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Iris Divine: The Static And The Noise

With their third album, The Static And The Noise, Virginia's Iris Divine look to capitalise on the ground they gained with 2015's Karma Sown. An album that marked this power-prog-metal-trio as ones to watch and hinted at great things to follow. The Static And The Noise goes a long way to fulfilling that potential, although an occasional need to over prove they have a wider range of influences can undo a little of that good work. With Navid Rashid both the band's singer and guitarist, you'd expect him to be the main focus of attention throughout, but the strength of Iris Divine comes from the freedom all the instruments have to drive this outfit's message home. In fact, often it's the bass work from Brian Dobbs that really grasps the nettle, before taking the lunge right into the heart of where the likes of the title track or "Echoes Effigies" are aiming for. The same can be said for the busy (possibly too busy on occasion) percussive style from Kris Combs, his intense, yet precise attack the weapon that often knocks you sideways as "Catalyst" and "We All Dissolve" stride confidently across a variety of approaches. In terms of vocals, while Rashid can and does add growls and screams (which, to be honest, don't really always quite feel as integral as they should), his melodic power reminds of Jeff Scott Soto. To be fair to JSS he has also recently stepped deep into prog metal territory, but the strength in his attack is a more melodic rock sheen and so Rashid's interesting mix of styles allows "The Acolyte" to be built on gritty riffs and unsettling guitar solos, while also coming across as accessible and in possession of a killer groove. Impressively for a band so technical and accomplished, it's this often overlooked aspect where Iris Divine really begin to sound most at ease.

You'd guess, however, that the band's ever growing horde of followers will be most eager for the more obvious prog metal trappings, the spectre of Dream Theater evident without being overbearing. Yet it's often the more straight up rock and metal elements that set Iris Divine aside from the competition. The aforementioned "We Dissolve" takes on that mantle, an almost Disturbed like vocal construction and hammer fist of riffs combined to the gallop of Combs' drums and Rashid's ever so memorable vocals. With spoken word sections effortlessly adding to the heady atmosphere, this closing track is a prime example of how this band can cover a gamut of bases without ever losing sight that their main strength is controlled melody.

That all said, The Static And The Noise is a slow build, the embracing of styles and, at times, abrasiveness of what's presented a tough obstacle to surmount. However, things quickly slip into focus, revealing an album of class and integrity. One or two aspects may still need the finest of tuning, but in truth, Iris Divine really aren't far away from their desired goals.

Track Listing
1. Catalyst
2. Taking Back The Fall
3. Echoes/ Effigies
4. Fractures
5. The Static And The Noise
6. Like Glass
7. The Acolyte
8. We All Dissolve

Added: October 6th 2017
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Iris Divine online
Hits: 1779
Language: english

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