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Divinity - "The Singularity" (CD)

Divinity - "The Singularity" CD cover image

"The Singularity" track listing:

1. Abiogenesis (2:11)
2. Beg to Consume (4:23)
3. Lay in the Bed You've Made (4:38)
4. Emergent (4:48)
5. Transformation (6:13)
6. Monsters Are Real (5:32)
7. Embrace the Uncertain (6:44)
8. Formless Dimension (4:42)
9. Approaching the Singularity (6:10)

Reviewed by on August 16, 2010

"'The Singularity' is a sharp album booming with technical proficiency and a heightened sense of adventurism in the songwriting."

Divinity is what many people would call a technical progressive death metal band; a mouthful, to say the least. Pasting genre names together like a misshaped puzzle is nothing new and is usually unwarranted. However, using this subhead for Divinity is actually necessary; the Canadian quintet employs bits of technical, progressive, and death metal into their core sound. What materializes on “The Singularity” is a pish-posh of different styles and tempos clashing with each other across the span of nine all-encompassing tracks. The conflict is dynamic, but the band throwing everything all in at once works against them in leaving an immediate first impression.

It’s not because of a lack of trying that “The Singularity” is less than memorable on the first few listens. The band is stunning in their instrumental work, especially guitarists James Duncan and Sacha Laskow. The duo leans heavily on technical and proficient lead interplay, slicing through the dank atmosphere like a katana through the neck. Their performance keeps the album from crumbling into a cataclysm of senseless noise. The rhythm section is underplayed, but their contributions can’t be overlooked. While the bass is criminally low in the mix, the drums are up front and punchy. The constant time changes and intemperate fills can leave a listener worn out by the halfway mark.

The second half of the album outshines the first by a lengthy distance. Songs become grander in size and the progressive side of the band is brought out of the murky corner to get a little air. “Monsters Are Real” starts out with a stark single guitar piece that is the only light moment to be found in a sea of driving brutal riffs and choppy blast beats. Speaking of blast beats, the insanely-paced “Formless Dimension” should be a live favorite for years to come. The strongest song is the melodic “Embrace The Uncertain,” a track that shows the catchier side of the band. From soft piano to sky-raising clean vocals, every attempt is made to show that monotony and predictability is not in Divinity’s DNA.

The early parts of the album are performed with a degree of efficiency, but the lack of any memorable riffs is noticeable. Scorchers “Beg To Consume” and “Emergent” play things fast and loose, two characteristics that don’t translate into instantaneous lasting value. The band seems content with keeping the listener on the edge of their seat, a trait that is thrilling in small doses, but overbearing over the long run. After the 45 minutes are over, most people will think back to the quirky aspects of the latter portion of the album, whether that be the classical piano outro on closer “Approaching The Singularity” or the mainstream approach to “Embrace The Uncertain.”

A series of play-throughs will ease up the memorability issue. Even after that situation is dealt with though, the fact remains that the album just flows much better once “Transformation” comes around. Technical death metal fans will find Divinity to be a hybrid of several genres that all have a hand in formulating the band’s sonic reverence. “The Singularity” is a sharp album booming with technical proficiency and a heightened sense of adventurism in the songwriting.

Highs: Proficient technical death metal, fantastic guitar work, a good amount of variety in the second half

Lows: The first half isn't as memorable as the latter half, band's constant shifting of riffs and melodies is jarring

Bottom line: Divinity puts together another strong tech death album that will have fans of the genre begging for more.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)