Holy smokes, what is this? DIVINEFIRE? Never heard of… Another incarnation of NARNIA fronter Christian Rivel, but so different from what I had expected from him. OK, the intro with keyboards and spoken word (an excerpt from the Book of Revelations) is nothing that different, but right after “The World’s On Fire” unleashes an at first bombastic and then pretty darn heavy Power Metal breaker that grazes thrashy regions and then even includes some growls by Hubertus Liljegren, heavy, bombastic, melodic, with strong vocals, this is how RHAPSOSY on Thrash could sound, or something like that…
Yes, Christian is supported by guitarist/keyboarder/drummer Jani Stefanovic (AM I BLOOD) and bassist Andreas Olsson, on top of that he also gathered a whole army of guest musicians: NARNIA’s Carl Johan Grimmark, Fredrik Sjöholm and Torbjörn Weinesjö (both VENI DOMINE), Eric Clayton (SAVIOUR MACHINE), Hubertus Liljegren (CRIMSON MOONLIGHT) and Thomas Vikström (TALK OF THE TOWN, Ex-CANDLEMASS), quite impressive, eh?
So it is Power Metal that DIVINEFIRE offer to the Metal community here, with a few RHAPSODY influences in the bombast, but at least two gears heavier and with just great arrangements (don’t get me wrong, I love RHAPSODY, too!), as the layered chorus of “Never Surrender”, embedded in a powerful song that is driven by heavy guitars and tight drums, with the playful and epic keyboards forming a very good contrast, absolutely great double! And it continues like that, “The Sign“ is underlaid with double-bass, yet still mid-paced, crowned by a super catchy chorus, which finds its way into your ear right away, great!
But DIVINEFIRE do not only march straight ahead, but also master the art of measure, “Pay It Forward“ is a brilliant ballad that steers clear of kitsch, despite the quite extensive use of keyboards, before they erect a true epos with “The Spirit“, ten minutes, with Christian Rivel, Hubertus Liljegren, Eric Clayton and Fredrik Sjöholm, so four singers, epic, variable, strong!
After having observed Christian in several projects and bands now, I have to say that DIVINEFIRE have created the so far heaviest and most varied album, which masterfully combines bombast and heaviness and shows, where RHAPSODY could stand with a big increase in heaviness. I really hope that “Glory Thy Name“ is not a one off thing, but that there is more to come, because this is strong, damn strong! (Online August 13, 2005)