It is one of the best things of writing for “The Metal Observer” (ok, owning it) to get CDs from bands you had never ever heard of before and discover that they are far more than you would have thought they would be. SHADOWDIVINE are one of those bands hailing out of Sweden and they actually unite a few musicians known from other bands already: Anders Gustafsson from WEB OF WYRD, Peter Haga from BLACK ROSE and Fredrik Andersson from THE SAVAGES, so talk about newcomers is not exactly correct.
Now WEB OF WYRD is/was a mix of Black, Folk and Power Metal, BLACK ROSE standing firmly rooted in traditional Hard Rock and THE SAVAGES playing STOOGES-like Rock, which leads to a baffled look at the CD, when the first sounds of SHADOWDIVINE come through the speakers. Because if you disregard the intro “The Gate”, “Seven Steps Of Hell” surprises with Power/Thrash riffing and mid-pitched, powerful vocals, surprisingly aggressive and heavy, but all the while maintaining a very melodic and catchy edge, which from the get-go lures myself into the grasp of the Swedish trio.
But it gets better still with “Inner Sanctum”, where the song itself straddles the ledge between aggressive heaviness and great melodies, but culminates in a super melodic bridge and chorus, which elevates the whole thing quite high above the usual standard we get from bands in their early (and often also later) stages. “In Vain” is very varied in both tempo and intensity and fully convinces as well!
The production is crisp and clear, especially the guitar sound has a very heavy edge and the often semi-aggressive vocal approach adds to the overall atmosphere of the CD, which unfortunately ends after a mere 28 minutes, leaving me hunger for more, so hopefully a label will do the right thing and snatch these Swedes up, so we will soon receive more musical highflyers such as these!
(Online November 9, 2006)