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Divine X - The Other Side

Divine X inhabit some strange netherworld between all manner of bands and personalities. On their self-released debut demo, The Other Side, the German quintet blends the chugging pulse of later-period Meshuggah with tempo shifts and moody clean passages worthy of a less Gothic or fantastic Opeth perhaps. The icing on the cake is the band's outright prog-metal solos, and full ahead Strapping Young Lad stop-start riff dynamics. Frontman Stefan has a weird, drawling croon that he occasionally busts out, even sounding like the frontman of either Death by Stereo or Type O Negative a little. It is this diversity that has seen Divine X improve by leaps and bounds; the band recently opened some German dates with Nile and have won several regional contests due to their outside the box thinking in approach to progressive death metal.

As interesting as the above may sound, Divine X aren't nearly as weird or out-there as one might expect. Rather, perhaps the greatest strength of this outfit is their innate ability to make things memorable, catchy, and at least mildly fresh in comparison to other acts; in fact, for a four-song debut demo, The Other Side is a remarkably mature effort. "Cryptic Signs" snakes pounding double-bass kicks and open, melodic chords with more death-leaning riffage, all with a bit of post-thrash weight in its molasses chugging. The most interesting aspect is how easily Stefan switches between an almost spot-on Opeth death growl for the heavier sections whereas the softer pieces find him crooning in a strange, almost American Southwestern lilt. Tossing some proggier leads and solos to the mix, this song has some odd albeit totally easy-going dynamics to it; it's weird, but it won't disorient anyone or cause undue confusion. "Eyes" is the best song on the track, its catchy tremolo-picking offset by beatdowns worthy of a more hardcore oriented act. A lengthy meander through instrumental bliss and plenty of soaring melody is really swank, and this composition showcases a maturity well beyond most bands this young. The short instrumental "X" is a quiet, reflective piece that is almost all clean-melodies and whispering notes. I'd almost call it radio-friendly in a later period Metallica sort of way, but not entirely sure as it still wades in the shallows of the unusual. Grand finale "The Other Side" opens with sludge stomping before everything gradually solidifies into Meshuggah-isms with perhaps a bit more warmth to the guitar tones. The drumming on this track is especially phenomenal, though virtually everyone works hard at making it a memorable track. Great stuff!

Divine X is a band that thankfully covers virtually any base needing it. On the one hand, they have absolutely no qualms about injecting melody or hypnosis into their sound, and on the other, things are brutal and technical but never too much so. The end result is a band that with an open mind on the parts of us listeners could probably impress virtually everyone and anyone. Here's thinking it might be wise to break on through to The Other Side.

Track Listing
1. Cryptic Signs
2. Eyes
3. X
4. The Other Side



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