Divine Heresy – Bringer of Plagues (Century Media Records)

Saturday, 16th March 2013
Rating: 7.5/10

Talk about picking the best time to release an album. Bringer of Plagues is going to be released right in the thick over a legal battle of the Fear Factory name, which, depending on one’s perspective, is a genius PR move or yet another maneuver in which to confuse the underground. We’ll stay neutral and focus on the merits of Bringer of Plagues which will probably not overtake 2007’s Bleed the Fifth, but might serve as one of the year’s most crushing releases.

Therein lies the problem: Bringer of Plagues is so over-the-top and sonically throttling, it’s overload. Drummer Tim Yeung is WAY to high in the mix; his double-kicks and blasts fight a constant battle with Dino Cazares’ guitars and it’s more of hindrance than asset. Of course, the duo hooks up for some rather uber-extreme moments during “Facebreaker,” “Enemy Kill” and “Darkness Embedded,” but subject yourself to repeated listens, you’re going to fill a bit bombarded.

New vocalist Travis Neal is an acquired taste, who on more than one occasion resembles the work of Threat Signal/Arkaea vocalist Jon Howard. Neal has more of a modern metal attack and that ends up hurting songs like “Immortal Pain” and “Redefine.”

There are several winners here, namely the title track which just destroys, “Anarachaos,” a throwback to Fear Factory’s Soul of a New Machine days and “Letter to Mother,” which displays a nice round of guitar melodies from Cazares.

You’re not going to get much more extreme with the syncopated/staccato template than Bringer of Plagues. Cazares and Yeung have pushed this sound to the brink and how they plan on getting more extreme, is beyond anyone. It will beat you into the ground, but Bringer of Plagues is not so much of an improvement than a lateral step from Bleed to Fifth, so yeah, when that’s new Fear Factory album coming out?

www.myspace.com/divinehersyband

(This content originally appeared on Blistering.com)