Where Iris Divine's previous album Karma Sown (2015, see review) was released by Sensory, the successor The Static And The Noise is realized by a Kickstarter funding. But that is not the only thing that has changed; the band's music also have made a big move towards a more alternative style. This doesn't mean the progressive rock aspect has been thrown overboard, but on The Static And The Noise the band is focussing more on powerful tracks, more screams and nasty guitars than before. What absolutely remains are the brilliant vocals of guitarist Navid Rashid; his renowned voice still impresses me every time, no matter which style his music is in. But let's not forget both bass player Brian Dobbs and drummer, keyboard player and programmer Kris Combs; two very talented musicians who are in my point of view essential for the band's progression and sound and co-responsible for another very fine album.
The album kicks off with a powerful in your face riff that introduces one of the fines voices in the scene. Catalyst is not only a heavy track, but the diversity within the song marks a true Iris Divine composition. Like on the previous record, Navid proves he is a total master of vocal melody lines. Grabbing your attention, but creating a recognizable catchy element as well. After two runs you are shouting along with the lingering vocal parts. Taking Back The Fall is another powerhouse, riffs with a delicate Tremonti feel. Again the so well chosen lyrics and vocal lines make this track stand out. “Doesn't matter anyway” can be heard loudly in my living room, while I am listening; eyes closed, headphone on. The power the rhythm section provides is fantastic, vocals and guitars delicately work around those two gifted musicians. One of the highlights on the album is called Echoes / Effigies. Over six minutes of solid riffs, wonderful vocals, a subtle piano that peaks around the corner and again the vocal lines that impress and the sound of a massive bass. Prog meets alternative in optima forma, guitar solo included. Fractures is, at some points a Korn influenced track, that totally outclasses the Jonathan Davis led band. Just for the fact Navid has a much wider range and vocally is much more capable. Power and speed are cranked up when The Static And The Noise continues. Like Glass is more delicate and is marked with some funky bass lines. Navid's vocals show a raw form of emotion on this one. The Acolyte fuses an Alter Bridge part with Stone Sour elements and definitely adds their own flavour to it. A flavour that is blended by three outstanding musicians. The final track We All Dissolve is a more mid-tempo song, that gently gains on power. Spoken words and haunting guitars take you through this track, in a way the most progressive of the album. But you'll have to listen to that yourself to judge.
I was totally surprised by Iris Divine's previous record and after listening to The Static And The Noise the first time and noticed the slight shift towards les prog oriented music, I definitely had to push repeat and start listening with a different mind-set. The second spin totally convinced me that Iris Divine are just an amazing band that I love to play over and over again. And I will!
***** Pedro Bekkers (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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