Album Review: This Is Divine - 'These Human Ruins'

13 April 2010 | 8:29 pm | Staff Writer

New release, but nothing new.

“We’re kinda like Solid State sound, heavily influenced by big heavy American Christian bands, without being personally remotely Christian.”

Ronnie of UK metalcorers - This Is Divine hit the nail right on the head in an interview with George Cannings earlier this year when asked to describe their sound. Travel throughout the ages and you’ll observe the rapid nature of the expansion of music; evolving from the once comfortable and tamed harmonies of the Baroque era to the discord and chaos of post-modern sounds. This Is Divine’s latest EP, These Human Ruins sits very comfortably within the 21st century’s sphere of metalcore, boasting a very tame exploration into dissonant chords and irregular time signatures in light of forefathers, Norma Jean, 7 Angels 7 Plagues and the like. Coining their own genre – “post-metalcore”, these 8 tracks boast nothing uniquely mindblowing than your average metalcore with a touch of noisey influence, and assuredly, this is very comfortably just - metalcore.

With countless groups worldwide flooding the genre that is, progressive metalcore, you’ve got to be doing something pretty out of the ordinary to stand out. This Is Divine seem very much within their comfort zone in this latest release, not stretching the boundaries of their style or offering any sense of diversity to their art. From the very first riff you get an instant sense of “I swear I’ve heard this before somewhere…” with much of the CD sounding like bits and pieces from Oh, Sleeper'sWhen I Am God and Artchitects'Ruin, pieced together. Essentially, the end result is These Human Ruins; very much a fusion of many bands the Solid State fan has probably heard before to create a sound very similar to any other act within this saturated genre.

Characterised by dissonant high-pitched chords intertwined with irregular time signatures and bottom string riffs, there’s no mistaking the influences this band derives from. One aspect where this CD falls is the contour of progression – there doesn’t seem like many climactic parts throughout. Mostly, the tempo is the same, riffs sound very similar and thus, the listener is left without memories of pinpoint passages of excitement at the end of a listen. Nonetheless, tracks such as Toronto provide a break from the dissonance with its clean instrumental passage, with others such as Dear Armourer showcasing the band’s melodic ability. One area where there is change is the vocals of Chris.B, his harsh low screams contrasting to his high pitched yells that sound similar to that of Architects' vocalist, Sam.

It’s almost a custom for most bands adhering to this style to embellish their sound with a huge sounding production. What let’s down this CD greatly is the quality of its production, offering a very raw tone. Whilst the riffs and music in general of this release may not be the most groundbreaking material, I can imagine it sounding far more profound with a larger, more heavier tone overall. If it were any other style it may not matter so much, but playing breakdowns and solo melodies throughout this EP just doesn’t sound as magical as the band probably intended it to due to the sound quality. The guitars boast a very tame amount of gain and the drums lack punch with the kick sounding heavily triggered. However, I can imagine other listeners favouring towards this sound so maybe for others it may not be so much of an issue.

This Is Divine will have to do more than the average riff, dissonant breakdown and melodic chorus to break through the heavily populated genre that is metalcore, and for enthusiasts of this style, These Human Ruins offers nothing too exciting to get your panties in a jiffy over.

1. These Human Ruins
2. Dear Armourer
3. Spoken In Muted Tongues
4. Toronto
5. Controller
6. The Worth of Water
7. 07
8. Become A Vision of Defeat