Could Diviner, a group in their infancy that recently released album number one, ‘Fallen Empires’, truly be the second coming of Dio? With dashes of Iced Earth and Judas Priest mixed in for good measure, Diviner pushes a more traditional, strong heavy metal style that is, in a way, refreshing in today’s market of pirates, vikings, folk and even science fiction metal! Diviner was formed by Thimios Krikos (guitars) and vocalist Yiannis Papanikolaou in the summer of 2011. Shortly after, well-known local metal scene musicians George Maroulees (guitar), Herc Booze (bass) and Fragiskos Samoilis (drums) joined to become the final formation. Fotis Benardo and Krikos handled the mixing and producing of the recording that took place in Athens.
The title track, ‘Fallen Empires’, instantly borrows the opening riff from Megadeth’s ‘Black Curtains’, only slightly sped up. I first heard this, thinking maybe it was a cover or a tribute type track, but it isn’t. Diviner opens with a riff that is instantly familiar and, while I enjoy it, I just hope we’re not about to endure another copycat album like Avenged Sevenfold’s ‘Hail to the King’!! Lucky for us, we’re not. While ‘Fallen Empires’ (the album as a whole) definitely borrows ideas and styles from a multitude of legendary acts, it comes off as very fresh and new. Choruses that feel like new DIO, riffs that could be confused for Iced Earth and other influences blend together really well. With that said, let’s look at the rest of the album!
Track two, ‘Kingdom Come’, starts off with a nice marching riff that sets the tone for a really excellent continuation of this solid release. Where it becomes something really special is the build up to the chorus and, when it finally does hit, you’re taken to a place that only really special vocalists can get. It’s almost as if Ronnie James himself came screaming from the mountain tops! ‘Kingdom Come’ offers a very special listening experience and will never be passed over when choosing the ‘killer’ tracks off this album.
‘Evilizer’ picks up the pace with some speedy guitars with a crunchy atmosphere. I find it to be a nice change of pace, with a pretty decent chorus that sounds very similar to some of the later ‘Judas Priest’ albums like ‘Jugulator’ or ‘Demolition’. Remember those? ‘Riders from the East’ and ‘The Legend Goes On’ take different paths to your ear holes, while making nice transitions through the nucleus of the album. More Ronnie James influence is found in the chorus of ‘The Legend goes on’. It’s kind of amazing, really!
‘Come into my Glory’ has a very classic, if even a bit unoriginal, power riff that sets a mood for more brutal styles. ‘Seven Gates’ picks up the pace again with a speedster style riff at the open. I’m really enjoying the transitions from one track to the next. While in an early stage of music writing, they’ve managed to nearly master the art of putting together really nice mixes from one track to the next. After this, we’re entered into the track ‘The Shadow and the Dark’, which sadly is probably the weakest track on the album. It’s not that anything is glaringly wrong about it, it’s a fine track, but doesn’t really offer anything unique, with a far less impactful chorus. Nothing special here.
Next up is ‘Sacred War’ which, in its own odd way, has managed to grow on me. At first, it feels very similar to the songs preceding it, but it has an excellent build-up that pays off with a cool chants/chorus and an awesome, calming middle bridge/guitar solo that I feel allows it to stand out a bit more. With the final track, ‘Out in the Abyss’, we’re nearing the end of ‘Fallen Empire’. All in all, it kind of wraps up a valiant effort from Papanikolaou and company’s first foray into their own album library. Not the strongest track on the album, but towards the end it shows off some skills with an excellent guitar solo, along with some speedy build up. Well done.
Overall, ‘Fallen Empires’ is a very good metal album that shouldn’t be missed. I think this was a killer track list that gets their foot in the door with many listeners and should continue a nice discography to come. What I’d like to see in future releases is slightly more original music that puts a footprint in the industry that is owned by Diviner themselves, rather than individual musical numbers inspired by, or sounding like, other people’s work.
Review by Joshua Jaeger
20th Nov 2015
1) Fallen Empires
2) Kingdom Come
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
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"It’s almost as if Ronnie James himself came screaming from the mountain tops!"