It’s almost 4 years to the day that I had the unreserved pleasure of reviewing Divine Ascension’s previous release “Liberator”, and damn fine piece of Symphonic Metal it was too. Four years is a long time between releases and although the band have been playing gigs with the likes of Blind Guardian and enjoying a lengthy tour of Europe with Stratovarius and Gloryhammer, they have also, it appears on the evidence here, been taking the time to refine their already impressive sound.
Continuing the stance the band made on “Liberator”, they have not only nurtured the Progressive and Power metal sides of their Symphonic Metal delivery, they have also taken great care to make sure that there is plenty to hook onto in the vocal department as well as musically. Happily (for me anyway) the choruses aren’t blatant or obvious, they have a more subtle catchiness that follows on perfectly from a verse or bridge, rather than the default setting of Symphonic Metal bands who…build…and build…then here…iiiiss (dun-dun-dipidy-duuuuhhhn…) THE CHOOOORUUUUUSSS! I’m sure fans of the genre will know what I mean. Also like the previous album, the music and vocals are one, each seems to shape the other, there is a lot of effort that goes into intelligent arrangement on a Divine Ascension release.
Divine Ascension have plenty in common with Triosphere, Delain and Revamp (now THERE is a 4 band bill I would love to see!) and fans of any of those bands will thoroughly enjoy Divine Ascension, but they also push forward their own individual sound. The intricate progressive touches along with the combination of their innovative rhythm section, varied guitar-lines, exuberant keyboards and stunning vocals all blend together to give the band an individual identity and sound that is undoubtedly their own. I also notice that with a singer called Jennifer Borg the band’s CD artwork has finally bowed to an inter-galactic sci-fi theme, it had to be done, and I’m sure 7 of 9 would be proud.
This is an album of very high professionalism. It has a cohesion and a continuity that shows care has been taken to not only arrange the individual songs, but also the order they are presented – it takes the listener on a journey rather than just throws 10 random songs at them. Just as the songs grow with every listen, this is a band who are also growing with every release. As proved on that recent European tour, not content to be one of Australia’s top Symphonic Metal bands, they are ready to impress the rest of the world.
(8.5/10 Andy Barker)