DIVINER - Realms of Time
In a world where metal bands are a dime a dozen it feels, it is rare to find a new band that stands out of the crowd, but that is what I found in 2015 when I discovered the sound of Diviner. When I first received a review copy of their Fallen Realms album, I admit, I quickly glossed over it and moved on thinking it to be yet another euro-power metal band, so after a very brief listen, I placed it in my playlist to revisit later.
Weeks later I revisited it, and then couldn’t stop listening. Wow! Who was this new band from Greece with this powerhouse sound, and wow again for this stand-out vocal performance by Yiannis Papanikolaou. I was sold!
I find it hard to believe that it has been four years since that release, as I still frequently play that album to this day. So, imagine the excitement when I got word of the forthcoming new record to be released in June. I pre-ordered the vinyl immediately, let’s just say that. Then, once the review tracks hit my system, I jumped right in.
Now, there is always that fear though, that when a band has an amazing first release, the follow up may end up being a real let-down in some way. So, as I hovered my finger over the play button, there was that thought lingering for a moment. PLAY!
BOOM!! Oh, my goodness, is it possible? Upon the opening riff, I started thinking – “This is even more amazing!” The power, intensity and tightness hit you like a freight train.
If you’ve not heard of the band already after their first release, here is the scoop from my side of things. Solid, driving metal is what we are served up here, with a vocalist that is not a syrupy melodic crooner (though I love those types), but likewise not a nu-metal/modern metal screamer/shouter type (I like those too). This is top notch traditional metal with a bit more edge.
The vocal style reminds me of…and yeah, I hate to say this and know it can be over used…but it does have some characteristics of the likes of Ronnie James Dio; somewhat melodic, yet enough grit to give it a seriously aggressive and powerful feel. Musically at times these guys have an almost thrash-like feel with their fast, precise riffing and the intense chugging from guitarists George Maroulees and Kostas Fitos. I can’t wait to feel this power and deep end when I get the vinyl release.
As mentioned, when I gave the band a quick listen early on with album one, I figured they’d be just another power metal outfit of constant double bass drumming and very little dynamics throughout for the other instruments. I was wrong! And while this band may have the intensity found in that genre, the dynamics and changes throughout their tracks keep it interesting. The bottom end of bassist Herc Booze added to the never boring drumming excellence of Fragiskos Samoilis lay a most necessary foundation for all of the layers of goodness found here. Can you tell I like these guys?
I have to give a shout out and many thanks to Ulterium Records for so many amazing bands they bring us from outside the US. I am rarely let down by a band on their roster, but have to say, they have hit a major grand slam with Diviner.
There are connections and history with members of this Diviner and fellow Athens, Greece band Inner Wish (also on Ulterium), and I have enjoyed them, too, for many years now; but this new project stands out as fresh, and above and beyond the joys experienced with Inner Wish. While I wouldn’t want to place either band in a box with the hard-coded label of “Christian band,” there is positive spiritual and biblical lyrics contained throughout, so if not Christian outright, it is very Christian-friendly, as are most all bands coming from the Ulterium roster.
Check out the first singles released, and you be the judge. For me, there is no question about it, Diviner’s Realms of Time is in my top-five favorite releases of 2019 so far (I’ve even used a portion of the opening track as bumper music on my YouTube videos). (Ulterium Records)