We Have Divine Fire is the solo studio music project of James Cook who is based in Bradford in Yorkshire, England. He recently released No Axe To Grind. Cook mentions: “For this album I set myself the challenge of NOT using guitars, hence the title No Axe To Grind. If anything I would describe this album as electronic rock with some tracks more on the electronic side and others more on the rock side.”
The album is definitely on the darker and theatrical side. I was reminded of NIN and other like- minded acts. The first song is entitled “In The Blink of an Eye” which has a good amount of haunting elements. I loved the groove to this song. It’s menacing. I’m going to surmise Cook is the only one doing vocals here and it is almost like a one man play. There are two very distinct voices that he has. One sounds a bit like a hyperbolic villain you might hear in movies like Batman; the other voice is perhaps a more natural and closer to his normal singing voice. Either way I thought it was a very intriguing opener.
“Shooting Star” is an electro-infused song with a much more driving kinetic energy. There are some interesting breakdowns and towards the middle the song turns into a sweeping ballad of sorts. I was actually getting Pink Floyd vibes but with some electronic elements like synths being much more prevalent.
“The Purge” has a beat more aligned with an artist like Aphex Twin. The song is dark but has lots of cool unique dynamic features and some exceptional production. This is definitely a song that benefits from attentive listening with headphones.
We go further down the rabbit hole and again Aphex Twin and even an electronic artist like Autechre come to mind. There’s a heavily manipulated voice which sounds like an AI on “Long Time Gone.” He repeats the mantra “just relax” but with the ominous voice. I’m not sure that’s a good idea. On the other vocal sections he sounds like Tom Waits which actually worked wonderfully.
There’s also the slow burn of “No Axe To Grind” and one of the most driving songs entitled “Black Morning.” Last up is “Over &0Ut” and is sort of this epic alien-like feeling as if you got brought aboard the mothership and will never be on Earth again.
This is an intense but engaging album. I think fans of the aforementioned should love this. Take a listen.
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