Divine Regale - Ocean Mind

Year of Release: 1997
Label: Metal Blade
Catalog Number: 3984-14132-2
Format: CD
Total Time: 47:23:00

Because Divine Regale's Ocean Mind has been reviewed elsewhere here, I won't delve too deeply in themes already touched upon.

Divine Regale have a sound very much influenced by Queensryche - no more apparant than in Dwight Hill's vocals, which are very close to Geoff Tate's. But every once in a while, believe it or not, certain phrasing of words makes me think of early Billy Joel, in his pre-The Stranger days. Now, unless you've spend a lot of time listening to Joel - and I'm guessing the majority of you haven't or don't - you probably won't hear it. And don't let that reference put you off, either. The music is anything but pop.

There are some awkward vocal arrangements on the opening track, which may work better if you're not reading the lyrics at the same time.

The band really come into their own with "Underworld" and "Forever Changing Winds," though I'm not too fond of the former. Yes, the Queenryche feel is still there, but Hill sounds less like Tate and is perhaps singing more in his own voice. I'm not suggesting he puts on an affectation, but maybe because he can sound like Tate he choses to emphasize that.

As I said above, there is some awkwardness to the the opening, title track and I'm not entirely pleased with the arrangment. And just what is an ocean mind exactly? You can read just about anything into that. Silence isn't really the absence of sound ... there is still some atmospheric noise somewhere, even if it's coming from inside your own head. Like the sound of a conch shell held to an ear, the silence can be as loud as the rush of waves of upon the shore ... an ocean mind?

"Shadowed Words Forgotten" tries for that slow grinding burn that Queensryche do, but here it's a bit slower than what's expected ... and makes it plodding. The music is at one speed, the vocals a bit slower ... it's like watching a time lapsed film at 5 fps with a soundtrack at 10 fps. Not really effective...

There are some interesting lyrics in "No Part of This" - clever turns of phrase. E.g.: "spoon fed rhymes of today's headlines" - pointingly rhymed. The may be the most 'ryche sounding song - vocal effects, phrasing, instrumentation, and all and yet...somewhat lackluster for all that. There's something missing that would make this a better track.

Given that the band all appear to be in their mid- to late-twenties, they seem overly reflective on "Horizon." With a lyric that begins "Walking through my memories/recalls a time in my youth..." Maybe I'm getting old myself, seeing these six guys as "young whippersnappers," except that I'm not much older ... but hey, if Barry Sanders can retire at 31, who's to say. This is the track I like best for all that, maybe because I can truly identify with it ... all to well at the moment ...

It's a hit an miss debut, showing some promise. It'll be interesting to see what they follow up with. If they follow on from the latter half of the album, using Queenryche and the like as touchstones only, they should do well.

Ocean Mind (6:09) / Change? (4:27) / Shadowed Words Forgotten (4:56) / No Part of This (4:12) / Leaves (4:53) / Horizon (4:48) / Cry To Heaven (3:55) / Underworld (5:37) / Forever Changing Winds (8:13)

Chris Anderson - drums, percussion, vocals and mandolin
Frank Couture - bass, midi pedals, and backing vocals
Daniel Elliott - guitars
Dwight Hill - lead and backing vocals
Jason Keazer - keyboards
Gary Leighton - guitars

Window (1992)
Horizons (1994)
Ocean Mind (1997)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin US

Added: August 1st 1999
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Hits: 964
Language: english


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