Well, it's only January, but Divinefire is officially setting the bar for
all the rest of the bands out there to follow in 2005. I received this album in the mail at the same time
as the new Crimson Moonlight and even though I'm a bigger fan of black and death metal, I must be honest and say that this
album is every bit as good as the CM disc.
Divinefire is comprised of Christian Rivel (Narnia, Wisdom Call, Audiovision), Jani Stefanovic
(Renascent, ex-Crimson Moonlight, Am I Blood, Sins of Omission), and Andreas Olsson (Narnia, Stormwind, Wisdom Call).
And if those members weren't enough the guest members on this album will have you even more excited. They include Eric
Clayton (Saviour Machine), Carl Johan Grimmark (Narnia), Fredrik
Sjöholm & Torbjörn Weinesjö (Veni Domine), Hubertus Liljegren (Crimson Moonlight), Pontus Norgren (Talisman, Great
King Rat), and Thomas Vikström (Brazen Abbot, Candlemass)! As expected, the album is being released on Rivel Records,
but will also be released by King Records (Iron Savior, Death Angel, Kamelot, etc.) in Japan.
With all of those big names, the record deals, and all the hype you'd think that this would
be setting the band up for a big failure. Well, the opposite is definitely true as this album is the way that metal
was always supposed to be. Divinefire lands in the power/speed genre mostly, but labeling this band as such does
them no justice. From the intro to the outro and everything in-between this album is top notch metal that just can't
be dismissed as anything less than brilliant. I've heard a few people claiming that this album wasn't as good as they
thought it would be and that Christian Rivel's other new band, Audiovision, is way better. While Audiovision is very
good, this disc blows it away and then some. This disc has everything a metal fan loves...aggression, passion,
depth, variety....you name it. Fans of bands like Narnia, Veni Domine, Wisdom Call, and maybe even Renascent
will be giddy upon hearing this band.
I'm not going to do a song by song review as I'd be here for days, but trust me, this is fabulous
stuff. The soothing intro and outro with Eric Clayton reading scripture in his haunting deep voice perfectly gift
wrap the raging metal within. The guitars on this album are brutal, full, and magnificently played. The riffs
are explosive and add to that all the killer solos (see the song "Out of the Darkness" for a kick butt jam session mid song
with some sweet soloing), and you've started to set the stage. The keyboards are many on this disc, but for those that
are scared of metal bands in this genre and their over-indulgence on cheesy keyboards...fear not. This band
uses keyboards to their advantage big time and every note is placed perfectly within each song. They, along with the
band Sympathy, probably use keyboards to help their music better than just about any bands out there. The
drumming on this disc is flat out awesome. Jani is a double bass madman and the drum sound is excellent.
And the vocals...this easily the finest vocal performance that Christian Rivel has ever pulled off. His vocals
are passionate and powerful and make you totally convinced that he believes what he is singing. Mix in a few growls
from Hubertus of Crimson Moonlight and some spoken and background vocals by Eric Clayton and Fredrik Sjöholm and
you've got a great vocal attack.
For the most part, this album is nothing but blistering metal save for the intro and outro.
The band does one ballad mid-album, but it is easily one of the best ballads I've heard in years. I usually skip ballads,
but this one is good enough to be repeat material. And as far as best songs go...ummm...good luck trying to
narrow it down to one or two. Every song is my favorite...no filler at all.
Production on the album is top quality and the artwork is also very eye-appealing. The
band spared nothing on any aspect of this disc. The lyrics are also really good. While they are not extremely
complex, they are bold and to the point without being cliche or lame. Divinefire holds the banner of Jesus Christ
high and waves it without shame.
If you like your metal very aggressive and full of passion and feeling, Divinefire will
satisfy on all fronts. Heavy metal albums don't get much closer to perfection than this release. And I can
hear it now...oh, that guy from The Whipping Post is full of it and this album will never live up to the hype he's giving
it. Well, believe what you want, but I stand behind what I'm saying in this review 100%. This disc is to
2005 what Antestor's The Forsaken was to 2004. What excites me even more is that this super group is already
planning on a second album! Start saving your pennies now!
I'll leave you with one of the lines from the song "Never Surrender" that seems to sum
up the emotion and drive behind this album..."Time is short. Am I prepared to leave this world behind?"
(Review by Matt)