Power-prog metalers Divinity Destroyed are one of the latest additions to indie label Screaming Ferret Wreckords/Escapi Music's growing armada.
With their latest release, Eden In Ashes, we find a band who has gone into the kitchen, and come back out touting an alleged concoction of death, power, and progressive. The musicianship of its members cannot be denied--- but it is still going to be a tough sell.
Divinity Destroyed have put themselves in the unenviable position of trying to appeal to progs and death metalers alike. On the one hand, the mix is likely to be found as too edgy and harsh for progs. On the other, one which is too bright and smoothed for death metalers--- and let it be known that the instances of what should be regarded as occurrences of death metal are sporadic. If power metal constitutes the middle, then this seems to be where Divinity Destroyed find their chemistry most comfortably on Eden In Ashes.
First track "Sweet Heresy" begins with a brief quiver of clean guitar, but quickly jumps over to the recording's first hand at passing death metal muster. It simply does not happen. This is where the listener hears that which has done harm to what is otherwise fine (but partly misnomered) musicianship--- the sound mix. This is not a black metal recording, nor is it a hardcore punk recording. When one is working in the styles of power and progressive, one of the most vital attributions to insure is the crispness and clarity of the guitars. Although two guitars are steadily present throughout this recording, they are buried--- submerged--- in the mix. Here and through Eden In Ashes, the dueling harmonies and fluttering legatos never quite make it into the spotlight, when it seems only natural that they should be stressed. The bass drum is disappointingly thinned out to a far away place as well. Instead, the 'oomph' appears to have been granted to the snare.
Next up is "Threnody", a song which establishes Divinity Destroyed's burgeoning aptitude for prog and power metal. The opening riff is dicey at first blush, though this is remedied by a rousing chorus that sweeps in at around 0:48 that goes long on melody. Indeed, the strong, memorable choral arrangements of Eden In Ashes are to the band's credit. Even still, the mantra must be "guitars, guitars, guitars".Tracks such as "Borealis", "Empty the Sky", and "Disciple" (perhaps the best instance of their goal to realize a tri-layered mix of death/prog/power) are unfortunate examples, where the guitars really need to take command, and arm the spine of the music with a serrated edge--- and yet they remain in the middle, at times even playing second fiddle to the keyboards.
"Nothing But a Shadow" is the most likely candidate for election as the centerpiece of Eden in Ashes, with its four minute, ambient pagan sojourn and airy, clean guitar juxtaposed against a proceeding jolt into its heavier, faster secondary half, complete with a well executed, overlapping vocal arrangement.
The verdict: the blending of the styles explored on Eden In Ashes might in fact be better described as the patchworking of these respective styles--- not a solid substance, but rather a precariously linked, stylistic chain of sorts. The attention paid to the choral melodies is strong, but the overall sound mix given to the music is incongruous with the styles being employed--- at times even lopsided. The music has heart, a lot of heart in fact, but Divinity Destroyed will inevitably have to fall in with the chemistry which Eden In Ashes has proven will most naturally suit them: progressive metal with a touch of power metal.
DS' rating: 81 points