DIVINER: Realms of Time

For most, the term “diviner” conjures up images of a prophet, seer or visionary. While I don’t confess to know the full intent of Greek metaller’s Diviner, it isn’t too much of a stretch to define their brand of metal as a kind of “look into the soul/look out for what’s coming” prophetic-type of traditional meets modern power metal catharsis. On their 2015 debut, Fallen Empires, they easily established themselves as a metal band in the spirit of “old-school” Priest meets Maiden crunch, with tons of Dio influence. Some of this Dio reference stems from vocalist Yiannis Papanikolaou’s powerful presence – his voice commands the listener’s attention in much the same way as did Ronnie James Dio’s. But while lyrically there was much speculation and mystery surrounding Dio’s words, Diviner seems bent on sending a clear message that the world we see around us is but a fraction of what is to come. While I wouldn’t describe Diviner as a Christian band per say, they definitely have a penchant for recognizing the eternal nature of mankind, and they don’t hesitate to point out the deceptions of the world around us today – both physical and spiritual. And in this regard, they breathe life into the power metal they competently execute in a manner that is quite refreshing in this day and age.

Realms Of Time is a wonderful complement to Fallen Empires. That record focused on the inner struggles and battles we all face daily, but this one seems more expansive, more cosmic, and seems to focus on the struggles of mankind in general against the evils that assail us from within and from without. There is this over-riding theme of “what we see and think is so important” may be an illusion (or delusion), and that those who think they are the masters of this world and this life may be surprised by their deception when the truth is revealed. I admit I may be reading a bit too much into the lyrics, but I encourage every listener to really delve into the lyrics. No doubt, Diviner acknowledge dark/light, evil/good, and they put forward a positive attitude – focused on the battle within – to conquer the negativity that leads to destruction. My only caution in this regard would be that the lyrics over emphasize the individual’s ability to overcome these negative forces by the “power within” or one’s innate ability to save one’s self from destruction.

Musically, Diviner is driving the rhythms faster and harder on this release. Founding member Thimios Krikos (guitar) has exited and has been replaced by Kostas Fitos, but fortunately this hasn’t altered the core Diviner sound. Returning member George Maroulees anchors the guitars, so the heavy rhythm guitar driven metal sound remains intact. Fragiskos Samoiles puts forth an even more intense performance on drums this time around, equally contributing to the lyrics with Yiannis. Herc Booze anchors the rhythm on bass, his presence quite evident, especially on the vinyl version. Think Painkiller era Judas Priest with Dio vocals and a bit of Blind Guardian speed and theatrics. And yes, this band does share much in common with label-mates Inner Wish (sharing some band members as well), but Diviner has less of a Euro power metal vibe to me – they just feel comfortable old-school, straight-up metal.

The opening track “Against The Grain” sets the stage – just such a great mid-tempo rocker with an equally compelling message. “Heaven Falls” and “Set Me Free” follow with equally compelling riffs, melodies and insights, but the first single from this release, “The Earth, The Moon, The Sun” is clearly the highlight track of the first half of the album. This is wonderful song because its not only one of the most musically dynamic songs on the album, but the words describe the reality of our future – what is seen currently lacks permanence, but what is unseen will become reality. And this song is followed by the other highlight of the first half of the record, “Cut Down By Fire.” This song is such a power metal beast about how so much of what humanity worships/believes will be “cast into fire.”

“Intoxicated souls/a mold that crafts/ambition for blank supremacy/degenerated clans/turned into mob”

I can’t imagine a better word image of today’s society. The second half of the album continues in the same vein. “Beyond the Border” – the second single from the release – is yet another song with great power and insight.

“Far from the sun/galaxies spread to nowhere/send me away/to find who gives the order/take me far, eternally/so far beyond/to sail above where the minds can go.”

“King of Masquerade” addresses the hypocrisy so prevalent today, particularly in the world leadership, and “The Voice From Within” could easily reference the work of the Holy Spirit, although it could merely be referencing our self-conscience’s ability to point us in the right direction. “Stargate” is a fantastic closer, the open/acoustic intro a nice contrast to the heavy output up to this point. The dynamic contrast between the beauty and the power sets this song apart, and this one reminds me quite a bit of Blind Guardian. Overall, in fact, Diviner sound a bit less like traditional metal compared to the debut – the sound quality and intensity have improved on Realms of Time.

The Vinyl

The disc itself is 150-180gm in weight, a noticeable improvement from the Fallen Empires vinyl. I have the black/gold splatter (pictured above) version (limited 200), but this comes in black as well. The disc is housed in glossy outer jacket (great artwork) with a heavy inner paper (printed) jacket which features lyrics on one side and credits/band picture on the other. There is a little more surface noise on my copy than what I’m accustomed to hearing from Ulterium Records vinyl, but its only noticeable between tracks. Otherwise, the disc, the label and the jacket are in mint condition with no crushed corners or creases. This is noteworthy to me because many labels and online sellers these days can’t boast impeccable shipping for vinyl.

The vinyl has tons of low-end sonic power, the double bass drum absolutely crushing. In fact, I am very impressed with the amount of air displacement my subs put forth on this record. But the guitars have plenty of bite and mid-range crunch as well – this is a metal album! Papanikolaou’s vocals cut through nicely at low/mid/high volume levels, and so this record sounds good – no, absolutely killer – at high volume! There is no distortion and no treble shrill. When I compared this one to the Fallen Empires vinyl with the same volume settings, Realms of Time is a much more potent and vibrant recording.

Overall, I give the music an A, the sound quality an A and the lyrics a solid B plus, but the latter rating may be jaded by the differences between Greek and English translation. I give Diviner a lot of credit for acknowledging the spiritual nature of the world/universe and for bringing that forth so powerfully in such a transparent and credible manner on this record. If you miss metal that is just a tad bit old-school, with massive hooks, great melodies and eternity-oriented lyrical exhortations then look to Realms of Time for plenty of inspiration, encouragement and head-banging joy!

Ulterium Records

Release Date: 6/7/2019

Track Listing (CD):

1. Against The Grain (4:27)

2. Heaven Falls (4:16)

3. Set Me Free (4:04)

4. The Earth, The Moon, The Sun (5:21)

5. Cast Down In Fire (4:33)

6. Beyond The Border (5:29)

7. King Of Masquerade (4:11)

8. Time (3:57)

9. The Voice From Within (4:29)

10. Stargate (4:45)


Side A

1. Against The Grain (4:27)

2. Heaven Falls (4:16)

3. Set Me Free (4:04)

4. The Earth, The Moon, The Sun (5:21)

5. Cast Down In Fire (4:33)

Side B

1. Beyond The Border (5:29)

2. King Of Masquerade (4:11)

3. Time (3:57)

4. The Voice From Within (4:29)

5. Stargate (4:45)

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