Saturday, September 27, 2003

Review: Divine Lust - Divine Lust (2002)

Divine Lust [ Website | MySpace | Facebook ]
Divine Lust

Divine Lust is a band firmly entrenched in the Gothic Doom genre of metal, as evidenced by their self-titled, self-financed debut album. Being from Portugal, the immediate assumption that they would deliver a sound similar to fellow countrymen Moonspell is not unwarranted. Be that as it may, Divine Lust strive to carve out their own identity while paying tribute to their influences - the aforementioned Moonspell, Type O Negative, Einherjer and My Dying Bride just to name a few.

The opening track, "Again", displays what Divine Lust is musically all about - heavy but effective use of keyboards; meaty and melodic riffing; complex drumming; mixed-tempo song structure. It's not until the second track, "Alone In The Dark", that we're fully introduced to the varied vocal stylings of Filipe Gonçalves. His primary deliver style is one of a deep vampiric baritone, though it's nowhere as deep as Peter Steele of Type O Negative or Erik Molarin of Beseech and in fact seems a bit forced and unnatural. Felipe also recites the lyrics in a gurgling death growl, a style which he is more than competent, and an upper-range falsetto - which doesn't work for him at all. The most common cause of failure for bands is a singer who, for any number of reasons, doesn't necessarily make the grade. After first listening to "Alone In The Dark", I was beginning to think that Divine Lust would suffer this very common fate. Then "Morrigan" glided from my speakers. With an opening more than vaguely resembling Judas Priest's "Turbo Lover" and an up-tempo riff that is simple but catchy, Felipe gives the song life with a voice that is much more polished and natural than he displayed on the previous number. Although the rhythm is mostly incomplex, drummer João Costa lays down a memorable piano accompaniment (he tracked the keyboards in addition to his duty behind the kit) that is prominent throughout the song. Felipe even steps up to deliver a guitar solo that is facile yet fits perfectly with the overall unpretentiousness of the song. The plainly named "V" is not a song at all, but a recitation of a portion of the fifth passage of an epic work by the Portuguese Renaissance poet Luíz Vaz de Camões called "Os Lusíadas" given by Felipe in his native language. Another highlight of the album is "Goddess Night", once again comprised of distorted riffs, lush keyboards, and a memorable piano accompaniment. Felipe combines his clean baritone with an occasional harsh interlude, both used effectively in conveying the mood of the song. While "Morrigan" is my favorite song on the album, the final track "Divine Lust" is a close runner-up. Starting off with distraught keys, pummeling double-bass, haunting female vocals and ominous riffing, a sinister mood is set just as the song slows and Felipe uses his fluid baritone to deliver the words of devilish lust. Depicting a scene that could be right out of Dante's "Inferno", Divine Lust displays their greatest potential by taking on a very epic and darkly progressive feel.

Aside from the questionable voice of Felipe in the very early stages of the album, the only issue I had was with the rather flat production. Being entirely self-financed, this comes as no surprise and doesn't detract enough from the overall quality of the record to warrant concern. As the band gains more experience and, hopefully, signs to a label I expect we'll be treated to a much tighter and fuller sophomore release. Fans of the Gothic Doom and melancholic styles of metal should drop by the bands website and check them out. Divine Lust is certainly a rising star of the genre.

Track Listing
1 Again
2 Alone in the Dark
3 Morrigan
4 Where Only The Weak Survive
5 V
6 Goddess Night
7 Your Cruel Thirst
8 Embrace
9 Scarlet Room of Passion
10 Divine Lust

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