King Diamond should not need a further introduction to the metal crowd, so I’ll skip to his “axe man” also known as Andy LaRocque. When not swinging his axe for the “King”, he supports other bands with his amazing talent as a sound engineer. This new group called “The Fallen Divine” was lucky enough to have their full length debut release, entitled “The Binding Cycle”, produced and engineered by his skillfully hands, at his highly respected studio Sonic Train in Gothenburg, Sweden.
The quintet, screaming from Norway in the cold north of Scandinavia, began their musical journey three years ago in 2009, and has grown into a monster of different musical styles, mostly influenced by the progressive metal scene. Vocals and keyboards are all taken care of by Magnus Kvist. Guitar virtuosos are Markus Charras and Magnus Haugo. Christoffer Wig is “flexing” his fingers on the bass, and Alex Stebbing is smashing the drum kit.
With help from Dan Swanö (Bloodbath & Edge of Sanity) handling the final mix and mastering, this debut album is in safe hands and be the entry to the international prog scene. The 50 minutes of well performed progressive death metal, filled into a bottle of 9 tracks, will quench your thirst for more extreme metal music at this time.
Maybe there is a missing common thread through the compositions, but they manage to keep the attention from the listener with the dynamic, complex and melodic songs.
One of the many highlights from the story begins with ‘Dissension’. It blends seamlessly folk music melodies with odd rhythms, jazz interludes, high-tech riffs and shredding keyboard tunes.
Next song ‘Shades of Oppression’ is a perfect mix of haunting melodies, amazing guitar riffs and acoustic guitar play.
‘Fire Lights the Night’ is a groovy, heavy and melodic song with tight fast drums. Add many tempo changes and “spooky” guitar shredding layered in the background. And not to forget Mr. Wig, who showcases some impressive bass moves.
A great intro with haunting keyboard tunes is introduced to us in ‘Northern Lights’. And it never slows down. Odd rhythms and tempo changes are shot at you like bullets from a machinegun. Throw in some heavy metal riffs, impressive bass play and flute tones, just to spice it up, and it almost makes your brain pop out of your skull.
We follow the same path in the song ‘The Tormented One’. It’s feels like crawling in the beginning with the slow acoustic guitar tunes, and then it suddenly pulls itself up and runs, by adding many tempo changes and odd rhythms.
And so the story ends happily closing off with the title song ‘The Binding Cycle’. This song is a melting pot of the best ingredients from the other songs on this album. It’s without any doubt the track with the most progressive sound. Many tempo changes and odd rhythms are blended into the melodies with shredding guitar tones, jazzy piano parts and acoustic guitar play.
Not many bands are able to perform with such persuasive dynamic complex techniques, which would definitely impress the “fathers of prog metal” by the name of ‘Dream Theater’. ‘The Fallen Divine’ aimed and almost got a perfect hit at my “proggy” heart with the use of tempo changes, odd rhythms, shredding guitar tunes, folk music influences, heavy riffs, bass tones, haunting melodies, jazzy piano parts, ambient keyboard tunes and pounding drums. And with a talent like vocalist Kvist, who is sending out deep brutal growls and high screams from his pipes with a rough/harsh attitude, sounding like Mikael Stanne from mighty melodic death metal masters ‘Dark Tranquillity’, there is no limit for this group.
BE PREPARED, each spin of this album has raised the total ranking score. It takes time to appreciate and notice all the details in the soundscape thrown at you.
BE PATIENT, and you will be rewarded with one of the best prog experiences, sent out of the Norwegian metal scene in years. My eyes are now focused on this dark pearl from the north and what its future brings…and so should you.
BE READY, to be seduced.