Divine Ascension’s third full length is an intense album, and it’s packed with both technical prowess and the workings of great showmanship. The Aussie foursome has shown growth throughout their albums, no more so here. The Uncovering is set with a dark atmosphere, and a gloomy sense of hopelessness. The individual song structure and outlay remains fairly uniform throughout the album, as the songs are pretty similar to each other. This of course has both a good side and a bad side; the good side being that the album feels very much like the concept album it is, while the bad side is that it feels somewhat repetitive. The quality of the songwriting and the precision and passion on display in the musicianship however outweighs the bad side, since even though it’s slightly repetitive and a song or two might be cut, it’s still an overall very enjoyable listen.
The guys certainly have big, powerful choruses covered, as almost every song on here just blows away in that department, but that’s never the sole focus. Opening track Evermore is a fairly slow affair, progressive and groovy in rhythm, but big and melodic in the lead section, with Jennifer Borg’s vocals and the vocal melodies shining atop. Tom Englund (Evergrey, Redemption) makes a guest appearance on Pursuit of Desire. While Borg needs no help to hold things up on her own, Englund adds another dimension and another layer, which adds to the overall feel; his style fits the music entirely and it’s just a shame he’s not on more of the album. Other tracks, like Beyond the Line and major highlight Bittersweet Divide have that gloomy feel and bring the feel to a high point, atmospheric and technically proficient alike, with Borg especially delivering great performances.
The riffs are clear and crisp all throughout, and Karl Szulik pulls some incredible leads that are as flashy as they are technichally proficient. The Fallen definitely stands out as a mention in that regard, with that neat intro and the mid passage, as well as New World which is just melodic sweetness from Szulik’s part. The guitars are definitely among the highlights, along with the keyboards always taking a prominent role, and always battling the guitars in swift solo duels or slower, atmospheric lead parts as in Prisoner or Revolution Phase. There’s something decidedly somber about the album, set in the lyrics, the theme, and the atmosphere, but it’s never to the album’s detriment; it’s wholly fitting. Divine Ascension have really come into their own with this album. It shows not only how they’ve grown from their previous efforts, but it’s also a great effort overall in the symphonic progpower genre. Overall, The Uncovering is a very strong album, and I can only see Divine Ascension going up from here.
Standout tracks: Evermore, Revolution Phase, Beyond the Line, Bittersweet Divide