Non-Divine - Asylum 45 review
01. One Man, One Soul
02. In Shame
03. New Die-hard Vampire
06. Mended Doll
07. Love Loss
08. Return To Zero
Get a cauldron, chuck in equal parts Life, Sex & Death, non thrash Metallica, later Sentenced, and later Amorphis, add a pinch of Queensrÿche, King's X and Galactic Cowboys. Bring it all to the boil, turn down the heat, let it simmer under the supervision of Jacob Hansen for a couple of hours. And serve. A dish served best without any preconceptions, called Non-Divine - Asylum 45.
It's hearty, exotic and along the lines of modern day cooking… fusion of many a style. To my palate at least it is nothing short of divine.
Rusty Cage Records have managed to surprise me once again with a very good and solid debut, or dare I even say it… great debut, by a promising Dutch band. However, Non-Divine aren't an unknown entity in the Dutch metal scene having won the Metal Bash 2005. Okay, it did take them about a year to unleash their debut concept album upon the world, but it was certainly worth the wait. Superbly produced by Jacob Hansen (Raunchy, Mercenary, Communic amongst others) we are overwhelmed by, easily, one of the best debuts to come out of The Netherlands in quite a couple of years.
Asylum 45 is a concept album. It covers the lives of several patients in a psychiatric hospital. It's not so much a chronological story but more of a book consisting of ten short stories.
As can be gathered from the opening of this review it's musically a hotchpotch, but never loses track of the central red sound line. Every song I did however have that single moment of: "Hey that reminds me of…" but never in such a way that it became annoying. Clearly there are influences popping up, like some vocal melodies in some choruses reminding me of King's X/Galactic Cowboys and in the verses of later Sentenced and later Amorphis. The instrumental Love Loss interlude possessing those Queensrÿche acoustic qualities, Sleep being characterised by the subdued tension which is also present in Metallica's version of Turn The Page. Metallica's presence is omnipresent throughout Asylum 45 in the groove of the guitar. All in all, Asylum 45 is a great piece of melodic metal which captures one's attention for start to finish due to the many variations in sound, and already possesses a clear Non-Divine signature making it hard to pinpoint all the influences present. It grooves, it rocks, and it swings. Can't wait to hear and see how this come across live.
Damn, the 40 minutes are up already. Okay, put the stereo on repeat and enjoy again.
All in all, I think I have just heard THE debut album of 2007 already and well established acts in the melodic metal scene will also be hard pressed to top Non-Divine's Asylum 45 this year. Releases such as this one make me proud to be Dutch. I know that I might be raving like a madman here, but it has been a long long long time since I was this enthusiastic about a debut album (be it Dutch or from any other country in the world) and especially about a melodic metal debut album. With the right sort of promotion this band can become big. Hopefully the band can capitalise on the impact which certainly will be generated by this album.
Stand-out tracks: all of them…
but depending on my mood swings One Man, One Soul, Sleep, Return To Zero.
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