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Diviner - "Fallen Empires" (CD)

Diviner - "Fallen Empires" CD cover image

"Fallen Empires" track listing:

1. Fallen Empires
2. Kingdom Come
3. Evilizer
4. Riders From The East
5. The Legend Goes On
6. Come Into My Glory
7. Seven Gates
8. The Shadow And The Dark
9. Sacred War
10. Out In The Abyss

Reviewed by on December 9, 2015

"What they do is take the best of everything great that fans of metal have heard - since the origins of the craft forward - and string together a highlight reel designed to grab you and make you move. It absolutely kills."

With a veritable ocean of material lapping on the shores of your stereo or digital music player, I don’t have to explain how hard it is to find that oarfish in a sea of horseshoe crabs. However, each year there is always one band that comes out of nowhere like Nessie peeking out of a murky Loch Ness. In 2014, Lords of Black emerged from the streets of Madrid. In 2015, from the ashes of Athens comes Diviner…and for a brief moment, a metalhead in search of a pure metal band that “gets it” finally comes to fruition.

Made up of some Greek veterans likely unknown on many shores, Diviner features ex-InnerWish/Battleroar vocalist Yiannis Papanikolaou and his InnerWish band mate and drummer Fragiskos Samoilis. Together with three virtual unknowns - the twin guitar attack of Thimios Kirikos and George Maroulees and Herc Booze on bass – Diviner sets to take the world by force. If you are looking for pure metallic influences, then Diviner is your band. No, you won’t find anything resembling what has become the norm these days: progressive, atmospheric or symphonic elements – so fans seeking more than pure power ought to steer clear here. However, if unadulterated power, traditional and thrash is your thing – hordes of it await on the stunning debut “Fallen Empires.”

Lately, bands of this ilk have been all too consumed with recapturing the terrible sound of 1981, but Diviner comes equipped with modern production perfection and sounds like a beast tearing through the eardrums. Every pass through “Fallen Empires” brings back memories of the heydays of Metal Church, Sacred Reich, “Transcendence” era Crimson Glory, Wrathchild America, and so many more. Those damn precision guitar lines capture the essence of metal and instantly dredge up that combination of pride and anger that came with the days of youth and rebellion. The word “catchy” doesn’t quite capture the feeling enough. It kind of gives the album’s title “Fallen Empires” a new meaning when you see it from that perspective.

Diviner performs nothing you haven’t heard before. What they do is take the best of everything great that fans of metal have heard - since the origins of the craft forward - and string together a highlight reel designed to grab you and make you move. It absolutely kills. The formula is nothing that other band’s haven’t tried to employ…but Diviner does it with a passion and love for the genre that others do not. The album tears at the pulse and heart strings of metal in “The Shadow and the Dark,” “Come Into My Glory,” and “Evilizer” with a combination of shredding riffs and Papanikolaou’s Dio-esque snarl. No frills, no sleepy intonations – just straight up power punching you square in the face.

With an uncanny ability to draw all that makes a pure metalhead filled with pride, anger and rebellion, Diviner takes the sum of metal’s parts and spews forth a highlight reel from hell. All the typical adjectives can be strewn around: catchy riffs, roaring vocals, soaring leads…they all apply to Diviner. In 2015, Diviner has charged to the forefront of newcomer of the year, though led by a crafty veteran. Its almost as if it is a tribute to “Fallen Empires,” by constructing a newly reinforced castle of steel.

Highs: Its like a highlight reel of everything great about metal's history.

Lows: There is nothing new for those seeking something different.

Bottom line: Like a tribute to once great and "Fallen Empires," Diviner roars forth with power and precision on a stunning debut.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)