Veteran doom crew Pale Divine break a six year silence with this new, self titled LP. The Pennsylvania based band continue to remain true to their classic doom roots and the genre picking up where 2012’s “Painted Windows Black” left off. While having existed for over 20 years, their recorded output has been reasonably sparse, although this is a band where quality, not quantity is the main concern.
The one-two punch of opening tracks “Spinning Wheel” and “Bleeding Soul” lay solid foundations. The Black Sabbath and Saint Vitus influence is there but completely stamped with the band’s own DNA. Revved up riffs lurk and grind with an almost imperious air. Hard hitting John Bonham-esque drumming provides the requisite punch to the sternum. There’s nothing one-dimensional with plenty of groove thrown into mix that combines an Orange Goblin ferocity with the slinkiness of Clutch, best found on “Chemical Decline”. One of the strengths of this album is while there is doom at its core, the band push the genre into many corners. The funereal paced opening bars of “So Low” slip down into an oozing, evil blues rocker. The vocals from Greg Diener are full of soul with a pleaded delivery completely in keeping with the mood of the track. Fat, thumping bass keeps the mood rolling along on what is like a trip back into an early 70’s haze. Similarly on “Shades Of Blue” where squeals of feedback set up a slab of heaviness and a searing guitar break on a slow burning number that is simply satisfying.
Pale Divine are very much a sum of their parts with each band member flexing their muscles to create a wholeness. The neck snapping intensity of “Silver Tongues” before closing track “Ship Of Fools” are a reminder of the days when when hard rock and heavy metal dinosaurs ruled the world. Lashings of heaviness are delivered here with an iron gloved fist that satisfyingly fades with the simple thought of “oh yeah”.
Pale Divine have a winner with this album. The homage paid to past masters forms the basis of an opus that stands up proudly in the band’s discography. This is classic sounding heavy metal from start to finish that displays an overwhelming and complete passion for the music.
(8/10 Johnny Zed)