Sjak : The very first vocalist of the Italian band Vision Divine has been adopted in grace and has returned to his first love. Michele Luppi, the singer that from 'Stream Of Consciousness' onwards sang on three of their albums, wanted to focus on a more A.O.R. type of style and decided early this year to call it a day. And despite of the fact that I think that Michele Luppi is a better singer as Fabio Lione, the latter certainly convinces on this new '9 Degrees West Of The Moon'. He just fits perfectly in the progressive power metal material of Vision Divine and he delivers a great performance. Also guitar player and band leader Olaf Thorsen (Labyrinth) is contributing big time to this fine album, because on one hand he has written a number of very strong songs and on the other hands he fight some pretty fierce duels with keyboard player Alessio Lucatti. By the way, in my opinion this time the keyboard parts are very dominant in the overall sound of Vision Divine, but it doesn't really get troublesome anywhere.
The song material is quite varied which is clearly expressed by the epic power metal piece 'Letter To My Child Never Born', the more uptempo tracks 'Fly' and 'Out In Open Space' and the more melodic 'Violet Loneliness'. The Judas Priest cover 'Touch Of Evil' is in my opinion a bit superfluous, although the version that they play is an excellent one. Furthermore as kind of an extra a demo-version of 'Fading Shadows' is added. Vision Divine is for sure not the most original band around and this '9 Degrees West Of The Moon' certainly can't equal their best album 'Stream Of Consciousness', but if you're a melodic power metal fan, I'm pretty sure that you will appreciate this!