(CD/LP, Cruz Del Sur Music, 2020)
There are different ways to define the arrow of time and pretty much everything is acceptable; from the number of grey hairs (or absence of hair all together), to the maturity level (faked or not), all the way to scientific definition of the entropy increase. I like to use band anniversaries to track time, although in some cases I find myself questioning when all this time has passed by. Be that as it may, PALE DIVINE are celebrating their 25th anniversary without re-releasing / re-recording (god forbid) old albums, but with dropping a solid piece of their own vintage progressive Doom Metal, titled “Consequence Of Time”, that pushed my mind towards the concept of time...
The PALE DIVINE lineup has grown in number with the addition of guitarist Dana Ortt who is far from being strange, simply because he was sharing singing and guitar-playing duties with Greg Diener in BEELZEFUZZ. If that name struck a nerve, then your instincts are right; “Consequence Of Time” is not only celebrating the band’s 25th anniversary but it also expands the PALE DIVINE sound as the Dana / Greg duet is splitting the singing duties too, adding more layers in the already thick soundscape. This is not evident in the beginning with “Tyrants & Pawns (Easy Prey)” that starts this whirlwind of a trip, with a catchy riff and epic as hell vocal lines that go hand-in-hand with the song’s mid-tempo and killer chorus. The multiple guitar layers and the lovely basslines carry the US Doom Metal sound with pride, calling you for some headbanging with your fist in the air. The higher-pitched singing by Dana adds a vintage layer in the sound of PALE DIVINE as heard in “Satan In Starlight” although I have to comment on how massive the rhythm section feels with FeZZy’s bass action, deserving lots of credit.
You should spin this album at the highest volume possible to feel all the frequency vibrations because music is not only heard, it’s felt too. For the same reasons, “Shadow’s Owl” is rocking hard with Greg sitting behind the mic, and I am sure you’ll love how the vocal lines are following the riffs (or is it the other way around?). This type of Progressive Rock is appropriate for my ears that often do not like super-complicated structures, but gravitate towards the ‘70s inspired one. When you mention US traditional Doom Metal in a sentence, then the name TROUBLE is involved and I believe I hear this on “Broken Martyr” where the guitars are almost co-singing a different set of lyrics. I know, this does not make a lot of sense in words but really, listening to this one, your attention will frequently shift from the vocals to the riffs following the amazing ‘70s formula. I love how “Phantasmagoria” is built around one riff and then branches out to all the different music elements PALE DIVINE have intertwined together. In lack of better words, I would say that this sounds complex in its simplicity.
Rightfully so, the album’s title track is the longest in time duration with lyrics dealing with… time. I love how this song is almost split in two parts, with the first being a tad slower, perfectly representing the torturous way the sand is falling inside life’s hourglass. Listen how the guitar solo and the granite-solid bass / drums rhythm section guide you through the darkness of “time will tell the course we take” break where both singers express the desperation the lyrics are carrying in an early CANDLEMASS way. And when you feel everything is lost with the progressively slowing down drumming, the song circles back to the initial riff, offering that so-needed relief. The latter comes with a massive and epic atmosphere that is guaranteed to give you goosebumps as you feel the certainty that everyone will “suffer the consequence of time” with amazing double guitar action and a BLACK SABBATH-esque pounding rhythm section – pure Doom Metal bliss.
After going through the figurative pain of the album’s title track, comes the time to relax with some hearty headbanging under the sounds of the RAINBOW-esque (of the Dio era of course) “No Escape” and the badass riff of the epic “Saints Of Fire”. There is some nice effect applied to the main riff to the point that I would bet some money that there is some Hammond action here but do not take my word for it. No matter what, this is a killer song and come to think of it, I found no weak moment in “Consequence Of Time” making me think that releasing a killer album is probably the best way to celebrate this quarter of century milestone. ‘nuff said!
01. Tyrants & Pawns (Easy Prey)
02. Satan In Starlight
03. Shadows Own
04. Broken Martyr
06. Consequence Of Time
07. No Escape
08. Saints Of Fire
Greg Diener - Guitar, Lead Vocals
Dana Ortt - Guitar, Vocals
Darin McCloskey - Drums
Ron McGinnis - Bass