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Divino Disturbo - Op I

Divino Disturbo - CD Review
Op I

Divino Disturbo - Op I


CD Info
Art Gates Records
12 Tracks
Mainly English lyrics


I always like to take a moment to attempt to classify a musical release before getting to the particulars of that release. It’s usually pretty easy for me since I tend to favor some form of Symphonic, Operatic Gothic. Throw in a good death metal vocal, take us for a dark ride and I’m with you to the bitter end. And, since there’s damn sure a lot of that out there these days it doesn’t take much to keep this former Southern Rocker happy, especially if you throw in a bit of the Russian medicine to take the edge off. But, there are those times when you want something to expand your musical boundaries. At least to some extent. I still do some Southern Rockers, there’s some good progressive rock, even a little hip hop can get me bouncing around. I draw the line at boy bands and rap, Country Western doesn’t hold the attraction it once did (you can only get emotional about missing that damn cow so many times) and there are other directions I stay away from like the plague. Well, this one, while it still provides a fair amount of what I tend to favor in general, goes places others don’t always go. How to describe it, I donna, maybe Gothic Metal meets Avant Garde Neoclassic. There’s a lot of the Gothic but, every now and then, it doesn’t quite go up that complete octave you were expecting, or the beat skips something and goes on a journey you weren’t expecting. Maybe a bit of a Jazz Fusion thrown in here and there just for kicks. But, the final result is more than a little entertaining, especially when you view the lyrics that take you to strange and exotic places, both real and imagined. That Russian medicine helps there, everything is good.

Well, as I mentioned, this is a relatively large and complex sound. Interestingly enough there’s a really limited cast listed as being responsible for the music. There’s Matias who’s clearly jefe here, Raquel Sanchez Fernandez who is the primary female vocalist and a guitarist and drummer. So who’s doing the rest of this full symphony orchestra and choir? Matias explains: “Every orchestral sound in Op I has been made using libraries such as omnisphere, EWQL Symphonic Choirs and many more. It has been the hardest work from Op I because every note of every orchestral instrument was sequenced, and you can see songs such as Wolf Song or Oniria, in which there are around 60-70 instruments. In addition, I counted with a real choir to give more realism in songs like Nirmia, Lux Aeterna or Layla. It has really been a hard job, but the final result is very nice.” Well, nice to know there are actually some living beings involved, but, clearly, there’s a lot of electronic material here and Matias is a master of many skill sets. Personally, given the complexity of the material, you’d think they’d need a full time group of writers just for that component alone.

Now there’s another item that needs to be addressed before moving to the individual tracks. Matias clearly speaks Spanish as a principle language. But this release is mostly English, and the topics, the literary structures, all that is nearly as complex as the musical structures. Again, Matias talked about this part of the effort: “Anyway, I think that the point of this music is the story behind each song in which the orchestra and the rest of the instruments are just telling something related to the song. I'm actually writing a very long ‘Track by track’, I think that it will result interesting, but the English translation is being very hard.” That level of complexity, both the musical and the lyrical can become difficult for the listener as Matias acknowledges: “In addition to the orchestral elements, the band requires a very high level of interpretation... I think that we are touching too many fields, maybe this fact may get to the listener a bit lost, but the answer is listening the songs once and again.” Fortunately, the music is sufficiently interesting to make multiple listening a forgone conclusion. You won’t listen to this one once and move on, and, eventually, it begins to make sense at one level or another, maybe more than once.

Given the musical and lyrical complexity of this release, it’s easy to overlook the vocalist, she’s there, but, given the amount of music flowing around her, she can sometimes be overlooked. And that would be a shame, she’s a fine talent, one that fits well with the style of music being presented here. Matias talked about her a little: “Well, I'm from Jaén, a little city from Andalucía just in the north of Granada, but I could't develop this band there, I had to move to Madrid since Raquel was living there. Raquel had been singing with a lot of bands but just collaborating, she didn't have her own band...I think that she could be successful in any band, but she didn't want to. She was studying music with so many teachers, specially modern style, but this disk required a lyrical voice, so she was ‘forced’ to sing in the way that you can hear.” And she does that, keeping up with the mass of sound around her and providing a vocal excellence that only serves to enhance the multitude of sounds taking place.

Divino begins with the typical short classical arrangement, this one booming with a full orchestral sound. But, it gives way to a keyboard based intro, something approaching a harpsichord that takes us to Lux Aeterna. Here we get the Big Mamu, sounds like about 50 people crushing metal into pulp, with a soaring vocal overhead. This is a big part of the sound, and, given that sound, you can be excused from missing what they’re talking about. It’s actually a 6 part track that flows over a cultural minefield for some 4 and 1/2 minutes. We begin:

- Part 1: "Spirits of Earth uprising"

Damned this day in which we are forced to appear / Brothers rise! Light Guardians
Humans, life desecrators / Bastard race, born to kill
‘Cause harmonious was our living / But your hand must be stopped
Thy sin must die, our will be done.

This part is done with the female vocal taking the lead supported by keyboards and guitar. Lots of action, pounding metal. Everything, including brief interludes of choral work. But, that choral work comes front in center shortly:

- Part 2: "Beseeching Gaia's grace"

Choir: “Send us your divine protection, Mother. / Hear our plea, and show your power.

And this choral work is about as good as you’re going to hear, anywhere. The work continues with this dramatic soprano work over a mixed choral sound, augmented by those killer keyboards. Damn near perfect.

The harpsichord introduces us to the second track as well. However, Nirmia is a more classically oriented sound, more in line with the beautiful than the pounding metal, at least for part of it. You’re seduced into a sublime feeling of contentment, then forced into more full metal. Here the drums get a bit of the action, double kicking you into the track.

One thing to understand, there is considerable reference to the ancient themes here. We get reference to ancient gods; pagen themes, that sort of thing. More than a little Therion, to say the least. And this material can get more than a little complex, musically at least as complex as Therion with the lyrical structures just as obscure. Carpe Noctem moves over musical landscapes like the Moon Lander over a celestial body. And the story is equally complex, with metal, classical and Jazz Fusion thrown in to keep you on your toes. We hear:

Selene welcomes your advent, bloody Endymion.
Keeper of stars, they bless this night (Choir: Alfonsus carnifex, sanguinis bibulus)
beneath a mantle of eternity.
Choir: Cele, mulier, Alphonsus te despaceris.
Glowing eyes in darkness (Choir: Fuitur in extremum iugulare mordenda set on the purest flesh (Alphonsus te capibis et mordebis) drop by drop, the maiden is led to eternal rest

Yea, I know, hard to keep up. But, take my word, it sure sounds good when you hear it. One more track to talk briefly about. Wolf Song is interesting in a number of regards. You get the interesting musical themes here, some of that off beat material that seems to crop up regularly. But, you also get a more straight forward lyrical theme, one that registers on several levels.

Spanish material seems to be getting better and better. But this one takes us in some relatively new and very interesting directions. It’s not sufficiently divergent from the more typical Gothic to turn anyone off, it certainly has all the elements we typically enjoy. But, it’s just different enough to be. . . well, different. But in a very positive way. Just make sure you give it multiple listens, the time will pay for itself.

9 / 10