Released: 2004, Metal Blade
Album number three for VD and I have strong mixed feelings about this Italian all-star band. I really enjoyed their debut CD RHAPSODY enormously. This is a very, very different creature bearing little resemblance that that great debut CD. On the plus side they have changed into something I also like just not as much.
On the debut the name of the game was speed. Today the band has become almost a purely progressive band. The whole idea is that this is one long song (hence the title). There are 14 parts and four of them are instrumental interludes of less than two minutes each. This seems to be a concept album but the band (or label) choose a white font that is small and hard to read making it a chore to read along and figure out the story. Luckily new vocalist Michele has a power and clear voice that is easy to understand. The story seems a bit convoluted and in all honesty I haven’t figured it out yet! That is good that the interpretation is left to the reader/listener but at the same time I don’t want to have to struggle to enjoy the story.
Oleg has added a new and deep dynamic to the band and is credited as being the key writer on almost every song and the band did enlist the help of ex-vocalist Fabio who had a hand in many of the vocal melodies before stepping down. Michele fills the vocal admirably, with his own style even when doing Fabio material. One mildly disappointing feature is the guitar shave taken a backseat to the keyboards for much of the album. I guess the risk you run when the keyboardist writes most of the material.
Another disappointing feature is the band really never picks up the pace. The used to be a fast band and they are not anymore. I’ll have to live with it! Olaf Thorsen has since said he has moved on (from Labyrinth) in terms of his style and attitude. Translation? He doesn’t like playing fast and hard anymore. In fact this seems to be a very personal statement for him and it is one while I comprehend it I have not fully embraced his personal vision for the band. Reference points might be the big name progressive bands, Queensryche, Fates Warning and certainly Dream Theater. This album is not really a storming wall of sound but instead a rather lush and textured sound-scape with sound effects and aural dynamics.
While I dearly miss the speed and voice of Fabio I think the new Vision Divine is a more sophisticated and mature band that has more to offer than perhaps I had originally expected.