These days, it's very hard not to assume that when a band is classified as 'female fronted power metal' that they are going to sound just like Nightwish. The truth is, there are a ton of Nightwish clones out there, but thankfully, Australia's Divine Ascension aren't one of them. Recently, on our YOUTUBE show ,
I mentioned that their latest album Liberator, was my first introduction to this very fine band, but after doing some digging it turns out I was quite impressed with their 2011 debut As the Truth Appears...it's sometimes hard to keep track of all the hundreds of bands & releases we actually come into contact with here at Sea of Tranquility, but I can tell you after fully digesting Liberator, I won't make that mistake again. This is one seriously hot band, with a lead vocalist in Jennifer Borg who is a revelation, musicians who are stellar at their instruments as well as fully capable of writing songs that are instantly memorable, impossibly addicting, and extremely powerful.
Just listen to Borg's soaring pipes on the ultra-catchy "Stronger", a tune with a chorus that just grabs you by the throat and never lets go, or those crunchy riffs and floating keyboards on the melodic, progressive title track. Straying far from the operatic and often times classical tinged meanderings of many similar bands, Divine Ascension instead fully grasp the wonders of a catchy pop hook and house that within songs that are truly heavy metal through and through. "My Contender Lies" just crushes with emotional power, the riffs in your face, the keyboards majestic, the rhythms potent, and Jennifer's vocals are awe inspiring. Another irresistible chorus can be found in "Sorrow's Sacrifice", and bursts of complex power/prog metal passages infiltrate the symphonic "Crystal Tears". The twin guitars of Robb Inglis & Karl Szulik, as well as keyboard player David Van Pelt, work overtime on the engaging "Machine", another sizzling progressive metal number, and "The Final Stand" gets my vote for the song on Liberator that combines all these elements perfectly, as blazing prog-rock styled synth explorations collide with massive metal riffing, thunderous rhythms, and Borg's delivering a stunning lead vocal.
There's not a bad song in the lot, and the band have offered up plenty of variety here with the inclusion of not only heavy numbers, but also a few softer pieces as well as the progressive songs. Many of these tunes are instantly memorable, and you'll want to hear them all over again after the CD has ended. If you think you've heard all that female fronted power metal has to offer, think again. Wonderful vocals, catchy hooks, scorching musicianship...yep, it's a winner!
01. Dawn Brings No Mercy
04. My Contender Lies
05. Sorrow's Sacrifice
06. Crystal Tears
08. Red Sky
09. The Final Stand
11. Memoria's Longing