Right from "Facebreaker" to the epic closer "The End Begins," Dino Cazares and his crew, now including replacement singer/screamer Travis Neal, unleash 11 incinerating tunes on Bringer of Plagues whose sheer energy is unbelievable. The music itself has diverged from the Killswitch Engage meets Fear Factory hybrid heard on earlier effort Bleed the Fifth. For Bringer of Plagues, Divine Heresy has evolved into a muscular, percussion-driven beast. It is a little repetitive at times, but still kicks unholy ass.
Past the high octane decibels of "Facebreaker" – drummer Tim Yeung should receive an award as it's his work behind the kit driving the album – is the equally vitriolic "The Battle of J. Casey." Despite its unflagging momentum, two songs deep in the album the listener may notice how annoying Travis Neal's vocals are. When he isn't using his patented screams he's doing a worthy Chester Bennington/Matt Heafy imitation, inevitably coming off as a parody of Scar Symmetry's genre-defining vocal magic. While the band has sworn to kick the "core" out of their sound, it seems they landed in the same place. Sad to say, Divine Heresy play deathcore, a loathsome genre spawned in the dark bowels of Myspace.
The album does not entirely fail, however. In fact, the aggression on Bringer of Plagues is still potent enough it saves the album. If there are moshpits accompanying the music, they would manifest as a murderous, bone breaking affair. Amidst the vortex of Dino's jagged riffs are strong choruses and catchy vocal lines keeping matters interesting. "Anarchaos" and "Enemy Kill," for example, display this infectiousness. The sci-fi themed "Monolithic Doomsday Devices," meanwhile, may owe its origins to The Chronicles of Riddick.
There are also glimmers of arcane epic bombast which lend a touch of titanic power to the album. Case in point: the intro to "Bringer of Plagues" has horns, strings, and film scores which could confuse listeners for Behemoth. The same happens in "The End Begins" once a cruddy power ballad titled "Darkness Embedded" is done failing at an attempt at your heartstrings.
All in all, Bringer of Plagues is a savage sophomore release blemished by a couple of lackluster tracks mixed in with better ones. Overall, Divine Heresy can pat itself on the back for proving they aren't a novelty.
The Battle of J. Casey
Bringer of Plagues
Monolithic Doomsday Devices
Letter to Mother
The End Begins