Artist: Darkness Divided
Album: Darkness Divided
Release Date: April 22nd, 2016
Let’s be completely honest here, from the get-go; metalcore is quite the over-saturated creature nowadays. All sorts of bands and albums fall into this category, and the combined influx of content, are like anchors that slowly drag and weigh the overall subgenre down, making it difficult for bands of this style to stand out. Luckily, bands such as Darkness Divided shine (and have shone) in the vast sea of metalcore acts like stars amidst a black night sky that not only give hope for the future of the genre, but also provide a stellar example of how good ol’ core is supposed to be done. Their newest self-titled release continues this impressive track record.
Admittedly, I didn’t have high expectations going in to my first listen-through of the record, (for whatever reason), yet these concerns were utterly squashed within the first minute of Darkness Divided. The brand-new self-titled release grabs the listener by their shirt and almost instantly and catapults them to an intense riff and breakdown-laden frenzy that doesn’t let up until the album’s end. Vocalist Gerard Mora’s screams and growls lead the ensuing metal madness without sounding strained or too soft, while guitarists Sebastian Elizondo and Joseph Mora deliver the sonic punishment of the delightfully crunchy chugs and driving riffs and licks. Hayden Allen also gives a capable performance on the drums, reinforcing the vigor and urgency behind the album’s musicality.
This release is particularly more technical than the band’s previous efforts, which makes it all the more compelling for those seeking a more polished musical experience, yet this contrasts well with the numerous bone-smashing breakdowns scattered throughout the eleven-track romp. There are some lulls, however, where the album slips into some of the typical metalcore tropes, with some leads, rhythms, and patterns that “core” aficionados are sure to have heard time and time again, but these don’t drag on long enough for monotony to set in. It’s difficult to criticize Darkness Divided (or any band for that matter) too strongly for incorporating these elements into the music, otherwise it would be debatable whether it is truly metalcore. This band, however, cleverly demonstrates the proper way to weave standard “core” into their music without relying on its common trappings.
Lyrically, Darkness Divided is somewhat of a concept album; instead of telling a cohesive story, each track thoughtfully explores a problem, question, or element of the members’ lives. Specifically, it is an examination of the process that individuals undergo whenever their ideas are challenged and even changed as they are seeking the truth. It is a far cry from the common themes of anger, death, and break-ups that permeate the over-arching genre, but I feel that it is truly a refreshing detour that doesn’t “soften” the metal-encased punch that this album delivers.
In a genre that can be arguably summed up (to some degree) by the phrase, “if you heard one, you’ve heard ‘em all”, Darkness Divided has clearly melted this stereotype with their new self-titled release. It offers an interesting, if not downright intellectual, lyrical themes that are encapsulated by vicious and fervent metal musicality that is guaranteed to induce a copious amount of head-banging for the listener. To those who say that metalcore has no foreseeable future, or has completely “sold out” should take Darkness Divided into consideration. Ultimately, they prove that metalcore has far more to offer than what the stigmas claim, and that the genre is more than angry kids in bands taking out their aggression and angst in musical form. If you are a fan of any kind of metalcore and are on the fence about Darkness Divided, go ahead and pick it up; seriously, you will not regret it!
by Chad Brown
Headbang along to the music video for ‘Back Breaker’ from “Darkness Divided” below!