Divine Ascension – The Uncovering – Album Review

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Artist: Divine Ascension

Album Title: The Uncovering

Label: Vicisolum Records

Date of Release: 16 November 2018

The phenomenon is not abating, it is only gaining strength. I am, of course, referring to Australia and the plethora of incredible music coming from out Antipodean friends on the other side of the world. They may have stolen the sun from us here in the northern hemisphere for the next six months but it is hard to stay mad at them when seemingly every month I’m confronted with an Aussie-based album that provides such entertainment. I won’t list all of the culprits because that’s be a long and arduous task. Instead, I’ll just focus on the release at hand.

‘The Uncovering’ is the third full-length release from Melbourne-based Divine Ascension, a melodic progressive power metal band that formed in 2007 and is now, finally, well and truly on my radar. Mind you, such is the sheer energy and power that Divine Ascension deliver, they are in danger of blasting a hole right through my radar. We’re not talking extreme metal per se with these guys, more a torrent of riffs, urgent tempos, bold rhythms and epic, melodic choruses. But it is executed with such proficiency that it’s like facing into a hurricane; it is breathless, exhilarating and relentless.

Divine Ascension is comprised of Jennifer Borg on vocals, guitarist Karl “Inski” Szulik, bassist Jason Meracis, and drummer Luke Wenczel. Someone within the band is also responsible for the swathes of keys that appear throughout the album, although no-one has put their hands up and assumed responsibility. It’s a shame because they are another crucial element that helps to make ‘The Uncovering’ the enjoyable beast that it is.

If you think of Divine Ascension being a blend of Kamelot, Vanishing Point, Evergrey and modern Nightwish, you’d not be a million miles away from the truth. Throw in a little Symphony X in terms of the guitar work and you’re even closer. Only, Divine Ascension do have their own identity, built principally upon the excellent vocals from Jennifer Borg. Blessed with a tremendous pair of lungs, she copes effortlessly with the muscular metallic output that surrounds her. In fact, her deep timbre is the perfect accompaniment to the barrage of riffs that Divine Ascension deliver because she genuinely sounds like she is having a blast all the while she sings.

Unlike many albums these days that start things off slowly with an instrumental intro, ‘The Uncovering’ starts like it means business. ‘Evermore’ literally thunders from the speakers from the first moment with an energetic lead guitar lick and bombast before settling into a brisk, galloping tempo. From there, we’re treated to Borg’s passionate voice, drumming that alternates between mid-paced stomp to all-out double-pedal action. The chorus has a hint of Within Temptation to it insofar as it is a bold, melodic affair that immediately makes an impact. The lead guitar solos are exuberant and neo-classical in tone.

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The energetic output continues courtesy of tracks like the frantic, power metal-infused ‘New World’ and the neo-classical gusto of ‘Beyond The Line’ which also contains plenty of dark, ominous atmosphere, not to mention some of the best drumming from Wenczel and latter stages that are almost pop-meets-stage musical fodder, certainly more upbeat in tone despite more heavy, unrelenting guitar work. ‘One Step From Here’ on the other hand pushes the Kamelot-isms to the fore whilst ‘Bittersweet Divide’ is simply thunderous, bursting with effervescence.

For all of the intense and adrenaline-fuelled material that Divine Ascension produce, there is also a fair amount of variety to be heard across the record, allowing the band to use the ‘progressive’ part of their description. ‘Prisoner’, for example, is a darker, more keyboard-soaked affair with a bruising beat to begin. However, there are more restrained sections scattered amongst the chunky riffs and plenty of expressive vocals from Borg. There’s even the introduction of a hammer-horror-like organ for extra dramatic effect. ‘The Fallen’ on the other hand offers a taste of classic rock courtesy of a cheeky lead guitar line as well as a melodic hard rock vibe thanks to a catchy chorus.

The bass line of Meracis is immediately arresting within Pursuit of Desire’, as is a guest appearance from my favourite vocalist of all time, Evergrey’s Tom Englund. The duet atop a ballsy and heavy riff is a real highlight of the album for me. The tinkling keys only increase the similarities with Evergrey, particularly as this dramatic-sounding track offers some of the most prog sounding material on ‘The Uncovering’, which features an extended instrumental section completed by a lengthy lead guitar solo.

To my mind, the most slow-burning track has to then be ‘Revolution Phase’. There are some melodies that take literally ages to hit the mark but when they do, they don’t let go. The gang chanting will put off some but again, it adds a certain charm to the song, making it more interesting and three-dimensional in the process. Again, the organ makes an appearance to add a greater sense of theatrics.

All-in-all, I can’t help but be very impressed by ‘The Uncovering’. For a band that had previously eluded me, the quartet have made a genuine impact through an addictive blend of heavy riffs, melody, well-constructed songs and a kick-ass vocalist who adds passion and conviction to her performance throughout to match the intensity of the music that surrounds her. If you fancy a blast of heavy and melodic metal with a progressive and dramatic sheen, you need not look beyond Divine Ascension to sate your desires. I hope they’ll be able to tour and bring their quality new material to a stage near me before long, because I suspect that this music will slay in a live setting.

The Score of Much Metal: 9

If you’ve enjoyed this review, you can check out my others from 2018 and from previous years right here:

2017 reviews
2016 reviews
2015 reviews

Godless – Swarm
Universe Effects – Desolation
Kalidia – The Frozen Throne
Rikard Sjoblom’s Gungfly – Friendship
Ashes of Ares – Well of Souls
Veonity – Legend of the Starborn
Bloodbath – The Arrow Of Satan Is Drawn
Nochnoy Dozor – Nochnoy Dozor EP
Vola – Applause of a Distant Crowd
Lost In Thought – Renascence
Into Eternity – The Sirens
Fifth Angel – The Third Secret
Ashes of my Memory – Raptures /// Disillusions EP
Anathema – Internal Landscapes
Samskaras – Lithification
Seventh Dimension – The Corrupted Lullaby
Hate Eternal – Upon Desolate Sands
Witherfall – A Prelude To Sorrow
Northward – Northward
Seventh Wonder – Tiara
Warrel Dane – Shadow Work
Haken – Vector
Beyond Creation – Algorythm
Ultha – The Inextricable Wandering
Amaranthe – Helix
Ghost Ship Octavius – Delirium
Decembre Noir – Autumn Kings
The Odious Construct – Shrine of the Obscene
Fauna Timbre – Altering Echoes
The Moor – Jupiter’s Immigrants
Revocation – The Outer Ones
Riverside – Wasteland
Ethernity – The Human Race Extinction
Dynazty – Firesign
Deicide – Overtures of Blasphemy
Brainstorm – Midnight Ghost
Krisiun – Scourge of the Enthroned
Kingcrow – The Persistence
Cast The Stone – Empyrean Atrophy
Omnium Gatherum – The Burning Cold
Helion Prime – Terror of the Cybernetic Space Monster
Madder Mortem – Marrow
A Dying Planet – Facing The Incurable
Árstíðir – Nivalis
Mob Rules – Beast Reborn
The Spirit – Sounds From The Vortex
Aethereus – Absentia
Unanimated – Annihilation
Manticora – To Kill To Live To Kill
Rivers of Nihil – Where Owls Know My Name
Halcyon Way – Bloody But Unbowed
Michael Romeo – War Of The Worlds, Part 1
Redemption – Long Night’s Journey Into Day
Distorted Harmony – A Way Out
Tomorrow’s Eve – Mirror of Creation III – Project Ikaros
Atrocity – Okkult II
Lux Terminus – The Courage To Be
Kataklysm – Meditations
Marduk – Viktoria
Midas Fall – Evaporate
The Sea Within – The Sea Within
Haken – L-1VE
Follow The Cipher – Follow The Cipher
Spock’s Beard – Noise Floor
Ihsahn – Amr
The Fierce And The Dead – The Euphoric
Millennial Reign – The Great Divide
Subsignal – La Muerta
At The Gates – To Drink From The Night Itself
Dimmu Borgir – Eonian
Hekz – Invicta
Widow’s Peak – Graceless EP
Ivar Bjørnson and Einar Selvik – Hugsjá
Frequency Drift – Letters to Maro
Æpoch – Awakening Inception
Crematory – Oblivion
Wallachia – Monumental Heresy
Skeletal Remains – Devouring Mortality
MØL – Jord
Aesthesys – Achromata
Kamelot – The Shadow Theory
Barren Earth – A Complex of Cages
Memoriam – The Silent Vigil
Kino – Radio Voltaire
Borealis – The Offering
W.E.T. – Earthrage
Auri – Auri
Purest of Pain – Solipsis
Susperia – The Lyricist
Structural Disorder – …And The Cage Crumbles In the Final Scene
Necrophobic – Mark of the Necrogram
Divine Realm – Nordicity
Oceans of Slumber – The Banished Heart
Poem – Unique
Gleb Kolyadin – Gleb Kolyadin
Apathy Noir – Black Soil
Deathwhite – For A Black Tomorrow
Conjurer – Mire
Jukub Zytecki – Feather Bed/Ladder Head
Lione/Conti – Lione/Conti
Usurpress – Interregnum
Kælling – Lacuna
Vinide – Reveal
Armored Dawn – Barbarians In Black
Long Distance Calling – Boundless
In Vain – Currents
Harakiri For The Sky – Arson
Orphaned Land – Unsung Prophets And Dead Messiahs
Tribulation – Down Below
Machine Head – Catharsis
Bjorn Riis – Coming Home EP
Twilight’s Embrace – Penance EP
Bloodshot Dawn – Reanimation
Rise of Avernus – Eigengrau
Arch Echo – Arch Echo
Asenblut – Legenden
Bleeding Gods – Dodekathlon
Watain – Trident Wolf Eclipse

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