Divinity – The Singularity
Release Date: 2010Aug10 (US)
Label: Candlelight Records
Presumption is funny. The shorthand can sometimes be useful, but in the case of Divinity, I incorrectly anticipated either god-awful power metal or Christian metalcore. Never did I expect adventurous technical death metal that heavily draws from the influence of Strapping Young Lad. The Singularity is the Calgary quintet’s second full-length, originally released in late 2009, but has recently seen wider distribution via Candlelight Records.
For once, the intro track is not superfluous. “Abiogenesis” actually does a good job hinting at what’s to come, and utters the appropriate line: “Show me your origin”. But “Beg to Consume” is where things really get moving, unleashing critical social commentary from the manic Shawn Jenkins, who channels a focused chaos akin to Devin Townsend. It mostly stays vicious here, but he hints toward the cleaner side in the chorus of “Lay in the Bed You’ve Made”, which also draws on Meshuggah-inspired polyrhythms at song’s end. The pacing and tone of the guitar solos in “Emergent” are also characteristic of the experimental Swedes.
Both that track and “Transformation” deal deeply with self-discovery as a means of spiritual and societal progression. Interesting yes, but musically began to lose their hooks. “Monsters Are Real” explores the darker side of humanity—perhaps those who chose not to introspect, perhaps those who just misunderstood—but I was surprised that my interest started to fade off here.
The beginning minute of piano during their longest song, “Embrace the Uncertain” lulled me to sleep, and cleaner vocals surface, reminiscent of Howard Jones-era Killswitch Engage. They again appear on “Formless Dimension”, but as the only track on the second half that doesn’t well exceed five minutes, its brevity is appreciated.
There is something about Divinity that seems to lack individuality. They invoke all of the aforementioned bands, as well as Gothenburg melodeathsters like Darkane, but they still strike me as a band questing for identity. Also, something odd happens to them whenever they aim past the six-minute mark, and their time sig changes versus evolving riffs saturate the senses. They hold interest, but I had trouble remembering songs. There is still so much to enjoy on The Singularity, and those into melodic and/or technical and/or progressive metal should give a listen.
Try: 2, 3, 4, 6, 8
02. Beg to Consume
03. Lay in the Bed You’ve Made
06. Monsters Are Real
07. Embrace the Uncertain
08. Formless Dimension
09. Approaching the Singularity