Divided Sky
"Spectral"

(DividedSkyMusic 2002) Divided Sky - Spectral

It seems as though musicians and bands rarely stick to a specific sound anymore. Albums that stay with one sound the entire time sometimes can be boring. But the line is fine and jumping around too much shows a lack of focus or that the band does not know what they want to sound like. On first impression, Divided Sky might appear a heavy metal or hard rock band, but at closer inspection you see there is much more there. Their excellent instrumentation offers a variety in the way of sound, such as racing metal guitar riffs, orchestral aimed sections as well as thumping bass, along with some heavy drumming, that keep the rhythm alive.

Divided Sky segment the album with three songs. At the beginning of the album is "Spectral I"; the sixth of eleven tracks is "Spectral II"; the album's final track is "Spectral III." With that said, each is slightly different in sound and tone, conveying a different feeling. "Spectral I," eerie but industrial, opens the album with churning sounds reminiscent of My Vitriol and segue ways into "Grasp" well. With a long intro that is heavy and well executed, distorted vocals kick in and remind of many of the hard rock songs currently receiving airplay. Opening quietly but becoming a nice and heavy riff driving sound, "Missing Persons" has extended instrumentation and reminds of Tool during the verses. Divided Sky sound less loud on the quieter and more intense "Diminishing Returns," which has jazzy and classical sounding instrumentation despite overdone vocals.

Returning to a louder hard rock sound, "Numb" is full of non-stop guitar before "Spectral II" enters, but with less of an eerie tone than its predecessor, and then the spacey instrumental "Aura." Quiet, jazzy and toned down, "Summer By Twilight" offers a different side of Divided Sky, as does "Lifestream" with its rhythmic Dave Matthews Band sort of verses. The album's penultimate track, "Images" is orchestral and wide spanning, offering four movements -- "Creation," "Evolution," "Ascension," and "Departure." "Spectral III" closes the album with a return to the eerie side, less churning industrial sounds, offering instead whizzing, buzzing sounds.

Throughout the album, Divided Sky keeps you interested, even during the quiet instrumentals. Although the vocals sometimes seem to be trying too hard, the album's excellent instrumentation is the driving force. Sometimes metal, sometimes hard rock and sometimes heavy metal ambient, Divided Sky stay focused and still offer a mixture of sounds in "Spectral."

B+