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Pale Divine - Cemetery Earth (Reissue)

Pale Divine
Cemetery Earth (Reissue)
by Mike McMahan at 08 August 2021, 4:05 AM

Pennsylvania’s own Doom Metal sons PALE DIVINE have been an active entity for quite some time, releasing their debut full length album “Thunder Perfect Mind” in 2001. “Eternity Revealed” followed in 2004, and both works would be held in high esteem amongst the Metal community. The band gained the attention and support of SOLTICE guitarist Rich Walker, who included them on his The Miskatonic Foundation “At The Mountains Of Madness” compilation, subsequently garnering for them more exposure in overseas markets. This re-release of the band’s phenomenal third full length effort, “Cemetery Earth”, is done, in part, to help benefit the ailing Walker, with partial proceeds from the release going to help medical expenses he has incurred.

The album itself was groundbreaking for PALE DIVINE, and the first to feature bassist, and former SINISTER REALM writer, John Gaffney. The songwriting had begun to develop nicely from the first two releases, fleshing into a more traditional Doom Metal structure, and the musicianship had evolved immensely. Both “Thunder Perfect Mind” and “Eternity Revealed” had contained elements of seventies Stoner Rock in their mix, and “Cemetery Earth” grounded itself to a more linear Doom sound, with the inclusion of tracks like “(I Alone) The Traveller” and the incredible title cut. It is indeed those two tracks that stand out for me, and when I hear them, I wonder how PALE DIVINE has managed to fly under the radar for as long as they have.

“(I Alone) The Traveller” concerns itself with a man doomed to walk the Earth alone for eternity, unable to die and seemingly unwilling to live. Heady stuff, to be certain, and a fantastic theme for the genre. Musically, the track opens with some BLACK SABBATH-like riff work and thundering lower end, which seems to just get heavier through the remainder of the song. Of specific interest to me was Greg Diener’s lengthy guitar solos throughout. The guy has skill, and this eight and a half-minute opus is a great showcase for them.

“Cemetery Earth” checks in at nearly eleven minutes, without a wasted note in sight. The band works the song like it was their birthright, particularly Diener, who has THE voice to fit the material, and the aforementioned guitar skill to keep the lumbering time signatures interesting and fresh. The instrumental “Empyrean Dream” is the follow up, and feels like a necessary “cooling off” period after what has come before.

There are certainly other moments on the record that are notable, with “The Conqueror Worm” (think Poe) and “The Eyes Of Destiny” both being great examples of the band’s worth and body of work. The promo version of this re-release is the only version I have heard, but I truly can’t wait to get my hands on the vinyl. I would expect the format’s warmth to do nothing but justify this masterful recording.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

1. The Eyes Of Destiny
2. Fire And Ice
3. Broken Wings
4. (I Alone) The Traveller
5. Cemetery Earth
6. Empyrean Dream
7. The Seventh Circle
8. Soul Searching
9. Shadows Of Death
10. The Conqueror Worm
Greg Diener – Guitar, Vocals and Keyboards
John Gaffney – Bass
Darin McCloskey – Drums
Record Label: Cruz Del Sur Music


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Edited 06 December 2022

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