Divercia - _Modus Operandi_
(Hammerheart, 2002)
by: Adam Lineker (7 out of 10)
Being something of a Nightwish fan, I have to confess that the double name-dropping of the Finnish operatic metallers on the bio for _Modus Operandi_ caught my interest almost immediately. The other bands also mentioned in the descriptive include Him and Dimmu Borgir; needless to say, Divercia claim to offer an interesting mix of stylistic influences and it becomes evident very quickly where these influences fit in the Divercia sound. Keyboards and lead guitars battle for melodic prominence in true Nightwish fashion, while the use of synthesised orchestral tutti hammers the point home even further. The heaviness of the rhythmic structure alludes to Dimmu Borgir, although it has to be said that the material within _Modus Operandi_ never reaches the same levels of brutality or aggression. Jyri Aarniva's vocals have similar stylistic traits to Him frontman Ville Valo, but it is fair to say that the latter may have delivered a more inspired performance. However, this isn't to say that Aarniva's somewhat disconnected delivery doesn't have its own merits, as it seems to float above the ethereal metal, creating slightly gothic shades. If anything, this quality could also be Divercia's biggest failing. The nature of the mix is such that it renders the music a little too ethereal, thus detracting from the overall power of the material. A basic guitar distortion is clothed in swirling layers of keyboard alongside a drum sound that is unsuitably treble heavy and the vocals can seem awkwardly out of place. With the bass being almost non-existent in the overall sound, the production is left somewhat thin and it is because of this factor that Divercia never capitalise on the bombastic nature of their writing, thus never fulfilling their dynamic potential. Divercia are successful in conjuring some strong, innovative ideas and create some enjoyable music, but even key changes seem to slip by unnoticed in the shallow soundscape. Though there are a number of moments that have reassuring quality, the main impression is one of unfulfilled potential. This would have been so much more absorbing had it been that little bit heavier and more filled out; perhaps this is something rectifiable in the live environment but, even so, it is a disappointing fact that _Modus Operandi_ is lacking in substantial impact.

Contact: http://www.hammerheart.com

(article published 16/3/2003)

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