Divine Heresy
Bringer of Plagues

Bringer of Plagues is the second album from Dino Cazeres’ post Fear Factory (though it appears he’s back in the fold with BC Bell) baby Divine Heresy, and it’s basically more of the same, though now fronted by Travis Neal of The Bereaved, who replaced original screamer/crooner Tommy “Vext” Cummings last year after a rather nasty and public incident.

Two years ago, when the debut Bleed the Fifth was released, I was elated to hear those signature Fear Factory riffs again, but over time the enthusiasm wore off – mostly due to the all too grating and out of place clean vocals stamped all over it, and the goofy tough guy lyrics. Because lets face it – music this heavy and intense should not have any “crooning” involved – it makes it seem silly, unless you’re Burton C. Bell, because that guy actually has a great voice. I can understand that Dino would want to get back to that style, but first a capable vocalist needs to be found – Tommy Cummings certainly wasn’t that guy, and disappointingly, newcomer Travis Neal isn’t either. Seriously, he’s pretty much a “Vext” clone in both facets, and his clean vocals ruin an otherwise decent album. If he’d stick with pure screaming/growling, the end result would have been much more appealing.

It’s a shame really, because musically, this album is a beast, thanks in large part of the superb drumming skills of Tim Yeung (Hate Eternal, Decrepit Birth, etc) as he’s an absolute monster behind the kit. His performance on Bringer of Plagues (as well as the debut) is a furious, relentless, devastating barrage of blasts and double bass – he’s a machine! Dino’s riff work is also pretty damn good, but Yeung really steals the show here.

There’s no point in picking songs apart here as most everything is in the same vein – a mostly endless assault of intensity musically, with the choppy, syncopated riffs and drum patterns, occasionally peppered with bits of melody and the good cop/bad copy vocal routine. Of course any momentum that’s built up from the beginning of the song is immediately lost when the “good cop” shows up. Outside of this, the final product is also too repetitive and formulaic – even without the horrible clean vocals, I could still see myself losing interest halfway through because there’s simply no diversity here. The one exception is the late album “Darkness Embedded”, where we’re “treated” to an all clean sung vocal performance from Neal – it’s terrible and sure to be a big hit single for Century Media/Roadrunner.

I’d love to see Dino continue this project, but to find a pure screamer/growler to handle the vocals, or someone who can do the dual vocals without sounding whiny, because all that crooning just pisses all over otherwise solid material.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Larry "Staylow" Owens
August 25th, 2009

Comments

  1. Commented by: Juan Pinto

    So, you mean he should hire Christian Alvestam for the next album?


  2. Commented by: Staylow

    Hey, that’s a good idea right there. Alvestam is amazing, but I don’t think he’s much into touring.


  3. Commented by: AARONIUS

    I’m a Fear Factory fan no doubt, but I have to take issue with everyone who compares all other singers that do this style to Burton Bell. I’m sure the vocals are every bit as bad as this review states, but come on. It wouldn’t be any better if he sounded just like Burt Bell. Burton C Bell is an average vocalist at best.

    Seriously, he sounds good on the FF albums because all of that material has been pro-tooled to eternity.

    Listen to anything he’s ever done live and you’ll hear what I mean.

    Unfortunately Divine Heresy sounds like a one trick pony to me, and honestly I don’t expect much from the new Fear Factory either.


  4. Commented by: Staylow

    Well, I’ve never witnessed Fear Factory live, so I can’t compare Bell’s vocals on CD to the live setting. I merely used his Burt Bell as a point of reference, especially considering just who it is at the point of focus here – not the be all, end all vocalist of his type. Neal doesn’t need to sound just like Bell for this to be good – he just needs to not sound as whiny as he does here.


  5. Commented by: dr_neo_cortex

    I saw fear factory a while back, when they were touring Archetype and yeah Burton c bell has room for improvement live but they put on a pretty good show.

    I’ll pass on this though.


  6. Commented by: Juan Pinto

    I had the luck to see Fear Factory live once for the Obsolete tour and Burton C. Bell sounded just as good live as he did on albums. He might not be a great vocalist in league with Bruce Dickinson or Rob Halford but his voice just fits the music. He never sounds whiny or annoying, his cleans vocals are tuneful and always add to the music, never substract from it. I guess the point Staylow was trying to get accross is that Divine Heresy needs a singer whose voice complements the music as Burton C. Bell’s did with Fear Factory.


  7. Commented by: faust666

    i guess i’m the only one who thinks Tim Yeung’s hyper triggered one dimensional drumming isn’t all that great.
    Terrible vocals and mostly boring songs. This band sounds like they’re trying way too hard.


  8. Commented by: krustster

    Lolol, much better review that the shitty one on MR. I gotta dmit though, I really like the new guy’s singing. Vext sounded like Howard Jones but this guy reminds me of Lawrence Mackrory, a singer that I think is really overlooked/underappreciated. I would make the Linkin Park comparison but frankly, when the guy from Threat Signal is still out there, nobody else can come close on that front. I can see not liking the singing, though. Good, fair review.


  9. Commented by: Dimaension X

    I think Dino is pretty good in this context, his playing is much more interesting than in later Fear Factory before he left the band, much more complex.

    The clean vox are a bit annoying and bordering on mallcore – I don’t think they’re necessary.

    And the drumming isn’t anymore “triggered” than Ray Herrera, who triggers EVERYTHING in sight.

    Then again, I’ll probably just delete this one from the collection.


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