Released By: IceWarrior Records
Release Date: January 5th, 2018
Genre: Power Metal
Alex Blank – Vocals
Gabriele Palermo – Guitars
Dirk Seifert-Dölves – Bass
Dany All – Keyboards
Nicolò Bernini – Drums
1. The Devil Calls You
3. Revelation 13:18
4. Over the Edge
5. Fly Away
6. Shadow of the Moon
8. Chasing a Dream
9. Vision’s Divine
10. Casting Shadows
11. Destined Land
In what has already been a crowded year for great metal releases, it can be easy for some albums to slip under the radar a bit. Such is the case with Unholy Divine, the third full-length release by German power metal band Tragedian, who I had never heard of until recently, but they managed to get a couple of high profile guests on board, so they quickly caught my interest. While it took a few listens to really grab my attention, in the end Unholy Divine has proven itself to be a very solid power metal album, which doesn’t do much to reinvent the wheel, but instead it’s simply a fun album with a ton of energy, and it’s definitely going to appeal to classic power metal fans.
The band plays a fairly straightforward style of power metal, particularly reminding me of early Edguy at times, largely due to the vocals, though even musically there’s a similar feel to some of the songs. Most tracks are very speedy, with occasional slower sections, and the band does a nice job of changing the tempo up partway through songs at times. For the most part, it’s a largely guitar-driven album, with some great riffs and nice solos, though keyboards do pop in from time to time, mostly staying in the background, they can certainly be very noticeable at times and provide some extra flavor to the music. The faster tracks are generally my favorites, though there’s also a couple of lighter, slower paced tracks, and they are quite nice as well. My only real criticism in regards to the overall sound has to do with the slightly weak production. It doesn’t sound awful, but the audio quality is a bit muffled throughout, and sometimes it sounds a bit muddy and rawer than I’d like for this genre. The energy of the riffs and drum patterns is generally enough to help me get through it, though, and it certainly doesn’t sound bad, just not as rich or powerful as I’d like.
When reviewing a power metal album, vocals tend to be one of the most important factors, if not the absolute most important. While Alex Blank isn’t an amazing vocalist, he has a distinctive enough voice and certainly performs with a ton of passion and energy, which enhances the quality of his vocals. He often sounds like a wilder, slightly deeper voiced version of Tobias Sammet, which again back the Edguy comparison. He does a great job during choruses and more melodic sections, though he can get a bit animated and over the top at times. Overall, he’s not one of my favorite metal singers of all time or anything, but he gets the job done nicely enough.
Moving on to songwriting, which is another area where the band hasn’t blown me away, but they’ve done a good job of putting together a group of consistently entertaining songs. Perhaps the only thing I can criticize in this department is that none of the songs really elevate the album the way a big standout track can, but there definitely aren’t any clunkers either, and everything is enjoyable overall, which is always a good thing.
The album gets off to a strong start, with “The Devil Calls You”, a track that begins with a nice keyboard intro to set the mood, before quickly speeding up and becoming the kind of fast-paced, catchy and melodic power metal fans would expect from the genre, as well as serving as a good indicator of what to expect from the album. It’s a very high energy track, with fun verses, a strong chorus and a nice instrumental section in the second half. Sticking with speedier songs for a while, two tracks after that are “Revelation 13:18”, one of the fastest and most classic power metal sounding tracks on the album, with heavy riffs, some great keyboards in the background, and a fun chorus. It definitely wouldn’t feel out of place on a classic Stratovarius album.
My favorite chorus on the album comes on “Flyaway”, another speedy, heavy track with some great keyboards throughout, and well as huge vocal melodies, especially during the huge and super epic chorus. The guitar solo is also amazing, and overall the track is probably my favorite on the album. Right after that is “Shadow of the Moon”, which starts off with a nice piano section, before quickly speeding up and turning into another fun faster-paced track, with a slightly slower paced, but catchy chorus. Another nice faster-paced track is “Spectres”, which has some organ-like keyboards at times, that enhances the feel of the track, as well as some nice Iron Maiden style guitar work, especially during the solo section. The chorus is super fast and catchy, and it’s another great track overall. One of the heavier tracks is “Vision’s Divine”, another faster-paced track, with some nice riffs throughout, as well as being one of the tracks where the keyboards are especially prominent. Yet another speedy track comes right after that in “Casting Shadows”, which has one of the most melodic and most memorable choruses on the album, as well as a guest appearance from Firewind keyboardist Bob Katsionis, who provides an excellent solo. Lastly, we have a closing track, “Destined Land”, another very speedy track, which has a great chorus and an excellent guitar solo near the end, and it’s a great track which ends the album nicely.
On the slightly slower side of things, “Dullahan”is a harder hitting track which starts off fairly slow, before picking up a bit of speed during the verses, though it once again slows done during the epic chorus, and it’s a more restrained track overall, aside from bursts of heavy riffs, and occasional speedy sections. Another slower track is “Chasing a Dream”, a lighter track, which is probably the most keyboard driven song on the album. It has another nice chorus, as well as some great melodies throughout. One final song to mention is “Over the Edge”, a more mid-paced track, which has some heavy guitar work throughout, as well as a great chorus. The highlight, though, is an excellent guitar solo in the second half, performed by none other than Gamma Ray guitarist Kai Hansen.
Overall, Unholy Divine likely won’t blow many people away, but instead, it’s simply a solid power metal album, with a collection of great speedy tracks, as well as the occasional song that changes things up a bit. It also has a couple of high profile guest appearances, and it’s a consistently enjoyable album from start to finish, which I can easily recommend to any fan of the genre. Hopefully in the future Tragedian can step up their sound further to create something truly exceptional, but for now this is a very enjoyable album, with only minor flaws to keep it from being truly great.
Written by: Travis Green