Thursday, October 25, 2012
Pale Divine - Painted Windows Black
High expectations on the arrival of an album can really ruin the actual release. It has happened to myself many times in the past because you know and like a band a lot, and the mere fact they are about to release new material makes you attach all these, sometimes unsurmountable, hopes and attributes to it. This in turn can make it all come crashing down fast. For the release of Painted Windows Black these expectations were running extremely high since Pale Divine is one of my favourite bands of all time. Add to the fact that it took the band 5 long years to create a follow-up to their excellent Cemetery Earth and I was really worried what it was going to sound like. However, any fear I had was unfounded as Painted Windows Black is a master piece in any sense of the word! I should have know better than to doubt these guys...
Rarely has an album affected me as much as Painted Windows Black has from the very moment I first listened to it. The instrumental opener Nocturne Dementia shakes and rattles my foundations to a near meltdown with it's heaviness. It is a bold move for any band to start off with an instrumental piece but Pale Divine is a band that pulls it off excellently. Even without lyrics they convey the feelings Painted Windows Black depicts throughout its 67 minutes. Musically it's a joyride as they still play their fantastic blend of heavy 70's rock, doom and heavy metal but they have stepped it up a notch. Greg Diener's guitar playing is so perfectly unrestrained; on the one hand he keeps it together in the rhythm department and on the other hand he plays some truly wicked solos and he is jamming out at full blast. Darin McCloskey to me is an old school drummer in the sense that he plays like the great ones from the 70's, Brian Downey and Ian Paice especially comes to mind. It can look and sound simple when in fact his drumming is rather complex, intricate and face-blowingly heavy! And those are the traits of a great muscian, they make it look simple and easy when it really isn't. They are backed up by Jerry Bright on bass guitar and he does a great job keeping the songs in place which allows Greg especially to venture off with his magical solos. Great stuff folks indeed!
When The Prophet, the second song starts, the biggest change with Pale Divine is apparent and that is Greg's voice. He has always been an accomplished singer but both on albums and live he didn't always enunciate words giving a feeling of shyness. A big factor might be that he plays guitar and focus' more on the playing than the singing. This time around though, well all I can say is holy hell!!! He sings with such passion, power and he hits notes I could never have imagined him reaching before. How great that works in The Prophet. The desperation and angst in Greg's voice pulls me in and I really live the song. In fact I live every single song until Painted Windows Black ends. And despite the fact that the album deals with death, loneliness, despair, fear, angst, the end of the world I keep it on repeat. I don't want it to end; I want their music to take me away and comfort me while the lyrics are digging their way through my mind and soul until I am so emotionally drained I'm about to pass out.
Painted Windows Black is one of the most complete albums I have heard in a long long time. There is not a single bad song on it as they all complement each other fantastically well. However, there are three tracks that stand above the rest: Angel Of Mercy, End of Days and Black Coven. And this trio of songs defines all that Pale Divine are. All they've done and accomplished up until now are in these songs...the music, the lyrics, the talent, the emotions and all the evocations they conjur. Whether I'm happy or down Painted Windows Black works equally great and takes me to different places regardless my mood and the visions I see are so beautiful. I can't honestly say the last time an album affected me this much....truly amazing!
If 5 years is what it takes to complete a master piece like Painted Windows Black then let it take that long. I honestly never thought Pale Divine could surpass their previous release, the magnificient Cemetery Earth. Definitely emulate it but not surpass it but they did and then some. And I am very pleased that they proved me wrong. So in that respect half a decade isn't long at all.
Of course as a long time supporter of the band I prefer quicker releases but Painted Windows Black made me see the light finally. Let the band take the time they need because the final result will be mind-blowing as always!
This release is a definite must in any music fan's collection. It's one of those albums that only comes along once every decade or even less! And you, dear reader, are a fool beyond words if you don't pick up a copy of Painted Windows Black.