April Divine

1. #1 (No.one)
2. Ordinary Insanity
3. Water & Wine
4. Redemption
5. Faced Down
6. Tonight
7. Kiss From A Rose
8. Copycat
9. Seven Seals
10. Alibi
11. 3 Drops

Jocke Åström (V, G & P)
Peter Uvén (B)
Per Karlsson (D)
Johnny Johansson (G)

Chapter One (2007)

Clint Lowery (V on 11)

Rick Beato (prod)
Tobias Lindell (prod)
Stephen marcussen (master)
Dragan Tanaskovic (master)
Peder Ericsson (photo)
Nils Lindström (art)
Johnny Hagel (A&R)

Released 19/5-2010
Reviewed 26/1-2011


In Sweden this album was released almost a year ago, but in Europe it’s about to be released this spring and just recently some of the songs from this band has been made available on iTunes, Spotify and eMusic. In either case, this is the second album from Swedish April Divine that ironically starts with a song called #1 (No.one).

Delays and record label problems made the release of this album about 1,5 year late here in Sweden and during this time the band have spent their time playing live shows and not so much on polishing the recordings. I can feel this is a bit sad since the album could have had a better sound if some time had been spent working on how the sound comes out. It could have been more solid and powerful in my opinion and I think about one point could have been earned if the sound had been better. But, about 50 live shows promoting the band and album isn’t a bad price for this, because even if the sound isn’t perfect it still is good. It’s just that instrumentally it sounds fantastic and the sound isn’t always there to back it up with a sound that’s big or good enough.

I’ve always thought April Divine have an undeserved small crowd of fans because they sound so big and professional in their appearance. They sound like a big American band but have an audience of a small Swedish one. The problem seems to be to be noticed and remembered. They’ve done plenty of shows supporting big acts, played on national television and been at the same label as one of the most successful bands ever in Sweden, called Takida. Yet, it seems like very few have noticed and I can’t really see why. Today the band can be found at the same label that host upcoming superstars Treadstone, which is about to devour everything in Sweden and abroad and should the same thing happen here as it did with Takida when they got big and not April Divine, I’m sure this band would ask themselves what the hell that is wrong with this world. Not that Treadstone doesn’t deserve fame and success but surely April Divine does too?

Anyway, back to the album. When I hear ‘Redemption’ I can’t help to think it sounds very American in its approach, yet it lacks that American feel to it. I’ve thought about this and come up with that the reason is that they feel scaled in too much minor to sound truly American. It doesn’t seem to matter what kind of hard rock or metal American bands play, yet they always have a certain glint of optimism in the way it sound. ‘Redemption’ however sound like Nickelback on opium – it’s minor scaled and pretty gloomy even though the music and lyrics intend something else. Listen to songs like #1 (No.one), the title track and the final song 3 Drops and you’ll get great examples of what I mean. I believe it’s partly because of Joakim and how he sound, but mostly because of how the band tends to extend their tones and play sweeping instead of short and tapping. We can hear an excellent example of this in the song called Ordinary Insanity which have the quick and tapping sound in the verses and first half of the choruses. However, on the second half of the chorus as well as the sticks between verse and chorus they go down and play slow and sweeping instead, which gives a more gloomy sound than necessary and makes the album loose tempo.

However, the album is very good all the way through overall. To me it doesn’t matter that the album is played with more minor scales than an average American hard rock band. Instrumentally it’s very good and Joakim has a voice you recognize without feeling it can be heard in every and any band out there. The songs are good as well, maybe they lose some tempo because of what I brought up in the last sentence but the album have a good variation of different songs and I never experience it as stagnating or boring. There are a couple of songs that alone are able to carry this album and none of the eleven tracks are bad – everything is solid and genuine, not sprawling and schizophrenic with songs you can’t see why they share the album space with the rest. Not even the Seal cover Kiss From a Rose feel like a misfit, even if I think it’s the most likely suspect for a rat among the mice if one were suspected.

All in all the second album from April Divine offers mostly really good music and the only thing that takes down the total impression is something you don’t even think of when you enjoy to the album. I must say it was a very good move to put the very best song at the end, it’s just as appealing to play the album again after that song as the thought to strangle Mr. Reinfeldt (the prime minister of Sweden) – which means I gladly put it on repeat for the entire day.


Label - Supernova/Cosmos
Three similar bands - Nickelback/Staind/Alter Bridge
Recensent: Caj Källmalm