Vision Divine
The Perfect Machine

Let’s put aside for the moment the overly complicated concept about DNA mapping and molecular regeneration on Vision Divine’s fourth album and just focus on the music. Timo Tolkki of Stratovarius fame steps into the producer’s chair here and takes the band in more of a prog direction than their previous power metal outings, and the result is an enjoyable record, even if it falls short of its lofty goals.The Perfect Machine is not a major shift from what you’ve heard previously from Vision Divine, but it is slightly more varied and complex than the first three records. The band does a lot of blending of aggressive riffing from guitarists Olef Thorsen and Federico Puleri with softer, prog verses. Keyboard player Oleg Smirnoff gets a little more of a free rein than I like in an album, but it’s not overbearing. The downside here is that when I hear the riffing on the title track, “The Ancestor’s Blood,” “God is Dead,” I want to hear more of that, but instead I’m dropped off into Dream Theater territory. It’s still good stuff, but I really like the riffing.

Like most music in this style, the band is better on the faster songs. When they trip into ballad territory, the songs tend to get a little overwrought and melodramatic. That’s certainly the case on “Rising Sun” and “Here in 6048,” which reminds me of Warrant. That’s never a good thing. Never, ever, fucking ever.

They recover from that slump with another one of those big riffs on “The River,” which is on a more solid power metal footing similar to the band’s past work. The record comes to a strong close with the military-march riffing of “Now That You’ve Gone.” I do wish the band would have put more balls in that opening guitar riff, but it’s still one of the strongest efforts here. The jazzy runs about three-quarters of the way through the song are a nice touch, too.

Now, back to that concept. I know a lot of power metal fans love the concept album, and I like it, too, but the concept can get away from you (like when you need a couple of paragraphs of liner notes in front of each song to explain what’s going on). Still, Vision Divine handles it well here, and the album works as a whole without any knowledge of the concept or the liner notes.

The Perfect Machine isn’t awe-inspiring, but it is a very strong blend of prog and power. Fans of both styles should find something to like here.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Fred Phillips
April 23rd, 2006

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