Vision Divine - Stream Of Consciousness
MetalBlade Records
Melodic Power / Progressive Metal
14 songs (61'57)
Release year: 2004
Vision Divine, MetalBlade Records
Reviewed by Marty
Album of the month
Vision Divine, the current band of former Labyrinth guitarist Olaf Thorsen is back with their third full length release. Their first 2 albums featured Rhapsody vocalist, Fabio Lione (who has left the band to focus entirely on Rhapsody) and showed similarities in style to the classic Italian power metal sound. Although both were fairly solid releases, they did very little to distance themselves from the pack of countless other bands playing a similar sort of metal. After a 2 year absence, Vision Divine has returned with Stream Of Consciousness, an ambitious and clever concept album that introduces us to the band's new vocalist, Michele Luppi. He's a graduate of V.I.T. in Los Angeles and is one of the best new vocalists I've heard in quite some time. His strong and melodic vocals bring warmth and emotion to every track on this album. Stream Of Consciousness is essentially one big long 60 minutes plus epic that is broken up into 14 songs or "chapters" as is the case here. The whole concept evolves around a madman in an asylum that has flashbacks while hearing a song on the radio to a time when he still had his sanity. The storyline follows the path that led him to his very troubled state. Other characters enter the story such as an angel that talks him out of committing suicide and the whole album has the flow, feel, atmosphere and song quality as some of the most classic concept albums of all time.

While the orchestrated power metal sound of Labyrinth is still ever present in Vision Divine's music, this album shows a more progressive side and a sense of melody and emotion that were missing from the band's previous releases. Along with heavy, speedy and orchestrated songs, the album mixes in a more progressive edge as well as some excellent melodic heavy metal. After an intro in which we hear the "madman" attempting to sing a long with a clip from the last track, Identities, the album kicks into gear with The Secret Of Life, a track that features a solid mix of heavy, speedy and orchestrated power metal that has the intensity of classic Labyrinth, lots of melodic vocals and a slight progressive edge. Catchy vocals and choruses mixed in with solid melodic power metal are the staple of such other tracks as Colors Of My World and The Fallen Feather which also has a slight Queensryche edge with the melodies and atmosphere. The lightning speed of such tracks as La Vitta Fugge and Out Of The Maze, with it's "very fast on the pedal" bass drumming bring the listener back to the mid to late 90's when this style first emerged and more recently seen with such newer bands as Dragonforce. The riffs are big and busy and the vocals and choruses soar to the heavens. The band ventures into AOR territory with Versions Of The Same, a simpler yet very effective track that has a great commercial melodic metal sound and Michele Luppi delivers a chorus that I dare you to try to remove from your thoughts!! We Are, We Are Not, a track that is sure to be a concert favorite, features a pounding metal sound, a chanting chorus and some great instrumental breaks. Several instrumental "bridge" tracks are also used throughout that serve to keep the storyline going and the album ends with a soaring power ballad called Identities. A great emotional vocal highlights a track that mixes quiet and heavy passages and finishes with some excellent expressive lead guitar. A perfect way to wind down the story.

After the band's somewhat lack luster last album, Send Me An Angel, I really didn't have high expectations for this album. I must say that after the first 2 tracks and hearing the amazing voice of Michele Luppi, any skepticism had all but disappeared. This album has a flow and character that is rare nowadays. Track after track, we are treated to a solid mix of melodic power metal that is catchy, not overly speedy and is full of great riffs, melodies and some very memorable and catchy choruses. I think this is not only the best Vision Divine album so far, but contains Olaf Thorsen's best work yet as both a guitarist and a songwriter. If you're a fan of great concept albums and love melodic power metal with amazing vocals, you can't be without this album. The flow and editing of the sound effects with the main tracks and the overall production is incredible. Along with Dreamscape and Magnitude 9, Vision Divine has produced one of the best power/progressive metal albums so far this year and one of the best concept albums in many, many years. I have a sneaking suspicion that this one will stand the test of time and be on my top 15 of this year.

Killing Songs :
The Secret Of Life, Colors Of My World, La Vitta Fugge, We Are, We Are Not and Out Of The Maze
Marty quoted 90 / 100
Other albums by Vision Divine that we have reviewed:
Vision Divine - When All The Heroes Are Dead reviewed by Ben and quoted 92 / 100
Vision Divine - Destination Set To Nowhere reviewed by Olivier and quoted 84 / 100
Vision Divine - The 25th Hour reviewed by Ben and quoted 64 / 100
Vision Divine - The Perfect Machine reviewed by Mike and quoted 86 / 100
Vision Divine - Send Me An Angel reviewed by Marty and quoted 78 / 100
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