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Pale Divine: Painted windows black

17/04/12  ||  gk

Americans Pale Divine return from the brink of death with their fourth studio album and first since 2007s “Cemetery Earth”. This album came as a very pleasant surprise to me because I thought Pale Divine were done after the fantastic “Cemetery Earth” but here they are, back with main man and minor guitar deity Greg Diener at the helm and armed with 8 high quality songs.

Pale Divine’s patented brand of doom meets traditional metal was first established on their 1997 demo “Crimson Tears” which has gone on to be quite influential in the doom scene and everything the band has done since then has simply been a refinement of the sound with main man Diener’s guitar playing just getting progressively better with each outing. On “Painted Windows Black” he’s accompanied by co-founder and drummer Darin McCloskey and new recruit Jerry Bright on bass.

The album opens with the instrumental “Nocturne Dementia” which starts strong and surprisingly up tempo before settling into a slow and definitive doom sound around the halfway mark. “Angel of Mercy” is a great song with a memorable chorus and plenty of great lead guitar over the course of nine minutes. “End of Days” follows immediately and is a laid back song with a great chorus and Diener pulls off a pretty good vocal performance here. “Black Coven” harks back to the sound of “Cemetary Earth” with the band mixing the doom with some headbanging heavy metal riffs and it’s a catchy and memorable song. “The Desolate” starts strong but then goes off into the realms of stoner in the lengthy second half with a very improvisational jam feel to the guitar playing and gets a bit boring. “Shadow Soul (The Awakening)” boasting of some very cool bass playing and a superb melodic main riff that manages to pack a punch and a sense of drama. The album closes with the title song and some more melodic classic doom metal for the first half of the song and ends in a classic lead guitar blow out as Diener once again takes centre stage and unleashes some severely good guitar playing over a steady, mid paced riff.

“Painted Windows Black” is a further refinement of the sound that Pale Divine has been practicing for over a decade now. It sounds more focused and determined than “Cemetery Earth” although it does have an occasional tendency to meander and for Diener to play one solo too many. Still, there’s some classy song writing here. Diener’s guitar playing is effortless and McCloskey and Bright make for a very solid rhythm section.

“Painted Windows Black” has a couple of dodgy moments. A couple of songs could have been shorter and some of the lead guitar playing could have been edited out but overall, there’s more than enough great songs on this album for me to overlook the slightly boring parts. If you’re a fan of the traditional American doom metal sound or like anything this band has done previously, then check out “Painted Windows Black”. Doom metal fans will find plenty to like here.

8,5

  • Information
  • Released: 2012
  • Label: Shadow Kingdom Records
  • Website: Pale Divine MySpace
  • Band
  • Greg Diener: vocals, guitars
  • Jerry Bright: bass
  • Darin McCloskey: drums
  • Tracklist
  • 01. Nocturne Dementia
  • 02. The Prophet
  • 03. Angel of Mercy
  • 04. End of Days
  • 05. Black Coven
  • 06. The Desolate
  • 07. Shadow Soul (The Awakening)
  • 08. Painted Windows Black