use of both Gothenburg inspired guitars and vocals. While the synthesized symphonics and frequent use of choir vocals remind the listener of Symphony of Enchanted Lands
-era Rhapsody (of Fire)
, the crunchy guitars add a more menacing feel to the music. Those expecting a Rhapsody (of Fire!) replica will be half-impressed. Christian, who by the way has the most genre-convenient names in recent memory, does not sound much like Fabio Lione. He's a little angrier, and likes to occasionally let out Halford-like squeals. He's also, in my opinion, a much more interesting singer. His style is slightly operatic, and has improved consistently on each release, but never does it seem as over-emphasized and forced as Fabio's. Alive
, for example, kicks off with a choir being used instrumentally until Christian kicks in sounding like a slightly more worn version of himself, until 40 seconds in when the song turns to a chunky alternation of excellent clean-harmonies, deep gutturals and a playful use of symphonics.
The album is a comprehensive display of contrast, and that's why I think it's so effective. They've got a heavy dose of cheese, don't get me wrong, but the chunky guitars and speedy (and at times) thrashy drumming add a nice dynamic, not to mention the surprisingly violent harsh vocals. I realize harsh vocals are always violent, you just would not expect it on this type of album, and it's what sets these guys apart. While yes, they make no secret of their religion, it won't really be an issue unless you make it one. They've managed to defy a typically wimpy typecast by being a mostly unrelenting Christian [symphonic] power metal band, and to be frank (Tyler) once again, they're doing a damn good job at it. Did I say damn? I meant darn.
Anyways, if you can get past the Christian lyrics and the healthy dose of cheese, which really isn't as aged as that of Rhapsody (OF FIRE) then this is your thing, assuming of course you like your power metal fast, symphonic, melodic and uncompromising. With a sound that varies between euro-power metal, melodic death with a side dish of Queen
influenced vocal harmonies (they covered Queen's The Show Must Go On
on their previous release), DivineFire has really continued their moderate evolution on the right path. Where their debut, Glory Thy Name
would be a 3.2, their follow up Hero
is a 3.3. I'm glad to say that with Into a New Dimension
, DivineFire has worked their way up to a steady 3.5, and hopefully with their next release they'll keep the progress coming.
This isn't to say the album is without flaw, though. While it's an step from their previous two releases, it doesn't bring much of anything new to the table. Sometimes, the choir is used much too similarly and the awkward track list, which features three oddly placed Japanese bonus tracks (7, 11 and 12 respectively), is well, bizarre. And, on the issue, the twelfth track, the aptly titled Special Message To Japan
is something that would have been much more suited to say, a website. To be honest, it's totally ridiculous and kills everything the album set up; Jani Stefanovic, for instance, is clearly reading off a sheet of paper, while Christian Rivel comes off like a painfully effeminate (or European) version of Eric Adams, with the excruciatingly lame plea to bring the "Divine Metal" to the people of Japan once more.
Lame bonus track aside, this is definitely a strong album, one I'd highly recommend to anyone willing to come into this band with no pre-conceived notions. You'll be pleasantly surprised, unless of course you've heard their previous material. Then you'll just notice the consistent improvement.