By Danielle Partis
It’s no secret, that the UK metal scene is very saturated. There are countless waves of bands all trying to prove themselves as a revolution. It gets tiring. If you’re as cynical as I am, you will begin to approach artists with an air of disarray, despite hearing many promising things about them. A desire to innovate is key, but when bands are too busy paying attention to what everyone else is doing, everything eventually becomes a tactless, repetitive splurge. Contemporary enthusiasm is instrumental; however, musicians still seem to overlook the simple, yet timelessly effective methods that lead to success, in order to flit about on the winds of ever-changing facades.
Then there are bands like Dividium.
A four piece progressive metal outfit hailing from Yorkshire, Dividium have already placed themselves light-years apart from the prattle of modern acts, combining traditional and contemporary metal elements, to create something much more satisfying. With an abundance of intricate instrumentation and smart, emotive lyrics, Dividium are quickly proving themselves to be well practiced, masters of their craft. Their debut album ‘The Scourge’ is a justification of this, bubbling ferociously with energy, talent, and promise.
‘The Scourge’ features eleven tracks, opening on the aptly named ‘The Start of it All’. A beautiful, placid instrumental that renders you oblivious to what’s coming next. ‘Cognitive Dissonance’ is the second track on The Scourge; a vehement roar carried by a ferocious riff is what drags you face first in to this stunning album. Although Cognitive Dissonance is one of the longest tracks on the album, the divergence of musicianship throughout makes it feel like one of the most engaging. The album doesn’t let up for one single second before wrenching in to Dividium’s second release, ‘Throat of the World’. Of course, a song named after a landmark in Skyrim caught our attention. Throat stands out from the rest because of its compelling chorus; if you were looking for a hook, there it is.
Elements of aggression are emphasised in ‘Dead Walls’. This song is set apart from the surrounding ones by a thrashy, petulant riff and drumming that could shatter tectonic plates. It’s a definite highlight on The Scourge and a track that will do well live. Dividium’s first release ‘Crestfallen’ is track five, and again it features a colossal, soaring chorus, and a fantastically crafted bridge, reminiscent of the piano featured at the very beginning of the album. Although Crestfallen is very similar to Throat of the World, the continuation is hardly a detriment, and it differs with the inclusion of some impressive, gutteral backing vocals.
The sixth track on The Scourge quickly became a favourite of mine. Ephemera, is a striking acoustic composition, where we hear yet another example of Dividium’s diversity. There’s a lot less going on, so attention is focused to Pete’s technique. It’s refreshing to hear something other than waves of aggressive chug and meticulously penned solos. The placement of the song reminded me of listening to Dream Theater’s ‘Awake’ for the first time – hearing The Silent Man between two long, heavy tracks. Ephemera doesn’t quite split the album in two, but it does deter the album from becoming stale.
‘The Indifference of Good Men’ brings us out of the contemplative acoustic moment, straight back in to the persistent, aggressive nature of The Scourge. Similar to Throat of the World, Indifference prides itself on soaring melodies and a vocal line that is both beautifully sonorous and venomous. A ‘Game of Chance’ is a powerful song that picks up the pace again, and would probably be the end of the album, if Dividium were any other band. However, they never become predictable; there are no indecipherable lyrics or unnecessary breakdowns. No extended, overly ambitious solos or ridiculous breaks. Yet they somehow consistently break their own boundaries, by knowing their own limits.
The Scourge closes on ‘The Triptych’, an epic three part suite. ‘In Absentia’, is a breath of serenity from its hectic predecessor. The ambience is euphoric and engaging, a perfect lead up to what I’d consider the most powerful track on the album. ‘The Gift’, is a passionate, emotive arrangement; Neil’s vocals fluctuate from being razor sharp, to cold and haunting with ease.
Guitarist Pete really flexes his playing and writing capabilities throughout the Triptych; his playing is often perplexing, yet very systematic. He’s proven himself as an incredibly proficient player and composer, and the amalgamation of his guitar work with Neil’s prolific lyrics, is what will make Dividium distinctive. ‘The Scourge’, is the final ride on this remarkable release, and Dividium really give it their all to ensure that we remember what they are about. The track is a monumental demonstration of the crush of modern prog metal, and a stunning close that leaves listeners clamouring for more.
The Scourge in its entirety is a consistent reminder that progressive metal doesn’t have to become repetitive; Dividium are a rarity that can effortlessly embrace cantankerous concepts without becoming stagnant or predictable. Driven by genuine, ruthless ambition; Dividium show no signs of halting, for anyone. Their ability to create a sound reminiscent of classic acts without losing their youthful vigour, will undoubtedly render them appealing to metal fans everywhere. They can effortless drift in to any sub-genre they please, without sacrificing a thing in terms of dynamic or skill. Their focus, drive, and indifference to being relevant will inevitably keep them afloat. ‘The Scourge’ is a triumphant debut, and Dividium are a rapidly becoming a powerful force to be reckoned with.
You’ll struggle to keep up.
Head over to www.dividium.co.uk for more details. 'The Scourge' will be available from September 2.
Metal Horn rating: \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/ \n
Metal Horn rating: \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/ \n