A debut effort worth signing up
Formed in 2009, Norwegian progressive black metal outfit The Fallen Divine wasted no time in quickly establishing themselves on the scene with the band’s independently released debut E.P. effort The Eternal Past and Future emerging in 2010. The E.P. was well received and, soon enough, they found themselves back in the studio with Andy LaRocque (King Diamond guitarist - who handled production and mastering duties) and Dan Swanö (Edge of Sanity/Nightingale vocalist/guitarist – who took on mixing responsibilities) to eventually emerge with their debut full-length effort The Binding Cycle in late 2011 (again, the album was released independently).
The band’s debut effort was met with overwhelming praise from the press, and not surprisingly, had labels sitting up and taking notice. And within four months of the album’s release, The Fallen Divine had signed on with Indie Recordings, with The Binding Cycle getting its worldwide re-release a mere six months after initially being released. It’s not surprising why The Fallen Divine was picked up so quickly. Simply put – The Binding Cycle is a great album.
The Fallen Divine throws everything they have into the opening track Dissension. Over its seven and a half minute running time the band showcase their impeccable musicianship as well as proving their abilities as songwriters. Faster passages mixed with some slower passages, Dissension constantly weaves in and out throughout the song, which opens the song up for plenty of moments where the individual members (vocalist/keyboardist Magnus Kvist, guitarists Markus Charras and Magnus Haugo, bassist Christoffer Wig and drummer Alex Stebbing) get to stand alone in the spotlight. Flawless musicianship, a strong melodic chorus and enough twists and turns to keep things interesting - Dissension has it all.
The fast paced Shades of Oppression (which originally appeared on the E.P. as The Eternal) is another shining example of The Fallen Divine’s ability to fuse together technical abilities, clever musicianship with strong song writing, while Fire Lights the Night (Self Ignition) is a track that packs a real punch with its blackened metal passages, and impresses with the level of skill the band adopt in the more progressive and atmospheric moments.
If there’s a song that doesn’t impress as much as the others, it would have to be Patterns Through Eternity. Although it’s not a bad song as such, the rather straight-forward song writing and delivery lacks the spark of imagination that’s evident on the rest of the album.
Northern Lights is a personal favourite with its catchy riff structures, strong keyboard presence and subtle jazz influences in places, while the fast paced/folk influenced Replenished (Which originally appeared on the band’s debut E.P.) and the full-on progressive black metal epic title track The Binding Cycle are tied as follow-up favourites.
Although far from perfect, there’s no denying that The Fallen Divine have put together something truly special together with The Binding Cycle.
With a label behind them, and a first class album under their belts, I have no doubt that The Fallen Divine is definitely a name to keep an ear out for in the coming years.
(Indie Recordings/Riot! Entertainment)