Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Pale Divine-Cemetery Earth

Shadow Kingdom Records

Pennsylvania's Pale Divine originally released "Cemetery Earth" back in 2007. Now, seven years after the fact, Shadow Kingdom Records has done the band (and frankly all of their fans as this sounds downright dynamite!) right with this remastered, jam-packed double-CD reissue. Active since 1995 (and sporting a cool sound that is equal parts proto-doom and 70's psychedelic rock/hard rock!) the band first hit the scene two years later with their demo, "Crimson Tears". From there came the group's debut full-length album, "Thunder Perfect Mind" (2001), with "Eternity Revealed" following in 2004 and then finally "Cemetery Earth" landed in 2007. The group's latest release (2012's "Painted Windows Black") is their forth full-length album overall with a 2011 split with Spiritus Mortis having appeared in-between album number three and album number four. For a more thorough history of the band though be sure to head on over to the group's Facebook page linked below. Meanwhile let's turn our attention back to the subject at hand. With regards to "Cemetery Earth" (which was recorded between June and September of 2006 interestingly enough) the band members themselves consider it to be their "best sounding and most metallic effort to date". As I haven't heard the rest of Pale Divine's catalog for myself I can't exactly vouch for that, but it would be hard to imagine that any of it could have surged with the kind of power that this one did! I would also be rather amazed if any of the group's previous (or even later day) material hit the kind of highs that this 2007 album did as "Cemetery Earth", all ten original tracks of it, is masterful psych-doom! With bass guitarist John Gaffney (now in Sinister Realm) joining in for this one sole album the band (guitarist/vocalist/keyboardist Greg Diener and drummer Darin McCloskey who are both founding members) hit all the right moves with their sound (drawn from influences such as Black Sabbath, Trouble, Pentagram, Candlemass, Witchfinder General, Angel Witch, Judas Priest and Iron Maiden) perfectly reflecting everything there is to love about proto-doom to begin with! Having snagged engineer Chris Kozlowski for the album (a decision that proved to be more then a little bit beneficial for the group I must say!) and with bass guitarist John Gaffney (at the time of course) bringing his own ability (incl. songwriting!) to the party "Cemetery Earth" proved to be quite the success with more then a few (highly applicable) rave reviews! Now, I could cut my own path through this album, even track by track. But really there are LOADS in of great reviews already out there of the original release. Other then saying that the re-mastered sound is fantastic on this re-release (and man alive but is it ever!) I'll just leave that part (incidentally disc one of this two CD set) as homework should you really need to know. I way say that it is killer doom metal/psychedelic rock along the lines of bands like Black Sabbath, Pentagram and (to a lesser extent) Trouble. Only with  Pale Divine there are heaping handfuls of traditional heavy metal riffs and some tasty N.W.O.B.H.M. tidbits to beyond! Now, as for the second disc? Well, seeing as it's made up the group's "Demo 2006", rehearsal and live tracks and I do realize that might none of that really sounds all that exciting on paper right? But, there is a bright spot my friends! I'd say it's worth it just for the band's live cover of  "I’ve Been Around Too Long"! Originally written and performed by the Scottish band Marmalade (a rather diverse band in their own right as their music ranged from pop rock to psychedelic/blues such as the surprisingly heavy "I’ve Been Around Too Long"!) it works SO WELL for Pale Divine that one has to wonder why they haven't attempted a studio rendition of it? It's not as if the group is immune to cover songs (seeing as they have covered Pentagram, Candelmass and Deep Purple in the past and all that jazz!) so I do have to wonder why not cover this rocker for real? Otherwise disc two, which features the track list posted below, is fine in it's own right. It's true that having the demo versions of a couple of these tracks is rather sweet as they are different enough to prove interesting, but I'll be honest here here and just state for the record that I would buy this set just for that choice cover (and of course disc one's much improved sound!). That's just me though. Anyway, disc two features the following tracks and yes, I'm marking this set down as sure-fire winner!
Disc two track list:

1. Eyes of Destiny
2. Broken Wings
3. Cemetery Earth
4. (I Alone) The Traveller
5. Fire and Ice
Live from Howlers Coyote Café; Pittsburgh, PA 6-21-2011:
6. (I Alone) The Traveller
7. Soul Searching
8. I’ve Been Around Too Long (Marmalade cover)

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