To start from the very beginning, DIVINER have been around the metal business for more than two decades, as they were formed in 2011. Through all those years they have only released two albums, “Fallen Empires” (2015) and “Realms of Time” (2019). Having another four-years gap between their releases, the band’s third album “Avaton” will be released on November 10th by ROAR! Rock of Angels Records in all formats, limited vinyl editions included.
Stylistically, DIVINER have always played heavy/power metal and they have done so unfailingly, their debut being absolutely enjoyable, the sophomore album a worthy follow-up. Since “Realms of Time” a lot have changed but certainly not the kind of music they deliver. All members of the band were replaced except from band’s mastermind, singer, composer and lyricist, Yiannis Papanikolaou. Moreover, DIVINER entered a new label roster – finding themselves amongst iconic bands like GRAVE DIGGER and STEEL PROPHET and worldwide famous groups like MYSTIC PROPHECY and ASHES OF ARES. Well, this seems quite a challenge for DIVINER but I have to say that they stood up to the expectations, grabbed the bull from the horns, bringing out their BEST album so far!
Still powerful and melodic, DIVINER have returned more epic and darker than ever before, full of passion and energy, aggressive and diverse at the same time. Inspired songwriting combined with excellent musicianship – this is the key to success for their amazing new album.
The self-titled “Avaton” is as good an intro as a one-and-a-half minutes song can be, an ideal warm-up for “Mountains High” that follows, one of the epic standouts of the album. Galloping riffs and wonderful melody together with Yiannis Papanikolaou’s astonishing vocals offer a memorable power track. The expressive guitar soundscape and the solid structure of the song is excellently presented on its music video, released while this review is being written. I MUST praise Bob Katsionis and Alexander Haritakis for their work; their choice of majestic Tzoumerka, a Pindus’ Mountain range in northwestern Greece, surely offers the perfect setting for such a GREAT song!
“Dancing in the Fire” keeps up with the exciting, rhythmic melody. The double guitar work of Teo Ross and Alex Flouros is just marvelous and the playful chorus showcases Yiannis Papanikolaou exceptional vocal skills once again.
In “Cyberwar” the songwriting style changes just slightly so as to express successfully the lyrics, leaning fittingly from lyrical to powerful.
Right after that, “Waste No time” slows the pace a little bit; it was the song for the album’s first official video, released in September 22nd and although it’s an undeniably catchy tune, I personally find it the tracklist’s weakest one.
Well, timely enough, “Nemesis” follows and vindicates DIVINER from any doubt that clouded my mind after the previous track; thunderous, marching invincible with some really heavy riffs and a wicked, fast solo, it is another standout on “Avaton”.
“Hope will Rise” is a two-sided, really diverse song; dark and dramatic on one hand, full of positive energy on the other – this track is of the kind that makes you actually believe in a better future but in a seriously optimistic way, not at all light-heartedly. One of the best songs in the album!
Strong, meaningful rhythm and flawless, vivid vocal lines are the driving forces of “Avaton” and the epitome of such song-writing is “Dominator”. A perfect track to summarize DIVINER’s great return!
The album could end with eight tracks list and still be the finest of their discography. But no! DIVINER kept their longest and most distinguish songs for the closure – a couple of songs full of emotional grandeur that’s really jaw-dropping!
“Hall of the Brave”, as the title indicates, is a true EPIC ANTHEM. Bells ring, guitars play riffs at full gallop, vocals reach the skies, an acoustic part with choral ensemble and narration is followed by sharp guitar solo, ecstatic bass lines by George Nidriotis and quite an inventive drumming by Lefteris Moros are heard, all forces are gathered to build a regal Hall of the Brave for our ears!
Last but not least comes “The Battle of Marathon”. Starting as an IRON MAIDEN kind of song, it changes somewhere in the middle of it, in order to offer distinctive folklore essence, traditional organ and electric guitar playing together with inspiring chorus singing in Greek; ending with woodwind sound and ancient Greek language for the Athenian epitaph, “The Battle of Marathon” is not just another song for the historic outnumbered victory of the Greeks against the Persians but a hair-rising battle hymn!
“Dead New World” is a bonus track included only in the CD edition – a nice song, not a filler at all, yet after “The Battle of Marathon” sounds almost mediocre – in my opinion, it would much better fit previously in the tracklist.
DIVINER may sound like a lot of heavy/power metal bands out there, all influenced by the mighty JUDAS PRIEST, but they have managed to form their own sound and their third album is a stellar release, solidifying their musical identity. Undoubtedly, they consistently pay homage to DIO in many good ways. So, my final comment about “Avaton” is that it surely goes STRAIGHT THROUGH THE HEART!
Check the discussion about the album in our forum pages.