|Musical Style: Symphonic Power Metal||Produced By: Divinefire|
|Record Label: Rivel||Country Of Origin: Sweden & Finland|
|Year Released: 2005||Artist Website: Divinefire|
|Tracks: 9||Rating: 90%|
|Running Time: 42:41|
I would advise anyone who purchases the full length debut of Divinefire, Glory Thy Name, to remove the CD from its packaging slowly and carefully before listening to it for the first time. Why? Because what you are holding in your hands is potentially the album of the year. Put together in the spring of 2004 by Swedish vocalist Christian Rivel (Narnia) and Finnish songwriter and multi-talented musician Jani Stefanovic (Renascent, Sins Of Omission), Divinefire can best described as epic symphonic power metal combining elements of both the melodic and the extreme.
The sound of Divinefire is built upon a foundation of Stefanovic's rapid double bass and the steady bass lines of Andreas Olsson (Narnia, Harmony). Stefanovic expands upon this base with an abundance of edgy rhythm guitar and combines it with the well executed lead guitar work of Torbjorn Weinesjo (Veni Domine), Pontus Norgren (Talisman), and Carl Johan Grimmark (Narnia). Stefanovic, furthermore, accentuates the instrumentation with just the right amount of touch on keyboards. In bringing his trademark crystal clear and smooth sounding vocal style to the project, lead vocalist Christian Rivel puts in one of the strongest performances of his career. Fredrick Sjoholm (Veni Domine) makes a guest appearance on lead vocals on two tracks, while Eric Clayton (Saviour Machine) furnishes narration on three others.
The production values to Glory Thy Name are huge and exquisite in allowing for just the right amount of refinement. A near flawless amalgamation of rhythm guitar and keyboards stands alongside a clean mix of lead guitar. The drums, particularly the double bass, are produced to perfection.
The albums colorful and eye catching artwork is taken from Revelation 21:1.
Album opener "From Death To Life" gives prominence to a slight Saviour Machine feel as orchestration slowly carries it from front to back. After a whispered voice states "From death to life", drums stand in support of Eric Clayton as he provides narration from Revelation 1:17-18.
Introduced to a symphonic combination of rhythm guitar and keyboards, "The Worlds On Fire" picks up in pace before an aggressively delivered riff drives its first verse in hard hitting fashion. The song builds in momentum as rapid double bass enters the mix in time to back Hubertus Liljegren's (Crimson Moonlight) growling vocals and the epic flavored chorus that follows. Grimmark's fiery lead guitar work brings out the best in a song touching upon the issues of salvation and the second coming:
I see the warning signs tonight
The time is running out and the Son is coming
Salvation for this broken world
The prize is paid for you
Receive the healing touch
Immediately launching into a fast paced double bass driven riff, the superlative "Never Surrender" gains a ton of energy as it advances at breakneck before culminating for a resounding chorus bolstered by operatic vocal harmonies:
I will go, I'll never stop
I will go for the top
I will go, I'll never stop
I'll never surrender
Following a minute long instrumental passage in which Norgren's lead guitar duals with Stefanovic's keyboards, "Never Surrender" slows as Rivel sums up the songs message:
I am the way
I am the truth
I am the life
I'm the key to eternity
The slowly moving mix of rhythm guitar and keyboards embarking "The Sign" gives way to a fast paced double bass driven riff upon reaching its first verse. Once the song slows upon reaching its second verse, it picks back up in pace for a chorus bolstered in an anthemic manner by double bass. "The Sign" breaks for thirty seconds of pounding drums and sweeping keyboards before Sjoholm takes over on lead vocals and sings lyrics taken from Psalm 23:1-3.
Subsequent to a predominant mix of rhythm guitar aggressively conveying "Out Of The Darkness" through its first verse, the song maintains its momentum as it smoothly advances on an energy-laden chorus backed by choir-like vocal harmonies. Norgren contributes a minute of the albums best lead guitar work. Glory Thy Name derives its title from lyrics taken from the songs chorus:
I want out of the darkness
Glory thy name
And into your light
Through fire and water
Open my eyes
Please show me what's right
A driving rhythm guitar interlaced with a bit of lead guitar gradually impels the mid-tempo paced hard rocker "Pay It Forward" from the start. While the rhythm guitar plays a reduced role in the mix during the songs first verse, it returns in time to underline a slowly moving chorus resonating a dark and heavy feel. Grimmark top things off with a minute of lead guitar work in line with the songs slower paced bluesy feel.
"Live My Life For You" gets started to an eminent mix of keyboards as the rhythm guitar bounces in and out of the mix. After Rivel twice states the songs title, it moves through its first verse at an upbeat tempo while being bolstered by vocal harmonies. A statement of faith is made during the quickly moving hook driven chorus that follows:
I'll live my life for the Holy One
The Cross has set me free
Live my life for the Holy One
Norgren tops things off with thirty seconds of blazing lead guitar work.
"The Spirit" is a ten minute epic dealing with the issues of faith and doubt. The song begins to an ominous blend of guitar and keyboards before a hard hitting riff fortifies its first verse as Rivel reflects thoughts of doubt and confusion:
Thoughts spin around in my head
I hear the voices, I'm out of control
Confusion, I can't hear the voice
I'm trapped in my cage, I can't see the light
Hubertus Liljegren returns and provides a dissenting mindset with more of his growling vocals:
Forget your inner voice
There's no one there
There is no God, Son & Holy Ghost
Believe in yourself
"The Spirit" moves immediately to a double bass driven chorus in which Rivel contradicts Liljegren by celebrating the fact that God is truly alive:
God hear my call
You've been through it all
You are still alive
True spirit of love, true spirit of life
Following a minute and a half long instrumental passage carried by Grimmark's lead guitar, "The Spirit" slows as Fredrik Sjoholm sings lyrics drawn from John 14:13-16. Eric Clayton takes over and provides narration from John 14:17-19 prior to Sjoholm closing things out by reciting from John 14:20.
Slowly moving but epic flavored orchestration underscores the brief (1:44) "The Way To Eternity" forward from the start. After a whispered voice states the songs title, Eric Clayton provides narration from John 3:16-17.
Glory Thy Name is a terrific album with an equally powerfully message: Its production values are massive; the musicianship top notch throughout; the songwriting without flaw. And the decision to combine the melodic with the extreme is nothing less than creative. That being said, the one complaint worth noting is that at only forty-two minutes the album is on the short side, and when considering its opening and closing tracks consist primarily of narration, we are left with only seven full length songs. (Please note that the Japanese version of Glory Thy Name includes a bonus track entitled "Free Like An Eagle".) While it is the quality and not necessarily the quantity that counts, I am still left with the feeling of wanting more. And that is not a bad thing, because at the time of this writing Rivel and Stefanovic have completed the songwriting for Divinefire's follow up effort, Hero, which is slated for a release later in 2005.
Track Listing: "From Death To Life" (1:48), "The World’s On Fire" (4:09), "Never Surrender" (6:03), "The Sign" (5:07), "Out Of The Darkness" (3:57), "Pay It Forward" (6:01), "Live My Life For You" (3:47), "The Spirit" (10:00), "The Way To Eternity" (1:44)
Christian Rivel – Lead Vocals
Jani Stefanovic – Guitars, Keyboards, Drums & Programming
Andreas Olsson – Bass
Torbjorn Weinesjo, Pontus Norgren & Carl Johan Grimmark – Guitars
Fredrik Sjoholm – Lead Vocals
Hubertus Liljegren – Growling Vocals
Eric Clayton – Narration
Also Reviewed: Divinefire - Hero, Divinefire - Into A New Dimension, Divinefire - Farewell, Audiovision - The Calling, Essence Of Sorrow - Reflections Of The Obscure, Flagship - Maiden Voyage, Mehida - Blood & Water, Narnia –The Great Fall, Narnia - At Short Notice, Narnia - Enter The Gate, Narnia - Decade Of Confession, Wisdom Call – Wisdom Call