Qumran Records/No Dust Records
Review by Rick Ossian
This five-piece outfit from Northwest Chicago have been out there for a while now. They were formed in 2009, and released their debut in 2013, entitled A World Torn. They also played Prog Power XIV in 2013. This LP, Terminal, is their sophomore effort. Divinity Compromised features Lothar Keller (The Skull) on vocals, Andy Bunk on bass, Ben Johnson on guitars and keyboards, Mike Mousel on drums and Jeff Treadwell on lead guitars.
First up is the title track, and it is a powerful number featuring Kayla Dixon (Helion Prime, Witch Mountain) on vocals. There is, of course, a YouTube video, as it is the lead-off single as well as being the lead-off track.
Shelter in Place is a good uptempo track, with lots of riffing and a bit of spooky, vampiresque vocals (a la Type O Negative). The engine room is busy, with big bass runs and lots of double bass drumming. There is also some lovely piano and a sort of rap/spoken word section. There are also guests on this number, namely The Sinful Dwarfs.
My Escape begins life with a beautiful piano intro, acoustic guitars and gentle vocals. This is sort of a wandering journeyman number, with some bluesy elements and some nice shredding along the way. It doesn’t really kick in at first, but when it does it does so very nicely.
The Definition of Insanity is next on the docket, and this one is a bit longer than the majority of the tracks. Most are six minutes or so, and this one is 7-plus. It starts out with the pedal to the metal, with some excellent riffing and some almost growly vocals. This is potent stuff, with a nice squealing shred about half-way through. More spoken word stuff, this time vaguely political (a la Queensryche).
The Last Refugee is another hard-charger, sort of symphonic at times. On board here we have another special guest, one Paul Kuhr (November’s Doom). Again we have some growly vocals, almost bordering on Cookie Monster fare. When they mix these with the clean, or straight, vocals, it seems to do pretty well. This one reminded me of Pagan’s Mind or even Symphony X. The piano/vocal closing bit resonates nicely.
Free to Speak features a wicked main riff and some pretty cool, pretty much straight forward rock. Lots of big bass work and symphonic background, as well as some good shredding on the lead guitar section. This is prog metal at its finest, folks. I have heard better, but not by much.
Legacy starts out with a somber piano intro and some string action – sounds like violins, but is most likely keyboards. This one is very intense but very mellow. The vocal parts once again reminded me of an older Queensryche. The arrangement is also beautiful in its orchestration. The lead guitar parts are of a bluesy nature, for the most part, but still some serious shredding involved.
The Fall of istoria has lots of power and features much more of the double-bass drum slamming and lots of big, symphonic riffs. Great vocals and excellent guitar work as well.
Saving Grace is the big finale. At just over eight minutes in length, it overpowers the other tracks with sheer force alone. It starts out kind of slow and determined, but very powerful and potent. Haunting vocals again, as well as lots of big bass, drums and guitar – and all at the same time! There are no less than three separate guitar solos, which is very cool in my opinion. There is never any shortage of guitar on this collection, by the way.
In short, if you are a big fan of prog metal, and you lean toward the direction of a bit heavier fare, than this is definitely for you.