Divinefire - Glory Thy Name
Rivel Records
Power Metal
10 songs (45:42)
Release year: 2005
Divinefire, Rivel Records
Reviewed by Ian

Okay, so here’s another super group or maybe just a side project for members of various bands. Christian Rivel (vocals), frontman of Narnia, Jani Stefanovic - drums, guitars, keyboards (Am I Blood, Crimson Moonlight and others), plus Andreas Olsson on bass with Narnia and Stormwind credentials. You never know what to expect from such a project, you could either find some excellent chemistry between the artists and great compositions or you could end up asking yourself why on earth was this released in the first place.

Released last year in Japan, the album found its way on the European/U.S. market this year through Rivel’s own label. The style of the band is a Christian (lyric wise) power metal with neo classical and progressive influences. Despite my early doubts, increased by the big number of guest musicians, the album sounds very well, with strong compositions, heavy sounds and good musicianship throughout. Listening to the album, the Rhapsody/Hammerfall comparsion seems inevitable, but there is definitely more to the band sound, aggressiveness, an in-your-face approach that makes it particularly enjoyable. Christian Rivel is a gifted vocalist with a powerful voice that suits perfectly the power style of the band. In the vein of Andy B. Frank (Brainstorm & Symphorce), his powerful voice sparks the fire in each song, folding on heavy riffs, slow paced rhythms or stellar keyboards. Nice contrast between the religious based lyrics and the mean crunchy guitar work and speedy trashy riffs, this is definitely not a Stryper clone. It’s really hard to decide if Jani Stefanovic is a better drummer or keyboard player. The drumming on the album is very good, with tight base, good bridges, n sync with Andreas Olsson’s bass providing a good foundation for the compositions. The keyboard adds an epic sound on some songs (Pay It Forward, Never Surrender), battles with the guitars for center stage (The Sign) or blends with the rhythm guitars to deliver a double harmony lead ((Free Like An Eagle).

As I said before, aside from the three members of the band, we have a multitude of guest musicians on the album. Eric Clayton (Saviour Machine) provides some spoken parts on the intro From Death To Life and on the 10 minute epic closer The Spirit, Fredrik Sjöholm (Veni Domine) plays some leads on The Sign and Free Like An Eagle, Hubertus Liljegren (Crimson Moonlight) is responsible for the death growls that add a death-flavor to the Christian atmosphere of the album (The World’s On Fire and The Spirit). Also, some talented solo guitarists were invited to add their input to the music, Torbjörn Weinesjö (Veni Domine), Pontus Norgren and Carl Johann Grimmark (Narnia) displaying inspired and varied solos. While pure power metal tunes, like the opener The World’s On Fire, with speedy and angry riffs, or the neo classical influenced The Sign or the really heavy classical Out Of The Darkness represent the core of the album, it’s the epic and various influenced songs that shine on the album. Never Surrender has excellent power drumming, complex guitar/keyboard cooperation a neo classical flavor and a very catchy chorus. Pay It Forward is a slow paced doomish track with great vocal harmonies and sparkling guitar leads by Carl Johann Grimmark. Live My Life For You is a classic Rhapsodian with fast rhythms, epic keys and bombastic drumming. Free Like An Eagle makes me think of the Helloween track Eagle Fly Free with its open sound and the guitar/keyboard double harmonies. The 10-minute epic The Spirit is an ambitious opus, with all five voices adding their part, with quick rhythm changes, switching effortlessly from speed power with deep growls to epic/bombastic guitar driven and clear chorus to slow serene doomy parts with extended double guitar solos and multilayered keyboard walls of sound.

Definitely this is not an album that reinvents the wheel. Power metal became such an overpopulated genre in the past few years that two things are mandatory (in my opinion) for a band to succeed: consistency (both musically and band structure related) and originality. Consistency wise, despite being labeled a project band, the future looks bright, with the new album Hero released already in Japan (soon to be released in Europe/US on November) and a small supporting tour also in the Far East. Speaking of originality (within the genre) I admit that Divinefire isn’t the only power metal act that adds other styles to the main sound trying to achieve that elusive new fresh sound which allows the band to stand out. Still, the combination of peaceful Christian lyrics and power sounds spiced up with grunts, crunchy guitars and heavy riffs is really successful. Looking forward to review the band’s new album.

Killing Songs :
Never Surrender, Free Like An Eagle, The Spirit
Ian quoted 76 / 100
Other albums by Divinefire that we have reviewed:
Divinefire - Eye Of The Storm reviewed by Erik and quoted 78 / 100
Divinefire - Into A New Dimension reviewed by Crims and quoted 87 / 100
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