The Blood Divine was a crappy band from the mid 90s who had the distinct ability of being able to take the worst elements of goth, doom, and speed/progressive metal and combine them into something that sucks even more. No one would have ever heard of the band if its members hadn’t had ties to other, bigger bands (Cradle of Filth and Anathema). The band released two studio albums, 1996’s Awaken and 1997’s Mystica, and broke up in 1998, which makes the timing of 2002’s Rise Pantheon Dreams (a greatest hits package) almost as strange as the band itself.
For those not familiar with The Blood Divine, every song on this disc contains two or three major style changes, usually performed abruptly. “Aureole”, the CD’s opening track, starts with 90 seconds of goth keyboards, morphs into a fairly straight forward rock song, and ends with some fairly heavy keyboard goth tones. “Wilderness” swings back and forth between goth and doom, until the end where the song picks up a thrash-like groove. The only two songs that stick to a single style are “Forever Belongs” (1:52) and “Revolt” (1:31).
Worse than the jumbled songs is the mix, which pushes the vocals and keyboards so loud in the mix that it’s almost a joke. The keyboards are gloomy, doomy, and over the top, and while they’re cheesy and loud, and least they were played well. Darren J. White’s vocals are a different story. The vocals are generally loud, layered with too much echo, and just bad. I am serious, when you first hear White singing you will start laughing. He’s better when he’s “just talking gloomily into the mic”, but he’s best when he shuts up altogether.
The music is average for this type of music (whatever that is). The guitars go back and forth between classic crunchy riffs and black metal type solos effortlessly. The drums are pushed back a bit, and the bass is totally drowned out in the mix. As I already stated, the vocals and keyboards are so loud that whenever you hear anything besides them it sounds pretty good.
The disc contains a couple of unreleased, limited, and live tracks, so I guess if you’re a closet Blood Divine fan who has been sitting around crying because you’ve never been able to find a live version of “Aureole” (yes, it appears on the disc twice), you can finally relax. Of course, if you’re already a fan of the Blood Divine, you most likely have their two studio albums, from which most of this material was pulled. And if you’re not a fan, you won’t be buying this.
Rise Pantheon Dreams is a compilation that takes its listeners on a journey that starts with “suck” and ends with “ass”. If you are one of the band’s twenty fans who’ve been depressed ever since The Blood Divine broke up five years ago, and don’t have their previous two albums, then rush right out and pick up this amalgamation. Otherwise, stick with Anathema, Cradle of Filth, December Moon, and My Dying Bride.
02. Visions In Blue
03. As Rapture Fades
04. Revolt (Previously Unreleased)
06. Sensual Ecstasy
07. Enhanced By Your Touch
08. I Will Bleed
09. The Passion Reigns
10. Leaving Me Helpless
11. Forever Belongs (Previously Unreleased)
12. So Serene
13. Crazy Horses (Live)
14. Aureole (Live)