It is amazing the resources we have to find new music these days. One resource that I use quite frequently is Bandcamp. I have discovered SO many great bands on Bandcamp, like White Walls, Intandem, Vanisher, and countless others. One such band is Iris Divine. Their first album, “Convergence,” was released on Bandcamp in 2011. It is chock full of hard driving progressive metal tracks from the then four-piece band from Centreville, Virginia. I expected more of the same from their sophomore full-length release, “Karma Sown.” It was also on Bandcamp for about a day last December. It has since then been removed less a single track, ‘A Suicide Aware,’ due to being signed by Sensory Records. Sensory Records will now release “Karma Sown” worldwide on March 31, 2015.
“Karma Sown” introduces a new lineup for Iris Divine. Gone are guitarist/singer Farhad Hossain and drummer Tanvir Tomal. Kris Combs has replaced Tomal and guitarist Navid Rashid has stepped forward and assumed lead vocal duties. Brian Dobbs remains on bass. This streamlined trio does not back down from the powerful sound they originated on “Convergence.” If anything, they have expanded upon it.
Iris Divine is naturally going to be compared to Dream Theater and Rush, but these are not immediately the bands I think of when I listen to “Karma Sown.” Sounding like an edgier Anubis Gate, Dobbs’ bass and Rashid’s vocal propels you through ‘The Everlasting Sea,’ ‘A Suicide Aware,’ and ‘Mother’s Prayer.’ Rashid’s chugging guitar riffs and Combs’ intricate cymbal work bring to mind a heavier Threshold on ‘Fire of the Unknown’ and ‘Apathy Rains.’ Iris Divine is at their proggiest when each member has equal standing, such as the oft time ‘Prisms,’ instrumental ‘In Spirals,’ and the dark closing track ‘In the Wake of Martyrs.’ Another thing that stands out to me about the album is the thick and rich mix. For these guys doing basically everything themselves, the sound is clean and full, making the three sound huge!
Iris Divine have done a great job with “Karma Sown.” Even with its complex song structures, the songs on the album never get too over the top proggy. Rock is definitely the dominant format for Iris Divine. With all the changes leading up to this album, you might expect the quality to drop off. However, not only have Navid Rashid and Brian Dobbs persevered after losing half the band, but also they have come out stronger than before.