Divine Ascension is an upstart metal band from down under in Australia, and As the Truth Appears is the debut long player on Nightmare Records. The band offers, generally, symphonic and melodic power metal led by female vocalist Jennifer Borg. With her power and presence she can easily stand with her peers, Anette Olzon (Nightwish), Sharon den Adel (Within Temptation), and Floor Jansen (After Forever), at the microphone. While Ms. Borg does not necessarily sound like or mimic these singers, neither does she have that over-the-top operatic style associated with so many female-fronted symphonic bands, and that's a good thing. (Although, Borg has no trouble reaching those high notes.)
But having a terrific female singer does not necessarily make for a great symphonic power metal band. You must have the strengths of song composition and musicianship. Divine Ascension has both. However, even with this triple threat, and several listens, I found myself ambivalent to As the Truth Appears.
Generally, Divine Ascension offers a predictable formula: heavy, fast paced, melodic metal over a symphonic layer. The nuances to each song come from several elements. One is the varying degree by which that synth/symphonic layer appears. After that it's likely the strength and presence of either the guitar solos or the synthesizer wiggling. Ultimately, every song on As the Truth Appears is huge; this is immense and bombastic metal in its grandest form.
Though after several spins I felt that I've heard this all before, As the Truth Appears sounds so damn good. Divine Ascension's epic escapist metal is a guilty pleasure, especially when hearing the grandeur of Vision Divine, Guided by Osiris, Civilization, or Garden of Evil. Yet once I reached the final piece, Unscathed, my notes declared 'ditto, the same as what went on before.' Nevertheless, that does not necessarily make Divine Ascension trivial or redundant, just coherent and constant. And, once more, sounding good, in that epic and bombastic metal way. Recommended.
Being unsure whether Divine Ascension brings anything new to the whole symphonic power metal genre with As the Truth Appears, it's still grand and bombastic, epic and escapist metal, with a promising future.
Mat Sinner is both an icon and legend in the German, and the larger European, hard rock and heavy metal scene. Cranking out music since 1982, Sinner is an industrious and prolific musician and producer whether through his namesake band, the heavy metal heroes Primal ... [ Read More ]