Power Dive is the second album from German symphonic metal act Voices of Destiny. The style of the album more specifically draws on gothic metal and power metal within the dominantly symphonic sound, using the beauty and the beast vocal format. The album was released in 2012.
Now I consider symphonic metal to be one of my favourite styles of metal, especially the female fronted bands, but deep down I’m also highly critical of the genre, especially the female fronted bands. The reason? Repetition. There are not many bands that really manage to hold my attention now that I’ve got acquainted with a wide range of acts. In fact although I guess some may argue, I don’t think you can beat the big name acts of the style at their own game, and that’s exactly the problem with Voices of Destiny’s second album. It’s my first encounter with the band, and while I won’t go as far to say that it will be my last, the band is young and all and as they do show later in the album may have something surprising up their sleeves for the future, Power Dive isn’t an album that makes me want to revisit it in a hurry.
If you’ve heard Epica’s music then you’ll know kind of what to expect with Voices of Destiny, except what we have here comes across not so much an Epica clone act as a poor man’s version of them. The band’s best asset would have to be female vocalist Maike Holzmann, whose vocals are very typical of the style but that’s why she’s the band’s best asset. She’s just right for the style, it’s just everything else going on around her that typically lets her down badly for the majority of Power Dive. Her male counterpart Lukas Palme, who is also the keyboardist, is not a bad growler at all, but he just doesn’t put on a performance that really offsets Maike Holzmann’s vocals. The symphonic keyboards don’t really add a lot to the music either in most of the tracks. You can hear them in the background having their odd moments, but there’s no epic fusion of heavy guitar riffs and classical music and when symphonic metal fails to be epic, unless it has other redeeming features, I typically just lose interest and sadly that’s just what has happened on Power Dive. It’s not really rare for me to be a bit disappointed in symphonic metal albums due to not really bringing anything new to the table, but many of them can end up still being solid albums. It is rare however for me to be as disappointed though as I am with this one.
The reason for that is that the songs just aren’t memorable. The elements are there, but they just don’t come together. The title track in particular is just the most extremely boring symphonic metal song I think I’ve ever heard. Things pick up a bit after that, as a bit of power metal influence comes into play, but it takes until Dedication, which is the eighth of eleven tracks, until I really hear something that tells me that Voices of Destiny have potential within their field. I actually enjoyed this track a fair bit. An album that kept up this calibre may not have been groundbreaking or innovative but it at least would have been a solid addition to a symphonic metal fan’s collection. Unfortunately you probably don’t need to be told that if you have to wait until the eighth track to get a highlight then the album has serious problems.
But what’s this? That’s right after suddenly delivering the good eight tracks in Voices of Destiny surprise me and do in again straight away with Your Hands. It’s too a lesser degree certainly but after what I just about got used to pre-Dedication this is surprising to say the least. This was a reason for pointedly saying ‘mostly’ and ‘majority’ a couple of times in the earlier stages of this review. I find it totally flummoxing how an artist can get it wrong for so long during an album and then suddenly start delivering the goods this far in. Yeah you guessed it, they did it yet again with Red Winter's Snow I (Prophets Of Doom). Okay, so it still kind of suffers with the issues outlined earlier in this review but at the end of the day this is damn solid symphonic metal, and ultimately that’s all I really demand of the genre. Innovation is very nice of course, but if a symphonic metal album can be made up of solid material with an epic sound then I’ll be a happy bunny.
It just makes me want to scream at the injustice of it all. Had the whole album been of the quality they suddenly pulled out of the hat towards the end we’d have been talking a recommendable release, but ultimately all Voices of Destiny proved with Power Dive is how inconsistent they are. It didn’t help that you could break the album up into sections such as ‘Cliché Intro Track’, ‘Really Boring Track’, ‘Okay Tracks’, ‘Great Tracks’ and ‘Just as Cliché Outro Track’. Really Voices of Destiny had enough material for a decent EP here, which it may as well be with so much filler within the album in one solid block. Even one more great track could have just about pushed Power Dive into purely average territory, since Maike Holzmann really does shine vocally, but with far more average to bad stuff outweighing the good stuff, I ultimately have to consider this a below average symphonic metal release.
(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven(http://metaltube.freeforums.org))