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The metal equivalent of room temperature tap water - 40%

GuardAwakening, October 3rd, 2016

I remember this band in high school, they were promoted in metal magazines I read through my youth and after giving their music a good listen (particularly this album), I never quite understood why they were so hyped at the time. Giving this album another thorough listen for the first time in several years to pick up on such a trivial now-irrelevant band I felt like something needed to be said about my past recollection so here I am to get through with that thought. Yes, I am bored tonight as it seems, so let's just get this over with.

Listening to the album you can't quite pinpoint why exactly this music is awful. I mean all the musicians on the album seem to be very competent and talented at what they do, yet the music they are playing is still inherently terrible. The problem with this band is they are without a doubt good at what they do, but what they are doing is in fact bad. In other words, the music on here is simply just bad because it's bad, not because they're playing it wrong. Divine Heresy is like a heavier Avenged Sevenfold in a sense.

Within the first song I was puzzled over the idea of what this band has going on. Technical death metal riffery combined with growled vocals and then begin these horrid sung vocals over the whole thing (perhaps this is to withdraw a wider audience for the kids in high school who are in wrestling class that consider Decapitated "too heavy"?). Listening to this album stylistically brings to mind the demograph of men aged 15 to 35 who drink Monster Energy, wear Tapout shirts and dip tobacco. The clean vocals seal that whole deal, they're horrible and make me think of Five Finger Death Punch and later All That Remains.

Guitars, drumming and bass all seem to be in a good zone. The riffs and drumming are all collectively kept at a level that work well with each other, and I even found some minor enjoyment in the melodic passage found in the track "Redefine". Everything is greatly played and executed how it should so no complaints there. However, the music itself just isn't good. I said it earlier and I said it again, the band is good at what they want to do, but the thing they want to do is bad; thus the band is bad. This band isn't and never was a big deal because they are the metal equivalent of room temperature tap water. Besides, if you want to waste your time listening to a genre like tech death, I'd personally recommend the very band this seems to try to want to be a more 'listenable' version of, which is Decapitated.

Without Tim Yeung, there is nothing here... - 70%

tentornasunder, November 3rd, 2011

There is nothing I can write about this album that hasn't already been said in the other reviews here, so I won't go diving into that. Divine Heresy is pretty much driven by Tim Yeung and he is the sole reason I listen to this band. There are some good riffs to be found, but more on that in a second.

DH's music is very predictable: a verse here, a chorus there, and a bridge to lead into the final chorus. It's all been done to death in a mainstream metal context, but from this band you wouldn't really want to hear it any other way. Divine Heresy is EXTREMELY one dimensional in every regard, which is why Tim Yeung fits in so well. As fast of a drummer he is, he is a one dimensional drummer. Without his double bass speed, his appeal pretty much fades. There are no memorable fills to speak of, just double bass up the ass to match Dino's so-so riffery. In the drummer hierarchy, Tim may be a good drummer, but just doesn't compare to many other extreme metal greats.

And that brings me to Dino. He brings nothing creative or interesting to the table whatsoever. In fact, he pretty much embodies exactly how an eight string guitar isn't supposed to be played. There is so much tremolo-picking and chugging throughout this album that your interest is lost in the first few songs.

The new vocalist isn't as good as Tommy was. Nothing else to say about that.

So all in all, this album gets a 70% because Tim Yeung is a very entertaining drummer to listen to and because at its core, this is in fact a very heavy metal album, if not predictable and somewhat bland. My favorite track has to be Monolithic Doomsday Devices.

Quite interesting - 85%

mrdanteaguilar, June 25th, 2011

My guessing is that the only aspect that makes this album abominable and unlistenable for most metallers (true metallers) is how the vocalist sounds similar so Chester Bennington. Yes, I know who that is, that guy from Linkin Park. Wait a second, LINKIN PARK? No joke folks, BUT I can assure this guy sounds much better than the previous vocalist (he sounded like your regular metalcore vocalist crying all over the place) since the vocals sound like a combination between Meshuggah and Fear Factory (I guess Dino Cazares was the one in charge of looking for the band's vocalist) and at least that guy from that band I won't mention again knows how to sing properly without auto-tuning or sounding like a 12 year old. The guitar passages are anything but generic and plus, Tim Yeung knows how to blast the hell out of his drum kit perfectly, so this release is not as disappointing as you might expect.

Yes, the vocalist (Travis Neal) knows how to sing properly and his voice will be stuck inside your head. Of course, he's no Mike from Opeth or Vortex from Arcturus, but his voice still sounds pretty damn interesting when doing clean vocals. In fact, I'm starting to think Dino Cazares wanted him to sing ala Fear Factory, only that Burton Bell's voice was much deeper. Also, the screaming vocals, as I mentioned, show this Meshuggah-ish feeling; very aggressive, raw, and understandable, so I find Travis Neal quite metal-sounding. Songs like Anarchaos and Enemy Kill are perfect examples of his vocal power.

Guitars have a powerful modern metal tone. No, not deathcore-ish - this sounds actually HEAVY. Also Dino seems to show more guitar skills here than in FF, playing some sick guitar leads, catchy chugging parts, and a wicked melody throughout the album. Since 8-stringed guitars are being used, the tone is also very clean and you can clearly distinguish every single note they play. Most of the songs display huge amounts of energy and sound very refreshing. Facebreaker and Anarchaos are my favorite ones.

Now, where's the bass? WHERE'S THE BASS? Nowhere to be found. It's a shame because the album would've sounded much heavier if the bass sound was louder, but since the guitars are most of the time catchy and very aggressive, I don't think this is a fatal flaw. If you pay very close attention, you can hear it, but it's too dim.

Now let's get to the best part: the drums. Tim Yeung knows how to pull blast beats and double bass patterns, but at the same time his drumming sounds like some futuristic machine took over and started playing. Most of the drum passages sound almost robotic and very chaotic as well. Relentless double bass patterns are played repeatedly without sounding monotonous or boring. In fact, all the songs sound very unique. It is worth mentioning that this guy also plays drums for Morbid Angel, so you know what to expect.

In conclusion, I don't see why this album is so hated. Of course it's not the most true cult metal shit ever, but it's definitely worth listening to.

New album, same mistakes - 15%

Trilogique, June 4th, 2010

I didn't really anticipate Divine Heresy would ever make another album. Something just didn't feel right when I heard they had made another album. They seem too one-dimensional to make another album but alas here we are with Bringer of Plagues (not exactly the best title but I suppose it's better than the title of their debut), a complete carbon copy of the first album (again, one-dimensional). In fact, it's such a blatant copy of the first album that the same mistake that plagued (*giggles*) the first album is still present: one guitarist. WHY, GOD DAMNIT, WHY? When they were looking for a new vocalist they should have been looking for a second guitarist. I mentioned this in my review of their first album.

Let me bitch about the music before I rant on about the tepidity of one guitarist. First and foremost, the new vocalist is just downright terrible. Vext, the first vocalist, was no testament to good vocalist, but damnit he was tolerable. Then Dino and his douchebaggery decided to kick him out and bring forth this abomination. I don't have a problem with metalcore vocalists if their voice has some bass to it (manliness, bulk, see it as you wish) but this dude has nothing to distinguish himself from. His inherent screaming has no deep tone to it and it's really bothersome. This is why I dislike most metalcore, too. Misery Signals' Controller is a perfect example of good metalcore vox. This guy is not. If you were to attend to a metalcore vocalist audition, this guy would be indistinguishable from the rest so why he was picked is beyond me. As if his harsh vocals weren't bad enough, his 'singing' (if you wanna call it that) has this mainstream, wannabe metal sound to it. It's that sound from someone trying to be "metal" but he just doesn't have the voice. Refer to Five Finger Death Punch for a more clear example of this sound. In summary, it's just bad. You will not be singing along, or even thinking about, the stuff he says when he sings (which I thought was the idea if you're going to sing during the choruses?)

Dino is a good guitarist. His style is extremely narrow, but he's good from a technical perspective. His writing, though, sucks. If I could illustrate how his riffs sound, it'd be like a sine wave except not as fluid. You'll have a few seconds of this low, E string strumming then it'll JUMP to a little higher pitch then immediately jerk to the E string again. I'm not an expert on guitars so trying to vocalize how it sounds is a bit tough for me. I'm not saying this style is bad, but when it's in every song it's just tedious. This exercise in tedium is only further illuminated by the fact that there's one guitarist, but more on that later.

There's no audible bass so I'm not even going to bother singling it out.

The songs themselves are an amalgamation of metalcore sounds with standard song structure. Don't get me wrong: I have no issue with standard song structure, but it relies HEAVILY on execution; the execution of making the choruses catchy and the verses worth remembering. You're stuck with the worst of both worlds.

Last but not least on my checklist of shit that really fucking sucks about this album is my thoughts on one guitarist: YOU NEED TWO GUITARISTS! With such jerky, vapid riffing, you need a 2nd guitarist to balance or, at the very least, hide the shittiness of poor guitar playing. Very rarely do I find bands with one guitarist good. This is because when you have one guitarist you have to perform both rhythm and lead duty and generally, you become a jack of all trades, master of none. This is the exact reason why Dino, with such a lackluster range of riff writing, needs a partner in crime. The end result is just an insipid mess of forgettable sounds.

So if everything fucking sucks, why did I give this a 15? Tim Yeung. The guy is a phenomenal drummer. A complete beast. His machine-gun drumming is the coating for his tight, precise playing. Definitely one of the best drummers in metal today, despite the fact his playing style isn't the most interesting. Execution comes before innovation, though. If you wanted a reason to listen to this album for anything other than pure disgust, this would be the reason. I will pan every Divine Heresy album from this point on until they get a 2nd guitarist.

If the album title has any meaning, it's probably referencing Dino's dictatorship within the band and inability to recruit a 2nd guitarist. He truly is a bringer of plagues. Sorry I couldn't resist.

Divine Heresy - Bringer of Plagues - 76%

thedeathofmusic, April 10th, 2010

Unlike the majority of members on the Metal Archives, I enjoy some metalcore equally as much as I enjoy extreme metal (black, death etc.) but for some reason, I can't stand deathcore. This is why I was so pleased to find a band like Divine Heresy; they manage to fuse death/technical death with metalcore without leaning into the abomination of a genre that's known as deathcore. Not only can they pull this off, but they do it well (unlike Despised Icon, Veil of Maya etc.)

The album starts off with Facebreaker, which really gives you a taste of what you're in for. Full on technical death metal breakdown mayhem.

Apart from the obvious lack of a second guitarist, Cazares chose this line-up well. Tim Yeung is, in my opinion, up there in the same league as Gene Hoglan, Chris Adler and Blake Richardson in terms of technical ability. His drumming is, for me, the highlight of the album. He delivers furious blast beats and thick, ridiculously fast double-bass peddling throughout the whole album, a good example of this is Monolithic Doomsday Devices, an immensely mediocre song made bearable by his amazingly punishing drumming.

Dino Cazares himself tends to take a very industrial, rhythm based approach to his riffing (very reminiscent of Fear Factory). Most of the songs follow this riffing pattern except most notably, Letter to Mother, which puts melody first (in comparison to the rest of the album, anyway) and has more of a melodic death metal feel much like Soilwork in parts.

You can tell that the bass guitarist, Joe Payne, has been deeply rooted in death/ technical death metal for a while as his bass work is very technically skilled and complex with a very typical technical death metal sound. Despite not being a major part of each song, the bass work is driving yet atmospheric.

Finally, the most controversial change made since the release of Divine Heresy's first studio effort, the replacement of Tommy Cummings with Travis Neal. Most people hate Neal's vocals where as some people prefer them. I prefer Neal's screams and high-pitched screeches over those of Tommy Cummings but in general, as a clean vocalist, Neal is dismal. He has a forced, awful tone of voice and struggles to hit the right pitches in most of the songs where he sings. A classic example of this is the "ballad" Darkness Embedded.

The songs to check out are Letter to Mother, Redefine and the title track which, although repetitive, has an awesome, really staccato rhythm. The low points are Monolithic Doomsday Device and Darkness Embedded. Monolithic Doomsday Device starts out promising with an awesome group chant but then descends into an unimaginative almost melody-less four and a half minutes of nu metal styled repetition. It would be the worst track on the album if it wasn’t for some great creative drumming on Yeung’s behalf. With Darkness Embedded, it’s not that I don’t like power ballads, it just feels out of place and Neal’s aforementioned clean vocals are terrible, especially on this track.

I quite like this album, the only reason I didn’t give it somewhere between 80-85 percent is because of the slightly repetitive riffs and song structures and the fact that there is only one guitarist. Without a second guitarist, they lack a certain atmosphere that most other bands have. Despite all of this, I am still looking forward to what will come next from Divine Heresy.

If only they had a second guitarist! - 73%

davkov85, August 19th, 2009

Divine Heresy is a band formed four years ago, featuring names like Dino Cazares (Fear Factory) and Tim Yeung (Hate Eternal). Let me start by noting that this cover is not just crap but also misleading. Having a look at it, you might think it’s some sort of black metal. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The music is fairly modern metalcore / deathcore, trying to balance between the commerce and the really harsh. The question is how far they can get with this strategy.

Opening track Facebreaker certainly represents the tough death metal direction; track ten Darkness Embedded is a more balladistic, slower song. The other tracks fall somewhere between these two.

Although not very much like any of the two aforementioned bands, you can definitely feel who brought what from his mother band. Blastbeats make the music definitely more brutal than average metalcore, and Dino’s staccato industrial riffing is also typical (especially in Enemy Kill, Letter to Mother, Anarchaos).

The instrumentals do well. I have already praised the drums and the guitars, but the vocalist is also cool. Beyond screaming and screaching, he nicely delivers that sort of clean vocals typical of modern metalcore, and also a raspier sort of singing. However, the music is in desperate need of a second guitarist. Of course, there is nothing to wonder about; Dino is infamous for his incompatibility, but this way I miss the plus that could make the songs really memorable.

The best parts in my view are those where they managed to get rid of metalcore clichés. For example, we can hear a great chorus in Letter to Mother, reminiscent of Gothenburg melodeath style, and a though recitation / airy, chanting chorus combo in Redefine (quite in the veins of Fear Factory). Outstanding is the title track, beginning almost as black metal, continuing in ice cold ruthless riffing.

Among the weaker moments are the not very convincing tough-guy flavored, nu metalish Monolithic Doomsday Devices. About ten years ago you could hear this kind of music everywhere – and I haven’t got to like it any more since that time.

All in all not a bad album. Although they do hold a promise, the real thing is yet to come. If they took in another guitarist, that could do a miracle to these tracks.

Originally written for: http://www.kronosmortus.hu