Released By: Ulterium Records
Release Date: June 7th, 2019
Genre: Heavy/Power Metal
Yiannis Papanikolaou – Vocals
George Maroulees – Guitars
Kostas Fitos – Guitars
Herc Booze – Bass
Fragiskos Samoilis – Drums
1. Against the Grain
2. Heaven Falls
3. Set Me Free
4. The Earth, the Moon, the Sun
5. Cast Down in Fire
6. Beyond the Border
7. King of Masquerade
9. The Voice from Within
Sometimes, I’ll discover a promising new band right around when they release their debut, hear a bit of their music, and then largely ignore them for a while, only to later go back and see what I had been missing out on. One such band this happened with recently is Greek heavy/power metal band Diviner. I had heard of them around the time they released their 2015 debut, Fallen Empires, heard a couple of their songs and thought they sounded pretty good, but I never ended up giving that album a full listen until recently, after being blown away by their new full length release, Realms of Time. While their debut showed a lot of promise, this album takes the band to a whole new level, with some absolutely killer riffs and excellent songwriting.
Stylistically, Diviner play a slightly modernized take on classic heavy metal and power metal, with the focus being largely placed on the excellent duo guitar work of George Maroulees and Kostas Fitos. Realms of Time falls decisively on the absolute most aggressive side of the genre, with some very punishing, hard hitting riffs throughout, and there’s very little in the way of cheesiness or “fluff” to be found on this album. The guitar work is excellent, and sounds very much in line with classic metal guitar work, with a mix of excellent riffs, lead melodies and some very technical, yet melodically impressive extended solos. As with their debut, there’s a nice mix between speedy power metal and more mid paced heavy metal, with the two being mixed together on some tracks, so fans of both styles should be pleased. Lyrically, the band still has some of the Christian themes they had on their debut, although these are quite subtle compared to what many similar bands are known for, and the band has also explored new territory on this release, with some Sci-Fi lyrics on a few tracks, to add a new element. Performances are excellent across the board, with the two guitarists obviously stealing the show, though vocalist Yiannis Papanikolaou also shines, with a deep, very powerful voice, and his performance gets to be slightly animated and aggressive at times, while at other times he reins it in to sing some very powerful, beautiful melodies. Production is also top notch, with everything sounding perfect.
While everything about Realms of Time is amazing, perhaps the most impressive part is the actual songwriting. Songs are all fairly straight-forward, falling squarely into the 4-5.5 minute range, but there’s quite a bit of variety to the tracks, and every song is excellent in its own way. Opening track “Against the Grain” is the type of explosive opener I always look for on a power metal album, with speedy drumming, heavy riffs and a fun, instantly memorable chorus, as well as an excellent guitar solo in the second half. It’s an excellent track on its own, and it certainly gets things off to a very strong start. Next is lead single “Heaven Falls”, a more mid paced track with some pummeling riffs during the verses, which give way to a very strong build up to an even stronger chorus, where Yiannis really gets to shine, with some excellent vocal melodies. It’s a very catchy track, while still managing to be equal parts heavy, melodic and technical, with the latter mostly happening during another very good solo in the second half.
The highlights keep coming with “Set Me Free”, another speedy power metal track, with some excellent lead melodies, and a fantastic chorus. It’s perhaps the most pure power metal track here, with a very classic sound to it, and only gets really heavy briefly during the second half, during an intense instrumental section. Aside from that, it’s a lighter, more melodic track, with excellent vocals and great lead guitar work. Next is second single “The Earth, the Moon, the Sun”, another track with some excellent lead guitar melodies early on, before getting heavier during the verses, and then opening up for one of the best choruses on the album. It moves along at a nice pace during the verses, mostly staying fairly relaxed, before fully speeding up during an epic last run through of the chorus. On the speedier, heavier side, once again, is “Cast Down in Fire”, which starts off with some very aggressive guitar work, and it keeps it going throughout the verses, moving at a pretty fast pace, only slowing down for a crushing, powerful chorus. It throws in some great melodic guitar work during the solo section, but for the most part it’s one of the heavier songs on the album, and it’s a very good one.
Staying on the heavier side of things, third single “Beyond the Border” is one of a couple tracks here that gives off a very strong Brainstorm vibe, with the way some of the riffs sound, especially right at the start. The pace drops off a bit, and the music gets more melodic during the verses and chorus, but the second half contains an extended instrumental section, where things get extremely heavy and technical, while the pace picks up dramatically, and it’s one of the best sequences on the album. The final fast paced track on the album is “King of Masquerade”, another hard hitter of a track, which has some especially intense verses, giving way to a very melodic chorus, as well as another fantastic solo section. It’s a very fun, speedy track, and is definitely one of my favorites on the album.
The pace drops off for the rest of the album, with “Time” being a slower paced melodic heavy metal track, with a nice chorus, while “The Voice from Within” is another track with a very strong Brainstorm vibe, matching the tone and style of some of their slower songs quite well. It’s a very hard hitting track, with some excellent guitar work, a great instrumental section and an excellent chorus. Closing out the album is “Stargate”, and it’s the most surprising track here, as it starts off with some very soft guitar work, using a relaxing opening verse to build up to a very strong chorus. From there, the heavy guitars kick in, and the track turns into an epic power ballad, with some amazing melodies, brief bursts of heavy riffs, amazing emotional vocals from Yiannis, and a beautiful guitar solo in the second half. It’s an excellent track, as well as a great way to close out the album.
Diviner had been one of those bands where I knew they had talent, and I knew I would probably enjoy their music, but I just never got around to them until recently, and I sure am glad I did, because with Realms of Time, they have released a killer sophomore album, that represents some of the best heavy/power metal to come out in recent years! There’s a nice mix of both styles throughout the album, with some speedy power metal, some more mid paced heavy metal, and while most songs lean towards the more aggressive side of the spectrum, there are some great melodies, as well as a killer vocal performance from Yiannis Papanikolaou, and the power ballad that closes out the album does an amazing job of showcasing a softer, more emotional side to the band. I highly recommend Realms of Time to any heavy/power metal fan looking for the potential next big thing in the genre, as these guys certainly have the talent and songwriting chops to go all the way!
Written by: Travis Green
My Global Mind – Staff Writer
Travis Green is a Canadian based writer for My Global Mind, with a particular passion for power metal, as well as an interest metal in all its forms.