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Vision Divine
Stream of Consciousness
June 2004
Released: 2004, Metal Blade
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland

Vision Divine is an Italian power metal band that began as a solo project by former Labyrinth guitarist Olaf Thorsen and current Rhapsody vocalist Fabio Lione. The band’s name is taken from Labyrinth’s original name—“Vision”—and the title of what Thorsen wanted to name his first solo album, “Divine.” STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS is Vision Divine’s third album and first with vocalist Michele Luppi (Lione left in 2003 to concentrate fully on Rhapsody) as well as new drummer Matteo Amoroso and keyboardist Oleg Smirnoff. The new record is an unyielding power metal tour de force with blazing drums, sky-high vocals and speedy riffs and solos. Several atmospheric instrumentals are included and the keyboards are used frequently in prog-infused solos.



“The Secret of Life” is dripping with keyboards and Smirnoff is even given a moment in the spotlight with a brilliant solo at the 3:00 mark. Lots of samples are used in the background of the record and this record employs them to full effect. Luppi’s vocal range is quite remarkable and he hits the highest of highs on here. His voice is actually very close to that of former Yngwie Malmsteen vocalist Jeff Scott Soto. “Colours of My World” features more great vocals and some excellent double bass work from Amoroso. “La Vita Fugge” and “Shades” have tons of cool riffs from Thorsen and a killer rhythm section. They are speedy as hell with a great power metal gallop not unlike that of Stratovarius. On “La Vita Fugge,” Luppi holds a note for 19 seconds and if it isn’t studio trickery, this man deserves an award! The mid-tempo “Versions of the Same” has some great vocal harmonies in it and is reminiscent of Masterplan or Europe. “We Are, We Are Not” is an anthemic track with a fist-pumping chorus and shouted vocals that is among the standout cuts on the CD. “Fool’s Garden” is an incredible instrumental track performed solely by Smirnoff and Thorsen on a 12-string acoustic guitar. The haunting notes and melodies demonstrate what superb musicians these two men are.



STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS is a breath of fresh air in the European power metal scene. There are no dragons, elves or medieval nonsense to bring the “cheese factor” up. Instead, we are treated to masterfully-played instruments over well-written songs from veteran musicians who seemingly love their jobs. And at 62-minutes in length, the record fully satisfies any hunger one may have for this kind of music. What more could we ask for?



KILLER KUTS: “The Secret of Life,” “Colours of My World,” “La Vita Fugge,” “We Are, We Are Not,” “Fool’s Garden”
Track Listing

1. Stream of Unconsciousness
2. The Secret of Life
3. Colours of My World
4. In the Light (Instrumental)
5. The Fallen Feather
6. La Vita Fugge
7. Versions of the Same
8. Through the Eyes of God
9. Shades
10. We Are, We Are Not
11. Fool's Garden (Instrumental)
12. The Fall of Reason (Instrumental)
13. Out of the Maze
14. Identities

Lineup

Michele Luppi—Vocals
Olaf Thorsen—Guitar
Andrea “Tower” Torricini—Bass
Oleg Smirnoff—Keyboards
Matteo Amoroso—Drums


Next review: » Vision Divine - Stream of Consciousness
Previous review: » Vision Divine - Destination Set To Nowhere

Vision Divine
Stream of Consciousness
July 2004
Released: 2004, Metal Blade
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: JP

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.
Track Listing

1. Stream of Unconsciousness
2. The Secret Of Life
3. Colours Of Life
4. In The Light
5. The Fallen Feather
6. La Vita Fugge
7. Versions Of The Same
8. Through The Eyes Of God
9. Shades
10. We Are, We Are Not
11. Fool’s Garden
12. The Fall of Reason
13. Out Of The Maze
14. Identities

Lineup

Michele Luppi-vocals
Olaf Thorsen-guitar
Andrea Torricini-bass
Oleg Smirnoff-keys
Matteo Amoroso-drums

Contact

N/A


Next review: » Vision Divine - The 25th Hour
Previous review: » Vision Divine - Destination Set To Nowhere





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