Divine Heresy

Bringer of Plagues

Written by: NB on 05/08/2009 18:41:56

An enthusiastic reviewer on Ultimate-Guitar suggests that Bringer of Plagues is the album for you if you like "being punched in the face from the get-go when you put on a metal album". Maybe it's the same thing, but I would say it's the album for you if you like listening to eleven tracks of almost constant double bass pedalling, then again the band's previous album was also the album for you in that case. You see, whilst the band has changed its vocalist since the last record "Bleed the Fifth", not much else has changed. Even the new vocals aren't that different to be honest.

As you will no doubt know, Divine Heresy was formed by ex-Fear Factory guitarist Dino Cazares, Tim Yeung from Vital Remains and Nile bassist Joe Payne. Due to this all-star lineup the band attracted too much attention from the start and when the first album was released the hype exceeded the product. The album was by no means bad but it didn't really contend with the big names of the genre (death metal if you hadn't guessed) and wasn't quirky enough to fit into a niche of its own. The vocals on that album were provided by Tommy Cummings and after something of a falling-out during a gig he's been ousted by Travis Neal. As I mentioned though, the new clean vocals are almost identical in style and it's only the harsh vocals which are slightly better, having a more brutal, distorted sound and less of an angry, primal shout.

Other improvements on this record include a nod towards a slightly more "tech death" sound with some guitar trills at the beginning of "Facebreaker" being reminiscent of Nile (the bass part especially - I wonder why that might be). Then there are some frail attempts at breaking the album up, such as "Undivine Prophecies" which is a minute-long, rather unsuitable, orchestral intro to the title track that follows. These portions of vague interest become less and less frequent in the rest of the songs and you're left with riffs that are neither boring nor groundbreaking accompanied by the relentless drumming. The drumming is technical for sure. Tim Yeung's speed is up with the likes of Nick Barker and Jan Axel Blomberg (in fact, the former had been Cazares' first-choice candidate to become Divine Heresy's drummer) but his drumming just doesn't compare when it comes to originality and interest. The man's obsessed with the bass drum. There isn't a single song on the album that hasn't been riddled with his machinegun pedalling. "Monolithic Doomsday Devices" takes this to the most ridiculous extremes and even the most melodic song on the album, "Darkness Embedded", is afflicted. Having said that, it sounds pretty interesting having that splatter of drumming in the chorus what is essentially a pop rock ballad and would be tempted to call it the best song on the record if it didn't lose its way somewhat in the middle.

It's hard to come to terms with a bass pedal being the "main attraction" of the record, as the aforementioned, illustrious reviewer gleefully calls it. Essentially, if you can get over that and if the first album was your cup of tea then this one doesn't put a foot wrong but for the rest of us there are far more interesting things on offer in the departments of both death metal and extreme drumming.

Download: Facebreaker, Anarchaos, Darkness Embedded
For The Fans Of: Devildriver, Chimaira
Listen: MySpace

Release Date: 28.07.2009
AFM Records

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