Reviews: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Divinefire - Farewell
Musical Style: Symphonic Power Metal Produced By: Jani Stefanovic & Christian Liljegren
Record Label: Rivel Country Of Origin: Sweden & Finland
Year Released: 2008 Artist Website: Divinefire
Tracks: 9 Rating: 85%
Running Time: 43:53

Divinefire - Farewell

Divinefire, as I am sure most of you reading this are aware, has decided to call it quits following the release of its fourth – and appropriately entitled – album Farewell.  The group can trace its history back to 2004 when it was formed by vocalist Christian Liljegren (Narnia) and drummer/guitarist Jani Stefanovic (Sins Of Omission & Renascent).  Soon adding bassist Andreas Olsson (Narnia) to its line up, Divinefire put out its full length debut, Glory Thy Name, in early 2005 before returning later the same year with the sophomore outing HeroInto A New Dimension, the bands third recording, followed in 2006 and Farewell the summer of 2008.

Divinefire is renowned for combining elements of the melodic and the extreme and Farewell proves no exception.  If anything, the album places added emphasis on both with the end result being one of the groups most well rounded efforts to date.  You will find, for example, the extreme vocals (handled by Christian’s brother Hubertus Liljegren) now playing the more pronounced role- as opposed to a background or behind the scenes role as found on the bands previous releases.  The likes of “Unity”, “You Will Never Walk Away” and “Grow And Follow” find Hubertus “growling” on an entire verse (or two) while Christian’s smooth sounding touch takes over the rest of the way.  The catchy “Pass The Flame”, classy “My Roots Are Strong” and frenetic “King Of Kings”, in contrast, head in a more melodic direction in featuring vocals on the “clean” side of things.  The twelve minute epic “Heal Me” even mixes extreme elements with a tasteful touch of the progressive.

I do not think I am out of line by stating that on Farewell Christian Liljegren puts forth his finest vocal performance of his career.  What sets him apart in comparison to his past work – irregardless of band or project – is the all out emotion (and if I may say so- passion) to his delivery.  On “My Roots Are Strong”, which features the line Even through my failures/You’re always there for me, you cannot help but get the feeling this is something the artist has directly experienced (in terms of faith) and not just empty words on paper.  When “Heal Me” reaches its zenith with the words Dear God be close to me/Take all my burdens/I want to be free the emotion of the moment cannot help but send shivers down your spine.  All in all, what we have here is an artist who, for a lack of better words, has gone through the fire, and as a result, is digging in his heals and standing firm in the faith.  I do not know about you, but I am inspired.

Jani Stefanovic, as always, performs capably on drums, rhythm guitar and keyboards- not to mention playing a prominent role in the albums songwriting.  Carl Johan Grimmark (Narnia) handles all lead guitar duties, best displaying his top of the line soloing abilities on “Unity”, “Grow And Follow” and “My Roots Are Strong In Your”.

Production values do not disappoint in reflecting the same high stands found on Divinefire’s three previous albums.

Farewell gets underway to “Calling The World”, a mini (2:12) instrumental carried its distance by orchestration, pounding drums and cinematic keyboards.

“Unity” is as energetic and inspired track as you will find.  Immediately kicking in at a raucous upbeat tempo, the song rollicks ahead until breaking out for a hook driven chorus focusing on unity in the body of Christ:

Unity – a strong community
Unity in the body of Christ
Unity – a strong community
Unity in the body of Christ

Following a stretch of fiery lead guitar from Grimmark, “Unity” briefly tapers for a piano driven passage featuring narration from Psalm 31:1, 3-5.

“You Will Never Walk Away” represents a near perfect joining of the melodic and the extreme.  The song slams through its first two verses as Hubertus’ growls away, not evening out until Christian’s more even delivery puts in place a contrasting environs for the emotionally charged chorus that follows.  Divinefire makes a statement of faith on this one:

The Prince of Peace
I proclaim Your name
For all the good things You have done
I’ll never be the same

Your heavenly Kingdom
We’re together as one
There’s no separation
All praise to the Son

The melodic “Pass The Flame” gives rise to a near Narnia-like feel.  Every bit as heavy as it is polished, the song stands out with its near mesmerizing chorus (great hook here) and abundance of symphonic mid-tempo impetus.  Keyboards play a prominent but perfectly complementary role.  “Pass The Flame” expands upon the lyrical direction taken on “Unity”:

We’re calling the world now!
Together, we pass the flame
United forever!
Together we pass the flame
We pass the flame
We pass the flame

“Grow And Follow” commences fast and furious to pounding drums before plowing through its first verse to more of Hubertus’ aggressive tendencies.  An abrupt time change is made, however, as the song transitions to a luxurious chorus augmented by Christian’s more refined touch.  Quite the compelling – but heavy duty – piece.  Grimmark adds one of the albums finer runs of lead guitar to a song delivering the salvation message:

No, it’s never too late to live
To begin again
No, it’s never too late to live
Never, never too late
He has a purpose for you
Take Him in and you will grow
On God’s team we all belong
Even you!!!

“My Roots Are Strong In You” proves a classy number that finds Christian reinforcing the “roots” of his faith:

My roots are strong in You
Your words are true
Divine promises from the living book
You live inside my house
My roots are strong in You
Your words are true
Through darkness into Your holiness
My roots are strong in You

Musically, the song captures many of the more melodic aspects to the bands sound (sort of like “Pass The Flame”) with its graceful tempo and chorus hook on the gripping side of things- you will be challenged to keep this one out of your head.  Another run of radiant lead guitar from Grimmark.

Quintessential Divinefire, “King Of Kings” joins a plethora of energy laden impetus with a crunch flavored rhythm guitar and symphonic based chorus that comes across worshipful in nature:

King of Kings
Lord of Lords
I hear the song
My spirit is strong
No more death and suffering
Joy to the world!
He’s risen; all is done

Quite the moving vocal performance from Christian helps but this one over the top.

The twelve minute “Heal Me” ranks with “Never Surrender” and “The Spirit” (both off Glory Thy Name) as the best compositions put together by Divinefire.  The song finds the group adding some creative progressive tendencies, reflected in its time changes galore and frequent excursions into instrumental territory.  Without overwhelming you with detail, “Heal Me” begins its first four minutes trading off between passages of an extreme variety and others giving rise to a more tempered feel.  The next five, satisfyingly, are mostly instrumental with the exception of a vocal interlude featuring a faith based profession from Christian:

My mind is tired
I need to rest
I need Your power
For the final test

Can’t force the process
I can’t speed it up
You’re in charge of my life now
I leave it all in Your hands

“Heal Me” closes out its final minutes in the same poignant lyrical manner – I don’t want to crash anymore/Lord give me hope to carry on – while adding one final instrumental section heading in a cool fusion-based-jam-band direction.

The album ends with its title track, another brief (2:17) instrumental shored up by militant drums and symphonic keyboards.

The best way to sum up would be to state that Divinefire ends its four year history strongly with Farewell.  Nothing better than to make your last project one of your best- from the songwriting, to the lead vocals and lead guitar, to the lyrics Farewell represents an album worth adding to your collection.  The only thing left to say is that even though the joining of Christian Liljegren and Jani Stefanovic was a short one it did not lack in its moments of greatness.

Track Listing: “Calling The World” (2:12), “Unity” (4:27), “You Will Never Walk Away” (4:14), “Pass The Flame” (4:50), “Grow And Follow” (4:46), “My Roots Are Strong In You” (4:22), “King Of Kings” (4:24) , “Heal Me” (12:22) , “Farewell” (2:17)

Christian Liljegren – Lead Vocals
Jani Stefanovic – Drums, Rhythm Guitar, Keyboards & Programming
Andreas Olsson – Bass

Guest Musicians
Carl Johan Grimmark – Lead Guitar & Acoustic Guitar
Hubertus Liljegren – Growls
Mats Levens – Backing Vocals

Also Reviewed: Divinefire – Glory Thy Name, Divinefire - Hero, Divinefire – Into A New Dimension, Audiovision – The Calling, Essence Of Sorrow – Reflections Of The Obscure, Flagship – Maiden Voyage, Mehida – Blood & Water, Narnia – The Great Fall, Narnia – At Short Notice, Narnia – Enter The Gate, Narnia – Decade Of Confession, Wisdom Call – Wisdom Call


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