You best be wielding a blade as we’ve just crossed the border into… Concept Album Territory
As much as I’d love to kick it with a Huskie I’m just too damn lazy
Another concept album. Hmm… My first thoughts conflict with each other as these albums are very much a hit and miss. Standout efforts include Led Zeppelin this many years before even Hawkwind or Iron Maiden tacked the concept arena (still many moons ago, with their very successful Seventh Son of a Seventh son album). Around the same time a small, quite unheard of at the time, collective from Canada, with such monikers as Piggy, Away, Blakey and Snake – aka Voivod – made waves with Rrroooaaarrr and Killing Technology introducing progressive themes, dissonant chords amidst speedy riffs associated with (early) thrash metal and a rich story telling tapestry.
Since then the concept idea has transformed into a genre of its own accord, spanning across the metal spectrum, rich with such offerings as Edge of Sanity’s Crimson, Mastodon’s Blood Mountain, Blind Guardian’s Nightfall in Middle Earth, Sabbat’s Dreamweaver and Queensreich’s Operation Mindcrime I would be amiss not to mention Nocturnus’ The Key (following on from Mike Brownings’ split from an early incarnation of one of the most influential acts in extreme metal history – Morbid Angel) though there are other albums worthy of mention I want to turn my attention to the release in question, lest I get distracted and this transpires into nothing more than merely a ‘list piece’.
Divine Element – Thaurachs Of Borsu
Release Date – May/19/2017
I, Voidhanger Records
Meant for teaser use only, please support talent by tossing some green their way.
Divine Element have been in existence since 2002 though have suffered from other side project dilemmas and the fact that both members live quite some distance away from each other. The members live a far afield as Hungary and Greece with the inclusion of legendary drummer Hannes Grossmann you can now add Germany to that mix.
Thaurachs Of Borsu marks the release of Divine Element’s second full length, ambitious yet rich with promise themed around a medieval soldier’s journey as he comes to terms with an invasion from a powerful foe intent on destroying his ancestral homeland. Ayloss, primarily responsible for guitar, bass and synth duties has created an epic tome he hopes will better explain the world described in the album itself. The book (and a slew of short stories) will be released shortly after the album to give the listener a better understanding of the main characters within, covering such themes as consciousness regarding the reality of war, human society and the fabric of the cosmos itself.
A Realignment with Destiny is the opening track, an instrumental that introduces the band’s massive talent for atmosphere and a power to transform the listener into a wholly different empire. The track sparkles with an effective vibe that promotes visions of a society lost to memory, covered by a millennium of dust.
Thaurachs of Borsu (the title track) kicks up the pace, adds intrigue and through its faster galloping pace an element of danger. The style follows on directly from the introduction, in much the same style, whilst also boasting themes of melody found in a slew of genres within the metal spectrum. Folk, black, traditional heavy metal, speed and death meld seamlessly in a way that many acts have tried to perfect where Divine Element have no troubles, in fact thus far in they appear to excel. I’ll mention here that the progressive element associated with many a concept album of the past (think Hawkwind) is absent, I find it rare throughout that Divine Element veer from a distinct melody into unsure, often wavering, nearly always experimental musical territory.
The album progresses and my interest only grows. The next track, Onto the Trail of Betrayal, is an epic riff fest that boasts a fantasy/medieval aura while also supplying a deep tapestry of melody through its pace and rhythm. The atmosphere, by way of synth, adds another level entirely. Antonis’ vocal style fits perfectly, as too does the ongoing narrative faultlessly in time with the percussion that thankfully doesn’t come off as too extreme or ‘mellow’. In moments, the style puts me in mind of Amon Amarth admittedly bearing more of a very distinctive (and thoroughly enjoyable I’ll hasten to add) folk edge slathered in speckles of black metal at its most effective.
Call of the Blade ironically, based on its title alone, sports somewhat of a Three Inches of Blood/speed/traditional heavy metal feel as it similarly makes me reminisce upon the genius of Martin Walkyier and his tenure within such influential acts as Sabbat (mentioned above) and Skyclad. Antonis’ gruff (neither a growl nor a shriek) though appreciatively decipherable vocal attack is praiseworthy, distinct, helps the narrative/storytelling element and positions itself commandingly, though not overly so, in the finished audio ‘mix’. Spoken words verses are utilized in numerous tracks to a seamless degree, another factor that brands this a release that demands to be played countless times before fully comprehending its many faceted layers.
The albums finale, Augury for A Shapeless Future, prompts malevolence, an unpredictable amorphic shadow over the realm as it places an applaudable conclusion to this instalment. For to predict the wicked nature of impending events in such a tumultuous world is folly indeed!
Until a sequel is in the offering I will be celebrating Thaurachs Of Borsu, keeping an eye out for the accompanying texts, and promoting it whenever possible as it more than worthy of any respect it garners.
Bravo, hail Divine Element. Raise a goblet stained in crimson with the blood of thine enemies in unison, in eternal gratitude.