OCTOBER 23rd 2012

Review by Anka

Vision Divine has unfairly never been one of those bands at the forefront of the power metal scene. Maybe it’s got something to do with their lineup changes and the relative lack of visibility, but I think they would deserve more attention, at least from now on.  The seventh album of the Italians from Vision Divine was released in September 2012 and makes a great release in the power metal category this year, when strangely we haven’t heard much from the titans of the genre. At this time I wasn’t hoping to hear anything power metal that would hold my attention considerably, but Vision Divine has managed to prove me wrong. We’ve got the perfect recipe for an easy listen, fueled by classic power metal with keyboards, a hint of prog, great hooks and science-fiction themes.

Formed in 1998, Vision Divine is the project of Olaf Thorsen of Labyrinth joined by vocalist and former band mate Fabio Lione (Rhapsody, Labyrinth), however future lineup changes have seen Fabio Lione leaving and only returning in 2009 for the recording of their album ‘9 Degrees West of the Moon’. The newest album ‘Destination Set to Nowhere’ benefits from a lineup of talented musicians:  Fabio Lione (vocals), Andrea ‘Tower’’ Torricini (bass), Federico Puleri (guitar), Alessio Lucatti (keyboards), Alessandro Bissa (drums) and obviously guitarist and songwriter Olaf Thorsen.

This is a concept album centered on the idea of space travel and maybe this fantasy component made me like it even more. The keyboard tone adds a lot to the ‘spatial’ feel and the succession of the stories takes us to destinations that might be unknown, but it doesn’t really matter as long as we get somewhere new. The album opens with a recited intro in Italian from the poem ‘S’i fosse foco’ If I Were a Fire by Cecco Angiolieri which is not a bad introduction, but I would say not the most fitted either. The first song ‘The Dream Maker’ debuts at full speed with a sample of fast keyboards and guitars that could make your head spin a little. After an extremely catchy chorus the song develops into alternating slower and faster parts.

Some other songs are rather standard power metal in the vein of Stratovarius. Many songs have mellow intros and break into faster, intense sections as the songs progress and include catchy choruses with simple riffing. There is nothing out of ordinary happening on the drums but you’ll enjoy the guitars and the fast dual solos. Then of course if you are a fan of keyboards you’ll surely have many goose bump-worthy moments as the album escalates with fast progressive parts blended into melodic power metal. ‘House of the Angels’ is one of the songs that takes the progressive elements even further and incorporates some beautiful guitar and keyboard solos.  It’s not such a long album after all, but there‘s good and captivating songwriting with great hooks and excellent musicianship. Album ends in a mellow note with the title track of the album. 

And then there’s Fabio Lione’s singing.  If you are familiar with his work you know what to expect, but I think this time we can hear a bit of a more versatile Lione on ‘Destination Set to Nowhere’.  He’s using both his low register and a slightly higher than usual range. This singer impresses with clarity and vocal technique, and with his delicate care for every sound. One could easily realize how Fabio Lione won’t simply execute a score, he adds feeling to it and delivers it flawlessly.

Songs to remember: The Dream Maker, Mermaids from their Moons, Message to Home, the House of the Angels.

All that being said I think the new Vision Divine easily stands over other power metal releases this year. I keep recommending it to friends who like power metal and I get great feedback from those who are fans of the genre. With long years of activity behind and a great new release, what Vision Divine needs at this point is a little more exposure, so hopefully we’ll see a tour happening in the near future.