Artist: This Divided World
Album: The Missing Pages [EP]
Imagine your favorite book—whether it’s a gripping, blood-curdling story of suspense an uproarious, laugh-until-you-can’t comedy, or a pensive, brooding work of heavy-handed genius. Now, imagine that same book, but missing that something that puts it above the rest. Maybe that couple pages of unpredictable twist or brilliant banter that makes it truly your favorite. In the end, it seems as if placing all that weight on the effects of what sums up to a key chapter really puts things in perspective: how it can be the smallest efforts which are truly the most dense and telling about the talent of an author. As it so turns out, the same can be said for Micah Brill, the prolific pen, pick and drumstick behind the one-man faith-filled deathcore juggernaut This Divided World. Following swiftly on the heels of his debut release, When Darkness Reigns, This Divided World return with The Missing Pages, an EP which substitutes the length of its predecessor with an infinitely more aggressive, immense and intelligent attack on the listener, proving that in the war-torn land of heavy music, density will always win over sheer volume.
The Missing Pages is, in short, every highlight of a full-length release in a concise, pointed, yet furiously focused onslaught. This is due in one part to how incredibly tight-knit the instrumentation is. This Divided World combine sweeping, scenic soundscapes of brilliant, technical riffing and pulverizing, punishing percussion with moments of sheer, otherworldly heaviness which ravages the otherwise stellar soundscape. “The Book of Life” is one such track—founded upon segments of furiously fretted shredding and lacerating, skin-rending drumming which are mercilessly crushed under the heel of sinister, yet addicting heaviness. “Curbstomp the Devil” is equally talented at this—which is remarkable given its brevity. “Curbstomp the Devil” rapidly creates an immersive and haunting atmosphere which overwhelms the listener’s senses—only to snap them back into the “here and now” with sanity-snapping heaviness. This penchant for soul-smothering brutality is nothing short of addictive—as it keeps the listener entranced, waiting during every track for the climactic, crushing breakdown which topples the precariously—yet wonderfully—crafted labyrinth of pure deathcore technicality.
However, amid the entrenching heaviness and engaging technicality which create The Missing Pages’ immersive setting, there lies This Divided World’s second scintillating facet—the script with which the story is ultimately written. Host to a an entire plethora of guest vocalists on top of an already incredible native vocal performance, The Missing Pages is a vocal chimera which grapples and wrestles with the listener, utilizing every type of stranglehold, punch and kick at its disposal. Whether it’s the voice of The Order of Elijah, Creations or A Body Divided—several faith driven heavyweights—the vocal variety on this brief but brilliant EP is simply incredible. Again, the listener is encouraged to turn to the short-but-sweet “Curbstomp the Devil,” which wastes no time in rampaging through a range of vocals so extensive and perfectly fluid that it feels as if many more than two vocalists are present on the track. Likewise, “People Pleasing” provides a similar feel, taking advantage of unprecedented vocal variety to spread back-breakingly heavy gospel to the heavy-music-loving masses.
At the end of the day, while The Missing Pages weighs down on the listener as if it were the globe on Atlas’ shoulders, it is a rampaging album which is fueled by love and acceptance. This is part of what makes This Divided World such an incredible act—while Brill is by no means shy about his faith and its driving role in his musicianship, he expertly crafts music so sinister and bone-blistering that those of all walks of life can find solace in it. To put it simply: The Missing Pages is such a crucial chapter to the integrity and relevance of heavy music, even those who avoid faith-driven and religiously fueled music will find themselves hooked on its perfectly done punchiness and raw, visceral anger. Whether it’s the blends of technicality and torturously incisive breakdowns of “The Book of Life,” “Hell”’s brutally honest hardcore-influenced feel or “Curbstomp the Devil”’s brilliant display of dense, intense songwriting, This Divided World bring something to the table for everyone.
Without a doubt, The Missing Pages is a true testament to heavy, hard-hitting and in-your-face deathcore. Slamming, stunning breakdowns crash and roll into subtle, serene atmosphere and mind-numbing technicality alike—all while every manner of scream, shout and bellow roar alongside. In mastering all of these aspects, Micah Brill of This Divided World has subsequently managed to capture the essence of an expansive genre, and summarized it in a 20-minute long whirlwind.
For Fans Of: A Body Divided, The Order of Elijah, Seraph, Face Your Maker
By: Connor Welsh