Given birth at the turn of the decade by two old school friends, Divine Regale has been maturing away from the spotlight in Dover, NH, and now finally unleashes a debut album which promises to shake to all who think they know what American progressive rock is all about.
The sounds themselves are not unexpected, but the way they are crafted together make Divine Regale stand out from the masses. They're a progressive band ruled by songwriting discipline, more inclined to craft great tunes and memorable hooks than to instrumentally meander. "Some bands go on forever," sighs drummer Anderson. "It's like, end the damn song will you?"
"Everyone has their own idea of what progressive means," he continues. "For us it's not about instrumentals and elaborate technical stuff - although sometimes that's what we will do - but simply means not doing the expected, not locking ourselves into a box. That's what we learned from bands like Queensryche - keep throwing those curve balls!"
With this philosophy in mind, the band's material - principally written by Anderson in conjunction with the two guitarists Elliott and Leighton, and keyboard player Keazer (with vocalist Hill contributing to the lyrics) - is now written around the lyrics rather than putting tunes together from jam sessions and then adding the words later. In this way the band has learned that an emotional context can be established first, and then a tune can be written to compliment it.
Early compositions followed this path, and were enough to secure a hardcore following for the band. Earning them rave reviews in the press (not least a full seven out of seven rating from Germany's influential Metal Hammer) and spurring healthy sales of a five song CD the band released in 1993. Encouraged by this initial success the band recorded more material, and "Cry To Heaven" was included on Metal Massacre XII; reaction to the tune ensured Metal Blade Records paid close attention to the band from then on and once the rough mixes of Ocean Mind reached the label, a deal quickly ensued.
Ocean Mind actually marks a period of transition fro the band, which continues to write material with future albums in mind. Recorded over a period of two years, the older material, "Horizon" and "Underworld", contrasts with newer tunes like "Shadowed Words Forgotten", exemplifying the way the band is growing. The older tunes still (and always will) belong but the newer material stands as start evidence of the band's progression. New influences are continually being brought to bear (Hogarth-era Marillion is a relatively new fixation, for example) and new ideas are absorbed in a process which will continue endlessly throughout the life of the band.