Divine Element is the brainchild of two musicians from the south-eastern reaches of Europe. Formed in Athens but now based between Athens and Budapest, the duo consists of multi-instrumentalist Ayloss (Spectral Lore) and vocalist/bassist Alchemist. Featuring some session members who have ties to Obscura and Necrophagist, handling the drums, you can see this is a tightly oiled machine right here. With one full length and E.P under their belt already, ‘Thaurachs Of Borsu’ is the continuation of their musical legacy and the ambitious foundation for a series of conceptual themed albums based in a medieval fantasy world. With elements of death, folk, power and touches of symphonic and black metal in it, let’s see if this world is worth getting into.
As mentioned above, there are a variety of musical styles incorporated into this release and you can easily pick them up. The album features some instrumental tracks which act more as refrains or extended intro/outro tracks (which as you know are a pet hate of mine if they flow in or out of the song before/after them flawlessly!) and these show the more symphonic side to the band. With folk-like melodies coursing through them, bold synths and heavy atmospheric emphasis, the tracks do work well in setting the scene, but it is the actual tracks which do the main damage.
Titular track “Thaurachs Of Borsu” screams out melodic death metal, practically showing the influence of the early Dark Tranquility in its attack but combining that with the fuller feel and atmospheric augmentation Insomnium usually bring to the fold. Meaty growled vocals which have a commanding presence dictate the musical assault and the riffs which are sharp and delivered with minimal fuss do their job, carrying the melodic and intense qualities of melodic death metal and even slipping into a pseudo-black metal feel with the whole synth/tremolo picking approach.
The album starts strong and keeps it up. “Onto The Trail of Betrayal” and “Beyond This Sea” continue on with the hard hitting distortion attack. Blending some atonal melodies to add a heavier edge in places and powerful groove laden sections, they hammer away hard. The tracks also feature some great atmospheric dictation. Gradual build ups of symphonic nature and gentler comedowns which actually blend well and don’t derail the musical current all tie in together to keep this an enjoyable listening experience which helps bring to life the world the album is trying to show us.
The second part of the album has more of a war-like edge to it in terms of the lyrics and feel. Conjuring up the images of armies marching to war, clashing of knights and warriors and huge levels of intensity, it brings to the front the stylings and influences of Amon Amarth (yawn!), Turisas and to some extent Sabaton (More war theme than musical edge). The final trio of tracks really bring the combative feel and nature of the melodic death metal to the forefront. The growled vocals with their commanding presence really shine in this setting and the rhythmic thunder of the riffs, bass and drums hammers away, bringing plenty of headbanging moments and metallic fury. The synth augmentation is spot on here too, helping to add tension, moments of anticipation and grandeur where relevant. Overall, it sounds tight and does the job well.
Whilst it does sound solid, tightly delivered and furiously heavy, it does feel very predictable in places and can be a bit bland at times, things which may deter the casual listener… But that is a common problem for music in this theme. Small problems aside, it does hit hard and with fire in its blade when it strikes. Definitely one for fans of melodic death metal and those who like their metal with some flair and traditional elements to it.