Divinity Destroyed
Eden In Ashes

Call me an liar, call me an idiot, but I am under the personal opinion that the US are somewhat of followers in the extreme metal scene, often copying and often improving upon Europe’s often forward thinking, progressive acts. I can’t think of any Opeth or Theory In Practice-like US bands currently peddling their wares. (The defunct Scholomance is the only one that’s come to mind-although I’m sure I’ll receive a few emails correcting me and suggesting obscure bands abound). As the US are generally content to take death metal, grindcore and black metal in and form it to its own character. And that’s why New Jersey’s Divinity Destroyed is such a unique act.

Originally self released in 2003 (which further cements their forward thinking aspect), Eden in Ashes is an experimental journey through death/black and progressive metal that for recent comparisons sake has the sort of mixed ambiance and hard to define sound like the recently reviewed Persefone and Requiem Aeternam. It lacks some polish and finite touches, but on the whole, the album succeeds as an adventurous genre ignoring display of bravado. A lot of the reason for their sound is guitarist/vocalist Mark Ward, who has a distinct clean croon to complement the screams and growls of guitarist Tom Ward and bassist Rob Proft (no longer in the band). Adding to his serene voice is the keyboards of Emily Heerema (also not in the band anymore); whose progressive tinkering backs the shifting artful music that covers the whole spectrum of metal.

Smartly opening with “Sweet Heresy” which is the kind of song that captures a band’s identity and stays wit them their whole career, Divinity Destroyed deliver 31 minutes of decently played but admittedly averagely produced avant-garde metal that should appeal to the more open minded listeners. The envelope is often pushed to the edge of ostentatious with the likes of the infectiously twiddly “Threnody”, but they seem to often reel the song in from self gratifying at the right moment. The initial technical flourish and somber vocal tone of “Borealis” soon reverts to a pretty prog heavy display of prowess, but again borders on conceited if it weren’t for the grounding death metal vocal breaks. While the prior tracks carefully tread the line from progressive to pretentious, “Nothing but a Shadow” crashes over the line with a tribal/acoustic flourish that’s slightly out of place due to its percussive flow, flute and overly busy midsection. Instrumental break “Aurora” unfortunately shows of the bands original lo-fi recordings with the synths coming across as rather empty and hokey when not buffered by the other instruments. “Empty the Sky” is also slightly full of itself and overly emotive, but things take a more aggressive turn for closer “Disciple”.

There is literally tons of potential here, and you get glimpses of it early on, but Divinity Destroyed still have some tightening up to do; drummer Dan Leonard, despite his fills could be more steady, and as with all progressive bands, they need to really focus a little more on one direction or the other. I’m curious to see where the new lineup goes, hopefully upwards.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
March 23rd, 2005

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