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Experimental Metalcore - 65%

Petrus_Steele, April 10th, 2019
Written based on this version: 2007, CD, Roadrunner Records (Japan)

Divine Heresy is (or was) the bastard child and musical return of Dino Cazares, the original Fear Factory guitarist. Leaving because of personal altercations, as I’m sure it’s because of his personality... but I don’t want to pick on the man. He’s an innovator and that’s what’s important. His return and debuting Divine Heresy brought in some extreme sound into metalcore, to innovate.

Speaking of innovation, though, it seems like there’s a lot of labeling for what genre is Divine Heresy. It’s quite hard to pinpoint where this project fits. Wikipedia labels them as heavy (obviously), groove, thrash, death, and industrial metal, and metalcore, while Metallum labels them as technical death metal/metalcore. However, the labeled genres and subgenres described in the music don’t see eye to eye. I should also note that the lyrical themes don’t always define a genre. So there’s a lot of rhythmic guitar work from Dino and the guitar & drums combo, just like in Fear Factory. Yet, there’s not a single song on this record that describes any industrial metal influence - unless it’s lyrically themed, that doesn’t count. There’s the background music, but very little to determine industrial music. Thrash metal? Not really. Heavy and groove metal - sure. Death metal? Now... you do have some nice blast beats and the music is pretty melodic and technical, but zero death growls. The vocalist Tommy ‘Vext’ Cummings sounds like he tried to imitate the legendary metalcore vocalist Howard Jones (and coincidentally enough, they’re both African-Americans), but that’s not death metal.

As much as they’re labeled as industrial metal, and as much as instrumentally they’re labeled as death metal, is somewhat inaccurate. I think experimental metalcore fits the label for the band accurately, giving the vocals of Tommy and the lyrics that common death metal bands don’t regularly use. Then you have the experiment within the music: chorus effect, acoustic guitars and other variants to assist the experiment.

Additionally, you have the guitar solos and extra work from Marc Rizzo (known in Soulfly and Cavalera Conspiracy) and Logan Mader (known for his project Once Human and being the original guitarist of Machine Head) for their work in Rise of the Scorned, Royal Blood Heresy, and Closure. Tony Campos, known as the bassist of Static-X performs in Rise of the Scorned and Closure, and Nicholas Barker (known British death metal drummer) on Rise of the Scorned as well.

When it comes to the music, the bonus song Purity Defiled is the perfect song that proves this project is metalcore, among other songs that you can hear in the first half of the album. But then there’s more focused drum works that contributes into being more extreme metal on the other half of the album (except for Closure; the easy song around) which goes towards death metal music, yet the album still finds itself revolve around metalcore. I don’t want to nitpick around the subject and claim labeling that might be untrue, but the majority of the music is metalcore, period. At least this is one of the better metalcore bands.

At the end of the day, it’s not really a bad record. I remember when I listened to it for the first time, I hardly liked it. I was more into the clean vocals, like in Savior Self, Rise of the Scorned, and Closure. It was a forgettable listen. But later in life, I realized it’s much better and that it’s a one-time record. The following record Bringer of Plagues doesn’t mean anything, as anyone who’s a fan of the band will (and should) relate more to this and more to Tommy’s vocals. I don’t know what made Dino and Tommy go berserk at each other, that forced Tommy to leave and later the whole band was put on hold, so this record is good while it’ll last. Also, shout-out to Tim Yeung for his work. He might be the best part about this project socially, heh... The best songs are Failed Creation, Savior Self, Rise of the Scorned, and Royal Blood Heresy.

Metal's true enemy - 0%

RapeTheDead, May 11th, 2011

Jesus FUCKING Christ! You know what pisses me off? That people endorse this manufactured trendy horse cock album as genuine heavy metal! The term “poser” gets thrown around a lot these days, often without warrant, simply because some bands that aren’t metal at all are deemed metal by people who don’t know what they’re talking about. The band isn’t trying to be metal, really, so it’s pointless to judge them as such. Bleed the Fifth, on the other hand, is the very definition of false metal and deserves to be incinerated, along with all its fans. Divine Heresy tries their ABSOLUTE HARDEST to be the quintessential metal band, trying to incorporate everything that mainstream metal culture has deemed the “best parts” of metal into their music- but they are a complete failure at this on all counts because they don’t understand WHY these elements of metal have been deemed the best, they just know that they are the best and should therefore be included in their music. Sorry, chaps, it doesn’t work that way.

Since “false metal” technically isn’t a legitimate subgenre, I’m having a lot of difficulty categorizing this one. The riffs embody everything that exists in mainstream metal without sounding like an actual version of any facet of it- there’s lot of chugging, lots of failed attempts at establishing some sort of groove, but most of the time there’s just a lot of baseless riffs that go absolutely nowhere and sound like some kind of bastardization between modern death metal and American melodic death metal, adopting the worst traits of both- the sterile, boring qualities of modern death metal and the wimpy, stagnant qualities of American melodeath- they’re not quite catchy, but they don’t really sound alien, either, they’re more just this safe middle ground of riffing that doesn’t accomplish anything. When you get down to it, though, the riffs themselves aren’t really meant to be paid attention to- rather, they’re more intent of creating the image of something harsh and “metal” instead of doing what they should be doing- having strong melodies, holding interest, and generally just being GOOD. Sounding good isn’t a major concern here- it’s lost in the shuffle on behalf of the image.

This was going to be the paragraph where I talked about the songwriting and composition, but when I listened to the album again I realized it pretty much didn’t fucking exist. Bleed the Fifth just composes the song according to standard rock music verse-chorus-etc. templates, and ONLY by those templates. It doesn’t matter how awkward or forced the song will sound if they follow it- they’ll do anything to keep the song in that format because why the fuck should they contribute anything worthwhile to the scene? At the very least, they managed to keep it so that you don’t really notice how much they’re struggling to fit the songs in, but there’s a few instances, such as the song “Impossible is Nothing” where they just kinda stopped caring about whether or not it sounded cohesive and made one of the most AWKWARD transitions from a “uber-intense” verse to a chorus (chock full of way-too-syrupy crooning) I’ve ever heard. They really don’t give a shit if the song sounds like a fucking mess- they just need to get their hooks in so their label won’t get mad at them for not being accessible enough.

My god, they’re just trying way too hard. Everything’s thrown in your face right from the get-go- never before have I heard a band sound so incredibly obvious about what they’re trying to do. There’s plenty of what I think is a failed attempt at aggression on here- driven mainly by the not-quite-hardcore-shouts-but-not-quite-metal-growls-either vocals of the doucher singer here- combined with the lyrics that have the occasional “fuck” thrown here and there (to sound “offensive”) and have an anti-human agenda…I think? Maybe anti-religious? Anti-political? I can’t tell who they’re trying to attack in these lyrics because more often than not they can get really goddamn vague- I mean, they clearly don’t want anybody to actually get angry at their lyrics, they just want them to resemble some sort of attack on some sort of enemy that they don’t really specify- I mean, it’s pretty easy to relate to, but results in lyrics that are in the end, thin and meaningless.

The vocals are pretty annoying on their own, especially because they’re right up front constantly (because they’re REALLY FUCKING PISSED OFF, I guess) but the drumming is what drops this album from “annoying and poseurish” to “horrendous and unlistenable”. Holy fucking fuck, I understand the guy’s fairly talented and all, I mean, he can play pretty fast and whatnot, but he has absolutely no feel for the music whatsoever and just kind goes off in his own little clickity-clickity-click land all the fucking time. Double-bass drumming seems to be a component of metal that draws a lot of kids in (talk with a few 15-year olds who worship The Black Dahlia Murder and you’ll see what I mean, all they give a shit about is how fast the double-bass is) so Divine Heresy decided to take advantage of this and use it ALL THE FUCKING TIME. Doesn’t matter if it fits the moment anything, they already threw songwriting out the window a long time ago, so they might as well throw away any pretense of actually giving a shit about something like replay value or listenability or anything other than cashing in on their worthless gimmicks.

Oh, but that’s not all folks! This album goes even further down the rabbit hole! I struggled to get through this album the first time, because the further it goes on the more it just sounds like a senseless mishmash of riffs that do nothing and go nowhere over the sound of somebody hammering away on a typewriter- but it was the final song on this album that REALLY dropped my jaw. I’m not kidding, either- I just sat there with an expression of shock and horror the first time I heard this…ballad. Yeah, it’s a fucking ballad. It doesn’t even try to be discreet or anything either, like those slower songs Dark Funeral did or that one song by Non Serviam- it’s their vocalist doing melodramatic clean vocals over a few generic chords. Trust me; I’m not making this shit up. If you disagreed with me about the whole “false metal” shtick until now, it’s kind of hard to at this point. It doesn’t even serve any purpose to the album from a neutral perspective! It doesn’t really close the album off effectively; it doesn’t fit in any way with the rest of the album- it’s pretty obvious they just tacked it on at the end in a shitty half-assed attempt to “branch out” or some bullshit like that. Or the label told them to write a ballad. Whatever it is, it’s fucking horrible.

Why do people take this band seriously again? Is it because Dino Cazares is in the band? Whatever, Fear Factory never really blew the doors down for me anyways and the musical talent he DID show in that band is all for naught at this point, because he clearly isn’t using it here. If that’s the best argument someone can come up with for Divine Heresy being legitimate, that’s pretty sad. This is the most blitheringly awful thing I’ve heard in a long time- if not for the music, for the implications of it all. All this album is to me is an amalgamation of everything that is wrong with metal today. Pop, rap, and all the supposed “enemies of metal” do extremely minimal damage to the genre at the very best- it’s albums like THIS that are genuinely a plague upon metal and should be eradicated at every turn. Death to Divine Heresy, death to Bleed the Fifth, and DEATH TO FALSE METAL!

Headbanger's Ball's Most Extreme Offering - 75%

SilenceIsConsent, July 30th, 2008

Let me say I've never been into Fear Factory at all. In fact, I never listened to Fear Factory at all until very recently. So I am not going compare this album to anything that Dino ever put out wit Fear Factory, simply because I have not listened to enough Fear Factory to judge Divine Heresy's debut album to such. What attracted me to this album was not Dino Cazares getting back into the metal spotlight, but it being another project for drum master Tim Yeung. This alone is what prompted me to buy Divine Heresy's debut album.

The first thing right off the bat here is that this is an album that Headbanger's Ball wants. This is an album that is part of the mainstream glutton known as metalcore that makes a lot hardcore pansies infest metal circles. However, it should be noted that there is a lot going for Divine Heresy, and that does not necessarily make this a horrible album. It is just that it is an album made for the mainstream core kid who other then metalcore listens to Pantera and Metallica. In that sense, the album is brought down already. Right from the get go, you can tell that this album is ready made for Headbanger's Ball, a once great force in heavy metal now tarnished by mainstream garbage pumped out by record labels.

Don't think of Bleed The Fifth as a piece of garbage. What Divine Heresy does make up for in is the fact that unlike many metalcore bands, they are actually heavy, and have quite a bit of skill to offer compared to other bands in their field. In a sense, their roster is probably the thing that makes Divine Hersey so good. First off, Dino Cazares is one of the co-creators of the riff and drum patterns that many of the metalcore bands today are influenced off of. That helps this album tremendously, because Dino goes way beyond simple one chord riffs (though there are plenty of them here) and does plenty of more technical riffs throughout Bleed The Fifth along with some trem picked parts that help out the album quite a bit. The fact that the guy is bothering to play leads is quite awesome. Dino's mostly known for his wicked picking hand during riffs, but man the guy can sure play a wicked guitar solo. Many of the solos here feel like they came right off of a real brutal death metal album and will rip your face off with their intensity and technicality. Though there are not many of them, the fact that they are good makes me hope that in future Divine Heresy songs, Dino's lead and solo work takes a greater prominence.

Speaking of a brutal death metal feel, that's probably the reason why Divine Heresy's debut sounds so great. This album doesn't have the feel of Gothenburg style metal output mixed with hardcore, this album has the feeling of brutal death metal with slight groove metal touches. Much of that is due to Tim Yeung, who adapts to the role that Dino puts forth here very nicely. Tim's probably most well known for his wicked blast beats, and there are lots of them here. That was somethng that was never there on Fear Factory, and something most metalcore bands leave out. His double bass really pummels along and it's absolutely blistering much of the time, much of it running in unison with Dino's picking hand like Raymond did in Fear Factory. We also hear him doing some rapid bursts that are very thrash like and sound pretty nice. Tim does not really reserve himself much on Bleed The Fifth (something I would have normally put him down for) but this time the fact that he did was such a good thing. As a result, Divine Heresy does not really seem to stop much and always seems be moving a forward state of momentum. . However, I do feel that this album doesn't really do Tim justice. Compared to other works Tim has done with other bands (in particular with Hate Eternal, Decrepit Birth, and Vital Remains), his work in Divine Heresy is not nearly as technical as previous efforts he's partaken in. Also the fact that this guy triggers the hell out of his drums really makes him loose points. It just makes things sound like a beat box and not like real drums. Also there are not many great fills by the guy, so in that area he has fallen behind a bit.

As for Tommy Cummings, he's a mixed back. The one thing I really admire about Cummings are his highly audible growls and shrieks, which are clearly very much in the hardcore vein but very very audible. He does not really sound like a lot of other metalcore or melodic death metal vocalists, neither is he some lame Phil Anselmo knock off, and he kind of stands out very well. He doesn't really sound very brutal but the fact that his "extreme" vocals are so audible really helps out things a lot. The clean vocals are for the most part merely okay. Sometimes I think they are really annoying (such as on Savior Self) but other times I like them (such as on Failed Creation). I do think that maybe Tommy utilizes the clean vocals a bit too much, for many times they feel like they are drawn out too much or are just in the wrong place. Sometimes they sound like they could have honestly belonged on an alternative rock album (dig Closure for this). Vocal pattern wise, it is a lot of typical metalcore style vocal patterns, in unison with the bass drums and guitar riffs and that gets boring after awhile and is really nothing special. One final aspect that I must note is that Tommy sounds very natural and not forced. His voice does not seem very over enhanced in the studio and that is a plus, so if you were to hear this guy singing you could pick him out among other metalcore vocalists because of his generally natural sounding voice.

The lyrics are generally tougher and more thought provoking then most metalcore bands. While most either go with a quasi death metal approach and try to be like "I'm slitting my wrists because I suck at life" or "I'm not going to let you push me around anymore because I'm a tough guy" sort of thing. These are very focused on society. Much of these were inspired in fact by Dino living in Hollywood (according to interviews with the guy), and while they do have a certain Pantera esque "don't piss me off" sort of thing going on in some of them, for the most part they are more about society and related topics to it such as racism, religion, the media, and other things. There are some more emo things here and there as well as some "I'm going to kick your ass" type stuff but those things do not take center stage at all on Bleed the Fifth and generally are much more thought out and thought provoking then I thought they could be.

One thing I think this album could have really done without for the most part are the annoying keyboards. They are absolutely unnecessary to have. These come up for the most part on occasional songs such as Savior Self, False Gospel, and Royal Blood Heresy. I do not think these belonged at all, and are a real distraction to the music. They do not provide any epic feel to the music and do not give the music any extra atmosphere whatsoever. I really would have hoped if Dino had left these behind, since the guy is out of Fear Factory so why can't he just leave the industrial aspects such as the keyboards and samples out. The only time where these benefit at all are on the title track, Royal Blood Heresy, Savior Self, and This Threat is Real. Otherwise they did not need to be here at all.

Production is typical modern production. Very clean, with highly polished guitar tone and very triggered drums. The bass work is unable to be heard (though I do not think it really matters since it is Dino doing the bass here), so I hope that now they got metal bass master Joe Payne among their ranks Divine Heresy can mix an album that includes the bass. Vocals however, as stated before, are unaffected and benefit from such greatly. Overall it is modern production and nothing really special about it. It is not very distinct and does not really do anything for me much.

Songs are monotonous but are easy to tell apart to Dino's guitar parts or samples put in key places to remind you that a song is over. One thing that brings this down is the generally similar fret work on the rhythmic part of Dino, and that ends up really boring the crap out of me after a few listens. However, they do have a real sense of brutality brought on by Tim's drums and the tremolo picking and solos that most metalcore bands do not bother having. Probably the best song on the album is Bleed The Fifth, while the worst is easily Closure. Other then those, the rest of the tracks are just decent or sub par.

Divine Heresy has been labeled as the return for Dino Cazares, and fans of Dino's previous work will probably like it. Core kids are certainly going to like this, and maybe even a few real death metal fans might really be into Bleed The Fifth to an extent. I do not think any old school fans will be praising Bleed The Fifth much, but it is not so bad when you listen to it once. All in all, it's a decent debut that gets a bit too much hype but otherwise it is worth the listen and has something that most metalcore albums claim to have but do not at all. That thing my friends, is brutality, and brutality is something that Divine Heresy definitely has.

Dino's Triumphant Return - 92%

darkreif, September 10th, 2007

For a while everyone just wondered where Dino Cazares had gone to. Of course after the Fear Factory fiasco (the pseudo-breakup if you will) Dino had split and we all waited for him to return in glorious form with a band that would rival Fear Factory in its initial glory. We waited...and we waited. But Dino seemed content in just doing on and off jobs (Roadrunner United comes to mind) and we all just assumed that maybe his return would never really happen.

He has returned to reclaim his throne in the form of Divine Heresy. This time armed with some new tricks up his sleeve and an impressive band to fulfill his vision. "Bleed The Fifth" is an impressive effort on all fronts, not only on Dino's part.

Right from the starting line, Divine Heresy is for the throat combining the industrialized Death Metal sound with a more Classic Metal twist. Dino's guitar parts are both catchy and heavy as he throws in riff after riff of interesting chunk styling. The rhythmatic guitar sections are going to sound very similar to earlier Fear Factory but this time around Dino doesn't hesitate to throw in some melodic leads and face ripping solos. The solos aren't a constant throughout the album but they are a nice contrast to the riffs.

Once again (in pure Dino style) some of the riffs are going to go head to head with the heavy set double bass from skinsman, Tim Yeung. This time Tim has triggered his drums heavily given the music that industrial overtone and even though he may not have originated that sound, he plays it like he did.

And on the most controversial note of "Bleed The Fifth", a relative unknown in the Metal world takes the vocal reigns and, despite giving a stellar performance, still gets flamed by critics and fans alike. Tommy Cummings' hardcore style barking intermixed with some sung choruses may have some listeners turning off the album but it fits the style of the album quite well. He brings a solid energy to the album and carries himself quite well. The single ballad on the album, "Closure", is a nice change of pace for the band and Cummings gives a strong performance. The song could have been placed earlier on the album to break it up but it does give the album a great ending.

It's nice to finally hear Dino back in action and really throwing all his blood, sweat, and tears into Metal once again. Divine Heresy has the heart and soul of a matured band and even if the comparisons to Fear Factory never end, "Bleed the Fifth" is an accomplished andsuccessful debut. I'm already eager to hear more.

Songs to check out: "Failed Creation", "Impossible Is Nothing", "Closure".

Absolute garbage - 20%

MrVJ, September 5th, 2007

I'm sure the entire world knows about Divine Heresy now because of the large amount of advertising they've been getting all over MTV and the Internet. It was getting annoying after a while because the band was always labeled as “Dino Cazares's NEW band!!!”, almost having the intent of making sure that it's Dino's brainchild. As most of us know, Dino Cazares (Asesino, ex-Brujeria) is Fear Factory's old guitarist who was ousted because of “musical differences”. Well, it's quite obvious that he wanted to revert back to Fear Factory's old death metal days for some odd reason, and he has tried to take those thoughts to new heights with recruiting veteran death metal drummer Tim Yueng (ex-Decrepit Birth, Vital Remains, ex-Hate Eternal), bassist Joe Payne (ex-Lecherous Nocturne, ex-Nile, ex-Lust Of Decay), and up-and-comer vocalist Tommy Cummings (Vext). You've never heard of Tommy Cummings? Yeah, neither have I until now.

First thoughts after hearing a few tracks of this album? “Hey, the music is pretty awesome... wait a minute, who's this guy doing metalcore/hardcore vocals over death metal? Oh god... I hope it doesn't go like this throughout the entire album.” Well, guess what? It does for the entire album. This is not a very good start for Divine Heresy, although I'm sure some people would dig Tommy's clean and harsh vocals, but come on, this is supposed to be a death metal album, and while the death metal is there, it gets completely watered down when Tommy comes in with his portion. However, I will throw the guy a bone and say that his actual death metal screech is impressive. Other than that, he's quite wet behind the ears and shouldn't be in a death metal band. Sadly, Tommy isn't the only loose support beam in this band.

Each member playing an instrument is completely capable of creating some killer music and have been a part of bands that know how to make you snap your neck due to excessive headbanging, save for Mr. Tommy Cummings. Like I said, they are very capable of playing good music, but they just seem to fall short, always retreating into Dino's trademark galloping riffs, and let me tell you, after a while you get really sick of hearing that and constantly ask for something new. Let's not forget the ever so popular guitar solo in EVERY SINGLE song. These solos are simply there to try and grab your attention again because it has been lost within the first minute of each song, and after that solo you begin to realize that it's an entirely worthless effort on the bands part. Also, Tim, a little advice from yours truly: Stop trying so damn hard to sound like a drum-machine. Thank you.

All in all, this album is a complete flop. It's exactly what you'd expect from a desperate guitar player trying so hard to reach the top of the heavy metal mountain again, yet continuously slips and falls to his demise each and every time he tries to release the same crap over and over again. Hell, just reviewing this album was a huge chore, so now I'm going to go take some aspirin, listen to Demonical and pretend neither this band or album ever happened, and I suggest all of you do the same.

A good effort by a new band - 75%

HammadKhan, August 7th, 2007

Allright, i must admit I was not looking forward to this album by any means or anything recoreded by Dino Cazares for that matter. Let's face it, his last work with Fear Factory was all but satisfactory. In more ways than one, it was downright horrible, so i was surprised when i heard Divine Heresy & all the maniacal head fuck insanity they brought with them. This turned out to be all what Fear Factory fans were hoping for and then some.

Dino's managed to get hold of a handful of talented musicians here. Tim Yeung, the drummer, has made his mark in bands such as Hate Eternal, Vital Remains, Aurora Borealis & Nile, and he brings a lot to the table here in Divine Heresy. His drumbeats are unimaginably fast & slick, and let's not even forget the sick super speed double bass, which are interestingly, locked on with Dino's picking. Yup, very FF'ish right there. The whole album is like Fear Factory on heavy steroids & every other known supplement.

Dino himself hasn't changed as a guitar player. Some might argue that the riffs on here are pretty generic and boring, but i ask them, when was he the best technical guitar player to begin with? He does what he's good at, and that's machine-gun style riffage that's heavy as hell & very very potent. Needless to say, there are a few solos dispersed throughout the album too, so that's a refreshing change from the old school FF sound.

The vocalist is a completely different story though. His delivery is intense and everything in it's own right, but it also has way too many metal core touches which just doesn't fit right when the band's THIS destructive. The effect is brought down a lot & mellowed out. Even though he can sing, shout, scream and everything, I just can't stop thinking of Shadows Fall whenever he graces the mic. This is not for me, and is why I'm giving this album a 75. If it were some guttural vocalist or at least someone who wasn't so core-ish, it would've been an 85 easily.

The songs themselves follow a pretty similar route. Heavy and fast machine-gun riffage & complementing light speed double bass with many thunderous blast beats. Many clean choruses make their way into the songs as well, notably the one for "Failed Creation". It's very very catchy to say the least & effective, and the only thing the singer's good at apparently. The last track, Closure, feels out of place, as it's a Tool-esque ballad, but after all the 30 minute relentless ass-whooping, one would beg for something more subtle, and so, the ballad somehow works.

Overall, I'd say this is a very solid effort by a new band, and all they will do is improve if they carry the same vision throughout. The vocalist needs to change his style for God's sake, but the rest is just downright excellent & very heavy. Fans of Demanufacture/Obsolete era Fear Factory will eat this up & will make Fear Factory realize just what they have on their hands as competition in the form of Divine Heresy.

Notable tracks: Bleed the Fifth, Failed Creation, Impossible is Nothing & Rise of the Scorned.