Iris Divine – Mercurial
Iris Divine is a three-piece progressive metal band from Centreville, Virginia, formed in 2008. To date, they have four full-length records, an EP, a demo, and three singles out. Iris Divine covers a lot of ground when showing off its influences. You will hear everything from Dream Theater to Mudvayne and even bits of Rush and King’s X on this record. Prog lovers will definitely find something to love on this disc!
- Navid Rashid – Vocals/Guitars
- Brian Dobbs – Bass
- Scott Manley – Drums
Release Date: May 20, 2022
- Bitter Bride
- Silver Tongued Lie
- Death By Consensus (Instrumental)
- Negative Seed
- Breaking The Paradigm
There are eight tracks on this record running just under 40 minutes. Right off the bat, we get a bit of the 80s shining through. “Bitter Bride” is a romp through the ages. You can hear the old and the modern. What is clear, having only three members is not an issue for this trio. They create tons of sound and have a massive sound. The tempo and tone shifts are prog at its’ finest. There is a nice bit of grit in the vocals. This gives the sound even more texture. The chugging rhythm at the end is pretty spectacular. The riff drives to the end, and the drop-off is killer.
Keeping the theme of excellent riff work, “Silver Tongued Lie” is again a heavy, driving song. The chorus changes the pace and the tone, giving an airier sound to the song before the Mudvayne style bass signifies another shift. Those shifts and turns are exquisite. The vocals go higher in pitch and get some nice, lofty cleans, especially in the chorus.
“Thirteen” takes an almost sludge metal tempo at the onset but ramps up a bit after the intro. At just over seven minutes, this is the longest song on the disc and has some keyboards layered in, beefing up the song as a whole. The bass lead before the first verse is pretty tasty, assisting with yet another shift. Iris Divine executes those shifts with precision and accuracy. These guys probably made Tool perk up and take notice. They change tempo and tone that well.
For a change of pace, they go instrumental for “Death By Consensus.” They go even farther afield in how they approach the twists and turns they throw at you. There is a bit of a Mudvayne/Primus mash-up in the bass line. The guitars are everywhere, and the drums go off the rails. There is a definite Rush feel from the 2112 era in the middle section. When I think I have figured out their pattern, they change everything up and throw me for a loop. I love when that happens.
“Breaking The Paradigm” throws a bit of middle eastern music into the mix. The Arabic tones and phrases are an excellent setting for the later rhythm. This is a hard-driving song that is all over the map. There are elements of modern metal on this one as well. It’s just in how some of the shifts happen. Don’t blink; you might miss them.
Wrapping up the disc is the title track, “Mercurial.” There are more Arabic elements, including the female vocalizations. There is a haunted feel to some of the opening tones. The whispered phrases are dark, eerie. The riff is heavy, and the rhythm is again almost sludgy. This is a dark, mysterious song. I love the feelings of dread I get just hearing those tones. The ambient vocalizations strewn throughout are utterly captivating. This track will be a favored earworm, haunting my thoughts for weeks to come.
There is nothing standard or predictable about this album. You need to listen to it on loop for a day or two just to appreciate the compositions’ complexity. This album impressed me from the first moments and held my attention through the fade-out of the last track. There are a lot of technical elements on this record that really give it an epic sound. This is definitely one for the memory banks.
- Guitars – 10
- Rhythms – 10
- Vocals – 9
- Songwriting – 9
- Production – 9
- Overall – 9.40