Underoath was the first band I ever listened to that I could call “screamo.” I didn’t like metal music very much at this time, or should I say more specifically, screaming. That was a while ago, when I was an immature middle school student who leaned more towards bands like Relient K and The All-American Rejects. But little did I know that Underoath would soon take over my iPod, my headphones, and even my life. It took some time, but eventually I was able to get into Spencer Chamberlain’s shrieking screams and Aaron Gillespie’s singing that added a more melodic element to the band’s music. It was also at a time that I didn’t know you could mix screaming and singing so beautifully.
It’s been about five years since that time, and the other day I was checking out some new music when I stumbled across Canada’s own Dead and Divine, a metalcore band I had never heard of until then. And their recent release Antimacy, their third studio album, has been rocking my speakers ever since I fell in love with it. It’s an album that simply takes your breath away.
Dead and Divine copies just what Underoath does right. Matt Tobin’s vocals, which resemble Chamberlain’s in a lot of ways, are brutal and energetic, while the presence of perfectly structured clean vocals make the album easier to digest and give you time to catch your breath, as each song on Antimacy is a ferocious beast for a band as heavy as they are.
There’s the opener, “Asphyxia Friend,” which rivals Underoath’s wonderful spectacle, Disambiguation, an album that shows off just what is to like about the overrated genre of metalcore. “Grim Love” is a distorted, acute, and overall very sincere song. The songs don’t lack any depth and the lyrics are unique and memorable. Heck, in addition to the catchy clean vocal arrangements, some of the hardcore screams are pretty darn catchy.
But if you’re thinking this band is just an Underoath imitation, you’d be wrong with “Antimacy,” the title track. Reminding me a bit of Every Time I Die, the guitar is toned down a bit and brings a more laid-back attitude to an album that rocks in every way possible. The final track, “Teenage Rot,” brings back this same reminiscence of ETID and lays down some epic and catchy guitar riffs, but the thought-provoking, society-questioning, and personally aggressive songwriting really give the album its own entity.
The lyrics are stunningly solid and fit the music very well. A personal favorite of mine has to be “Cult/Misleader,” with very strong lyrics about corruption and emotional confusion (“We corrupt our young and we speak in tongues. We’re content with lust cause we’re in love with our guns”) It’s one of the many themes of the album, wrapped up by the gritty guitar chunks and grungy but metalcore feel of the musicianship of Antimacy. The depth of the songs is unimaginatively potent, as these guys are a strongly needed breath of fresh air. I haven’t heard anything this refreshing in a long time, though I’ve heard bands that play their cards the same way as Dead and Divine when it comes to structuring and sequencing their songs.
As bands like Asking Alexandria and Woe, Is Me are starting to lose their appeal to me, it’s become certain that I need to find bands that speak out to me more, rather than bring the same rapid guitar-drum “chug-chug” that I’ve come to expect. I need to find relation, angst, and some theme behind it in order to find a reason to enjoy it, though it should still sound awesome. Dead and Divine fits this mold perfectly; they bring me back to the days when Underoath was a new experience for me. Antimacy is a high-energy adventure from start to finish that may become your favorite metalcore album of 2011.
Metalcore | Distort Entertainment