Release DetailsLABEL Nuclear Blast
RELEASED ON 3/25/2008
posted on 6/2008 By:
It’s been hard not to notice how much coverage Calgary, Canada’s Divinity has gotten in the media lately, and it’s also not difficult to hear why they’ve had so many positive responses. Their Nuclear Blast debut, Allegory, is immediately impressive and thoroughly enjoyable after many, many spins. Yet the more I listen to it, the more their influences burn brighter with each revisit, and the more I begin to wonder what these guys could bring forth with a more individualistic sound.
With that out of the way, Allegory is a damn good album. There’s an equal mix of Darkane/Strapping Young Lad, with some God Forbid; all of it is technical, most of it is varied yet groovy, and some of it really rips out gangbuster speed with a seriously hard death metal lean. The combination of precision, often rapid rhythms, and multiple singing styles reminds me more of thrash than anything, and I swear I heard a couple moments of Artillery, and Exodus influence popping up briefly. It’s a very energetic disc that still exercises enough self-restraint so that things don’t sound too entirely all over the place, but at the same time there are a few occasions the music becomes a bit pieced together with no definitive direction as evidenced immediately with lead-off track “Induce”. There are three songs worth of material packed into just one tune, and in a way, it almost feels like I’m listening to three different songs at once. Not an unpleasant thing in this instance, because Divinity throw down one bitchin’ riff after another from start to fuckin’ finish.
Guitarist Sacha Laskow is one seriously talented cat, and virtually everything he does on this release totally smokes. Despite the often disjointed nature of the songwriting, the harmonies, staccato riffs, leads, and layered harmonies are all of very high quality, and I hear no filler anywhere. The Gojira-like bombast of “Power Control” is undeniably badass, featuring a huge lumbering riff with blasting taking place underneath as the song reaches its peak. The opening piano during “The Unending” was also a very cool little touch. Vocalist Sean Jenkins, however, could almost be reviewed all by himself. Talk about all over the place, I thought “is there any style this dude ISN’T going to try to sing?” more than once while jamming out to this. When he nails something, he nails it hard, but also tends to oversing (“Methodic”) often. In fact Allegory makes me feel like I’m listening to a calmer, less freaked-out Biomechanical, with a much better production job than anything I’ve heard from the UK act. A few clean vocal lines are sort of on the cute side, never to the point of annoyance like Trivium, or Sanctity, but the cleans aren‘t always smoothly segued. This brings me to my biggest criticism of Allegory.
How many other bands have I mentioned so far in this review? Nine, and I could have referenced at least three or five more. As awesome as this disc is, the lack of originality makes my head spin, but the bite in the ass is none of it sounds like existing material from any of the bands I mentioned, really. It gets to the point of feeling like mimicry, albeit red hot mimicry, and it would be phenomenal to hear what a more original songwriting stance would produce from this incredibly talented band, especially considering they lay out some genuinely killer stuff that stands alongside, and occasionally surpasses their influences as far as maintaining interest goes.
Keep an ear out for these guys, and regard my bitching and nitpicking as simply being part of what I’m here to do. Once the final word is typed here, you better believe I’ll be spinning this bad little puppy in the future, because all dissection aside, Divinity has a great deal to offer if they choose to stick together. “NeuroTyrant” has been stuck in my brain for a few days now, and I don’t really mind too much, and I think there’s a few of you out there who wouldn’t mind either. Very worthwhile.
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