Divinefire - Hero
There was just something about the previous Divinefire album, Glory Thy Name. It was almost magical! Those songs had something that drew me to them again and again. They spoke to me in a very spiritual way. They also fed my ferocious appetite for great, quality metal! Having Christian Rivel, Jani Stefanovic, and Andreas Olsson all together on the same album was quite the lineup for this new band full of talent from other well-known bands. Then they added guest appearances from Eric Clayton (Saviour Machine), Carl Johan Grimmark (Narnia), Fredrik Sjöholm & Torbjörn Weinesjö (Veni Domine), Hubertus Liljegren (Crimson Moonlight/Sanctifica), and others. It was one of the best collaborations in recent memory and it resulted in one incredible release.
Now, the band has to out-do themselves. And what a task they have before them! The main lineup remains the same, and this time the band has enlisted help from the following guests: Mikko Härkin (Wingdom, Random Eyes, ex-Sonata Arctica), Patrik Gardberg (Ammotrack), Thomas "Plec" Johansson (Unmoored), Carl Johan Grimmark (Narnia, Saviour Machine, Flagship, Rob Rock), Thomas Vikström (Seven Days, Stormwind, ex-Brazen Abbot/ex-Candlemass), Markus Sigfridsson (Harmony, Seven Days), and Maria Rådsten (One More Time). Quite the talented group and as you might have guessed...quite the amazing sequel to their debut.
Hero is another masterpiece of progressive, melodic, epic power metal. While the "magic" is somewhat different this time around due to the different group of musicians, it's magical nonetheless and it is an album that will grow on you and captivate you. The band still follows the formula of heavy guitars, machine-tight and powerful drumming with double bass to the max, soaring clean vocals mixed with a growl here and there, and huge, catchy songs that will have you singing them the rest of the day. They also continue to mix in tons of keyboards, but they are so well done and perfectly placed that even people who hate keyboards in metal should still enjoy this. Heck, they even do a great cover of the Queen song "The Show Must Go On." You know, I love Christian Rivel's numerous other bands, but I can't emphasize how much I love this band the most out of them all. And while I love Renascent too, I'm overjoyed that Jani Stefanovic chose Divinefire as the band he would stick with between the two. There is something very special about this band and I can't rave about them enough.
I think the only thing that I really don't enjoy as much on this album is the growling vocals. While Stefanovic does a solid job with them, Hubertus Liljegren is such an incredible growler and did a superior job on the last album. And of course, not having Eric Clayton involved is a disappointment, but if it means that Saviour Machine will get their next Legend disc out quicker, then I guess I won't complain too much.
As if the music wasn't breathtaking enough, the packaging is top notch again with more great artwork and tons of great band photos. And the lyrics are very solid again. They are well-written and honest, but simple enough to easily get across the bands bold message of Christ.
Divinefire has done it again! Here's hoping that the metal world takes notice, cause it would be a horrible shame if this band doesn't have a massive impact. The world has a Hero in Christ. Now the world has a Hero in the metal scene as well.
Review By: Matt Morrow
Label: Rivel Records
Total Songs: 10
Total Time: 42:28
Tracklisting: 1. Resurrection, 2. Secret Weapon, 3. Divinefire, 4. Hero, 5. United as One, 6. Leaving the Shadows, 7. Open Your Eyes, 8. New Beginning, 9. Cryptic Passages (Bonus track for Europe/USA), 10. The Show Must Go On.
Best Songs: Tracks 2 & 3
Band Lineup: Christian Rivel - Lead & Backing Vocals, Jani Stefanovic - Drums/Guitars/Growls/Keyboards/Programming, Andreas Olsson - Bass.
Band Website: http://www.divinefire.net