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REVIEW: Divine Realm: “Tectum Argenti”

It’s amazing how fast instrumental progressive metal has risen in the past year alone. It seemed for a while the sub-sect of progressive metal resided as an afterthought in many metal fans’ minds, an afterthought never given any weight to, but we are witnessing it’s rise back to popularity once again.

What’s crazy about it to me isn’t the fact that the subsect is getting so popular, but rather who it has to thank for it. I know everyone’s first thought is Animals as Leaders, which is fine, but honestly I think the genre has more to thank to bedroom composers such as Plini and Sithu Aye and crossover artists like CHON and Polyphia than anyone else. No disrespect to Animals as Leaders, but for most people, Tosin Abasi’s level of skill is unattainable or unrealistic to shoot for, but when compared to an artist who produces from a garage or a bedroom like themselves, the amount of people willing to give it a shot of their own, as well give a listen to other’s people’s projects, increases tenfold.

From this influence and diversity comes a mass of fresh insight and perspective into the genre, like for example, Divine Realm, a Canadien four piece bringing an incredibly fun, uplifting sound with their new album Tectum Argenti.

The album is a real dancer in your ears, but is also very grandiose and hard-hitting. It’s also very mature, it rips like a tiger, but with a certain confidence rather than an abashed cockiness. All in all, its simply a very well-put-together album. Each lick, each solo, each bass drop is executed perfectly, it all fits together like a puzzle, bringing technique, flow, pace, and heaviness together.

I really wish I had a better adjective to characterize this album than fun, but honestly this album is so fun to listen to. It’s the perfect adjective because it’s so simple and encapsulating; listening to this album is just pure enjoyment for no reason other than its enjoyable. A great example  can be seen within the first minute of track two, “Cloak and Dagger”, where there is a throwback-to-YngwieMalmstein shred section that leads straight into a country-western section. How else can you define that? I might be biased because I personally live for sections of music like this, but this alone makes the album a positive, fun experience.

Luckily for Divine Realm, there is much, much more to Tectum Argenti than one cool section, but I will let the listener discover those sections themselves. Like I mentioned earlier, bedroom composers and crossover artists are well-deserving of thanks for their influence and affirmation. Divine Realm is no exception, and I have no doubt Tectum Argenti will serve as a jumping off point for many other bedroom composers and players.

Score: 8.5/10

FFO: Intervals, Sithu Aye, Polyphia

Notable Tracks: “Cloak and Dagger”, “Metaphor of the Sun”

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