Finally, Olaf Thörsen is releasing his long awaited “Return To Heaven Denied II” album. Alright, I’m not fooling anyone here, and it would be a too easy comparison to make, but the first feeling I had when I listened to “Stream Of Consciousness” was “Well, Thörsen finally got is song writing skills back in high shape”.
While the first album of VISION DIVINE was a good Power Metal entertainment, the second CD was for me just another boring Power Metal release. With this third album, with a band that is no more a solo project, but Thörsen’s own band, I fairly think that “Stream Of Consciousness” is really the “first” release of VISION DIVINE as real band. But in my humble opinion, what makes Thörsen’s new music better is the contribution in song writing of renowned ex-ELDRITCH keyboardist, Oleg Smirnoff. The great guitar tone of Thörsen couple to the spacey and electronic keyboard sound of Smirnoff make the music really special and unique sounding for a Prog/Power Metal album. Also, the vocals of Michele Luppi (replacing Fabio Leone – who has although written some vocal lines too) are also quite unique and not too high pitched. In fact, he has nice pleasant mid-range but yet powerful voice. And he is not afraid of melodies. He has writing some of his vocal lines, and it shows some interesting talent, and great sense of melody.
So those of you who would be afraid of getting yet just another Power Metal band fear not; Forget the first and second album of VISION DIVINE; like I said before, they have become a truly unique band, and now on we can say that we have two good bands that were once created by Olaf Thörsen: LABYRINTH and VISION DIVINE. “Stream Of Consciousness” is a concept album, each songs divided in chapters, that flows quite easily, one to another. All in all, with this new album, you’ll get incredible riffing and soloing from Thörsen, a chance to hear again the fantastic keyboard work of Oleg Smirnoff, you’ll discover a new powerful singer that will make his mark in the Power Metal work. Let’s not forget the bass work of Andrea “Tower” Torricini (SHADOWS OF STEEL), wich with his progressive playing, and a new flavour to this type of power metal, instead of just following the lead riff of the song. Finally, drumming his top notch yet again, but I would have prefer the drummer to take more risks, to sound more “Progressive” in a way, but that is just a minor complain. All this mastered at the more than renowned New Sin Studio.
On this album you’ll with get everything a Power and Prog Metal fan wants: from speedy Power Metal on “The Secret Of Life”, to the “TIME MACHINE and SHADOW GALLERY” type of Progressive Metal on “The Fallen Feather”, Thörsen simply managed to write some diverse and varied music, to keep the listener always waiting and wanting for more, which is for me really important when it comes to make a concept album.
I sure hope to have the chance to meet Olaf Thörsen in person, or that he will read this review, as I’m in the obligation to personally excuse myself of bad mouthing him in the past, during the “Sons Of Thunder” era; I’m more than happy than despite the adversity, he decided to continue writing music, as with this attitude, he has conquered again his Italian Power Metal throne! (Online June 9, 2004)