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Divinity - "Allegory" (CD)

Divinity - "Allegory" CD cover image

"Allegory" track listing:

1. Induce
2. Power Control
3. Plasma
4. Methodic
5. Modern Prophecy
6. Strain
7. The Unending
8. Chasm
9. The Diarist
10. NeuroTyrant

Reviewed by on August 15, 2008

"This album is going to make you think, and then it’s going to kick your ass."

“Allegory” is a full throttle musical statement on what solid musicianship and a knack for writing catchy tunes without catering to the masses can do for a band buried by the stigma that dime-a-dozen acts like Nickelback have burdened other Western Canadian musicians with. Toss in a little entrepreneurial know-how, and you’ve got Divinity, one of the latest acts signed to Nuclear Blast Records.

Self-produced and financed long before the labels sat up and took notice, “Allegory” was mixed and mastered by Tue Madsen from his Denmark-based Antfarm Studios Antfarm Studios. Madsen is the audiophile behind the solid releases of bands like Dark Tranquility, The Haunted, Sirenia, Behemoth, Winds of Plague and Himsa (to name a very small few), so opting to hire this guy to help shape Divinity’s polished sound on “Allegory” was no random decision.

What followed the recording of “Allegory” was a process that included conceiving the artwork, drawing up their own press releases and shopping the finished product around the world, while still losing their shirts on the road as an independent band, something four of the five members had already been doing together for about 10 years.

From the very first track of the album you can hear what must have inspired Nuclear Blast to fix these guys up with a distribution deal: this album is going to make you think, and then it’s going to kick your ass.

Through a mixture of clean and cookie monster vocals, singer Sean Jenkins keeps the listener glued to the catchy melodies and terrorizes with his screams. Layer in the sweet guest harmonies of Jerrod Maxwell-Lyster – on loan from Calgary, Alberta Canada’s prog rock trio Autobody – and factor in the death growls of Caveat's Greg Musgrave – also from Calgary – and you find yourself inundated with voices crushing from all angles. Listening to this in surround sound would be very wicked indeed.

Unfortunately, without the memorably bi-polar vocal lines, this album would probably lose some of its appeal after a few listens. Don’t get me wrong, the musicianship here is stellar: the guitar riffs are airtight, and the solos are so highly technical and melodically shredtastic they’ll make your brain hurt after a while. The bass grooves hit hard and refuse to take back seat, and the drums, well, for starters, I can still feel them bouncing around my chest cavity.

What you get with “Allegory” is a solid debut album from a group of solid musicians with the songwriting skills, talent and angst to get in your head with the promise of only get better through future releases. Overall, Divinity's major label debut is a guilty pleasure with an infectious blend of death and thrash with just enough of a rock edge to hook you in.

Highs: The death growls of guest vocalist Greg Musgrave will haunt you long after you've finished spinning this disc.

Lows: Some of the guitar solos and vocal harmonies are a bit on the cliché side, tipping the listener off to what’s going to happen next.

Bottom line: Knowing what to expect isn't always such a bad thing if the grooves are as infectious as they are on this release.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
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)