Vision Divine is a progressive power metal band from Italy, fronted by Rhapsody of Fire’s Fabio Lione. The band originally started off as lead guitarist Olaf Henderson’s (Labyrinth) solo project, but eventually it was decided that they would go on as a full-fledged band instead. What we get is a mesh between the epic feel and grandeur of power metal, but with the technicality and moods of progressive metal. But while Vision Divine features high soaring vocals, power metal riffs, epic keyboards and catchy melodies, don’t expect this to be a repeat of Rhapsody’s medieval/fantasy gallivanting, in fact it’s the exact literary opposite.
As I mentioned Vision Divine certainly do dwell within the power metal category, being abundant in soaring vocals, speedy riffing and bombastic melody. They build songs around a sing-along styled choruses and there are plenty of catchy elements to hook your ear. But with the progressive elements ( mainly futuristic keyboards, zig-zagged progressive rhythms and complex guitar work) the more traditional power metal sounds are dropped, giving it a more science-fiction, modern atmosphere as opposed to the “balls to the wall” or medieval/fantasy orientated feel that a lot of power metal bands use. The handful of syncopated riffs, found at sparse points in the album, rings somewhat familiar to the djent movement, but it’s integrated well into the power metal sound and really just gives it a heavier punch. There’s also more melancholic elements added to the music by the lead guitars and more notably, the orchestral backgrounds, which are reminiscent to Dream Theater balladry, albeit executed a lot more effectively.
While the dual-lead guitars, schizophrenic riffing and proggy keyboards duke it out over atmospheric dominance, the drumming keeps the beat and little else. It definitely keeps up with the rest of the band, but it’s nearly drowned out in the more layered passages. It aids to the hammering of the thrashier, power metal riffs, but other than that it does little to stick out. The bass work is even less noticeable, but I suppose it might be adding to the thickness of the riffing that I’m not picking up on. The general composition of the album tends to revolve around heavy build ups, catchy choruses and uplifting or melancholic passages heavy in synths and keyboards. It’s not always exactly in that order but they’re generally what you come to expect. The production is squeaky clean and layered almost perfectly. Like I said the drumming and bass work is pretty thin but the vocals, guitars and synths are perfectly strewn together, with synths tastefully in the background and not overbearing to everything else.
Vision Divine really perfect that floating, futuristic atmosphere that bands like Pagan’s Mind, Manticora and Alchemist also feature heavily in their power metal. Although I only have a basic idea of the lyrical content, I would assume that this is based around some sort of epic travel through space, and the music definitely hints at that. As much as I can enjoy the more LOTR styled power metal bands, the more progressive natured bands really seems to appeal to me more on a general basis, as I really feel there’s a wider arrange of sounds and melodies (albeit, there is progressive elements thrown into the mix to help with that) that a lot of regular power metal bands ignore. There riffs are heavy and pounding, the lead guitars soar, the choruses are catchy as hell, Fabio’s vocals are epic as well as ballsy and the keyboards are atmospheric, grand and perfectly fluid among the rest of the music. I’ve always thought “prog-power is best power!”, and Vision Divine help continue that sentiment in my mind.
Best songs: The Dream Maker, Beyond the Sun and Far Away, The Ark, Mermaids from their Moons, Message to Home, Here We Die, Destination set to nowhere