Darkness Divine are a female fronted 5 piece band from Glasgow in Scotland, who I first came across in Bannerman’s bar in Edinburgh. I was most impressed at what I saw and heard. They had songs, energy and tight musicianship. I was happy to be sent a copy of their EP (out now via Radiate Records, see below) for reviewing. The EP is 5 tracks if you go for the download version. For those who buy the hard copy cd there are 7 songs. I can highly recommend the latter.
The production is pleasing, capturing that energy I mentioned, and allowing the instruments including the voice of Toni Benedetti-Martin to be heard loud and clear. The guitar solos throughout are excellent from Dave Fulton and Graeme McShane and have definite progressive leanings. The rhythm section provides a solid platform in Gary McNeill on bass and John “Pinky” Martin on drums.
Opening song “Digression” screams straight at the listener. With a no non-sense riff and angry sounding screamed vocals this is a great track. No matter how aggressive it sounds they never lose sight of the groove and can still throw in an infectious chorus for good measure.
“What We Want” sees lower pitched vocals from Toni and an almost tribal section drum wise before the drop down near the end before the chorus repeats to the conclusion.
“The Wicked” starts with a riff that has a Dr Who type echo effect if you know what I mean. The riff is very tidy, but changes when the vocal kicks in. There is lots of space in the music for the vocals to shine at the start. There is strangely a hint of a Michael Schenker sound a couple of times guitar wise. Possibly “Doctor Doctor” (UFO) I thought. The chorus is very strong on this. Love the guitar solo late on in this as well.
“A Stronger Dose” is as infectious a track I have heard. The opening is nicely paced and one to clap hands and stamp feet to. Not to mention fist punching and head banging. This is just made for rock radio. It also sounds quite threatening in places. Not sure but it could be about an unhealthy obsession lyrically. At least that’s my take on it. Happy to be corrected!
The last song on the downloadable version is “Misconstrued” and is a bit of a change of pace, starting on acoustic guitars and then changing into full electric after 50 seconds. A slower song, one which made me think 1980s Heart mixed with mid period Dream Theater (think “Falling Into Infinity”) at points.
For those who go for the physical copy you receive 2 more tracks for your money. The first is a fan’s favourite in “Hyde”. It opens with the voice of Michael Caine from a TV version of “Jekyll And Hyde” before a fast thrashy riff kicks in. That flits between the superb chorus and slower moodier verses. They play around with the vocals to make it more manic. This was the song that really grabbed me the first night I saw them. Great to hear it properly recorded.
Lat but by no means least is “Swansong” a lush ballad with its roots in folk music from medieval times. A cross between Blackmore and Led Zeppelin (well the title also suggests that). The very start has a digeridoo type effect (I thought a little of “Loser” by Ayreon but only for a couple of seconds) before it waltzes in properly. Each time I listen I am more impressed. The vocal harmonies are delightful and work brilliantly. I haven’t heard a young or new band recently attempt let alone succeed with something like this. Great credit to them.
It might “only” be an EP but there is so much to enjoy in this release. As an old bloke who has been into rock metal and prog for 40 years to hear a new band performing material as diverse and so well constructed as this is so pleasing. I can honestly recommend this to those who enjoy classic rock, metal and even prog! Glad to say those styles of music are alive and well and in good hands. “Prelude” is a mighty fine beginning or opening to hopefully a long career for this outfit. If you wish all 7 songs then you need to order from first link when it comes to purchase!