DIVINER – Realms of Time

Diviner Realms of Time
  • 6.5/10
    Diviner - Realms of Time - 6.5/10


Label: lterium Records
Release date: 07/06/2019

User Review
7/10 (1 vote)

It’s a truth, almost universally acknowledged, that bands who operate within the well-defined confines of Heavy Metal are sometimes reluctant to move beyond its parameters. And so it is that Diviner’s latest effort, Realms of Time, struggles to bridge the disconnect between vaulting ambition and the tropes of the genre. In reality, the Greek collective have crafted a perfectly decent suite of power/heavy metal songs that almost attain epic status without ever really taking flight.

That’s not to say that committed listeners will fail to find something to enjoy. Opener “Against the Grain” boasts all the hallmarks of classic metal: regulation riffing powered by accidentals and uneasy cadences, a cunning key change for the solo and harmony guitars that could happily trace their lineage back to Thin Lizzy via Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. Elsewhere, “Time’s” massive chorus sounds custom built for big-screen stadium tours.

The trouble is that the stylistic ticks of these tracks are the rule rather than the exception. While “Heaven Falls” and “Set Me Free” (itself a none too distant echo of Iron Maiden’s “Futurereal”) rock hard and rock well, the lack of textures found in more ambitious songwriting, allied to a slightly soupy production, make them less than the sum of their parts. Stretched out over 10 songs, this absence of variety becomes a challenge rather than a virtue.

It’s only by the time “The Earth, The Moon, The Sun” comes along, that the band really start to unfurl their potential. For listeners prepared to steal themselves against occasional lyrical clichés (“closing the chapter of life”), repeated listens will bring their own rewards. Guitarists George Maroulees and Kostas Fitos kick up some muscular riffage which is beautifully complemented by impressive legato passages at solo time. But it’s the switch to a steel strung figure as the heaviness briefly dissipates to accommodate floating choirs, that make this song such an engaging listen.

In the same way, album closer “Stargate” features whispering acoustic stylings that eventually seep into crunchy staccato rhythms and a soaring chorus sung with typical intensity by Yiannis Papanikolaou. The whole piece is neatly bookended by a return to the finger-picked motif at the start, which makes for one of the album’s more satisfying conclusions.

Taken in the round, Realms of Time represents substantial progress from 2015’s “Fallen Empires.” With just a smattering of imagination, it could have offered a noble point of differentiation from other bands working in this area. As it is, it sounds like a staging post on the journey of a band whose best is yet to come.


  • Dan Whittle

    Daniel was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. He's been a music fan since his mother introduced him to the piano at the age of 5. That she introduced him is no real guide to whether he could play it, "as anyone who had the misfortune to hear my hamfisted plonking would readily testify," says Dan. Abandoning his nascent career as a pianist, he turned, instead, to listening to as many albums as he could lay his hands on. The first, halting steps, were of the novelty record variety; but gradually he found his niche. After a brief, abortive flirtation with indie, he heard Clutching at Straws by Marillion and that was it. These days his tastes are on the catholic side, but whiling away a few hours listening to ambitious guitar music (especially of the progressive variety) is still amongst his favorite activities.   Oh, and if anyone's wondering, he did learn the piano and the guitar in the end...

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