Review: “Primordial” by Divitius

Looking back at their 2017 debut album “The  Arcadian Parallel“, Portland Oregon Progressive Metal act Divitius had clearly started to find their own sound in the songs that made up the later half of the record. A 10 track affair with with some interesting ambient and textural approaches in that later half while still being a solid Metal record, it forms the foundations of the style that Alicen Hensley (Vocals), Benton Joseph (Guitar), Xan Gordon (Bass), Joe Johnson (Guitar) and Brad Teel (Drums) have used to formulate “Primordial“. Citing influences in Behemoth and Slipknot, the later of whom they covered in 2018, the band returned to those that they know in Joe Johnson at Tone Traktor Audio who produced, mixed and mastered the album, while getting Matt Jefferson at Black Diamond Recording Studios to record and produce the vocals. Both were key on the first record.

As with “The  Arcadian Parallel” Divitius have added the instrumental versions of the tracks to the digital bundle so you get the expanded version of the record of you so desire. “XXXIII” is the Roman numeral for “33” and as opening tracks go, this one is an interesting one. A percussive battery from start to finish, it would be for other artists perhaps a mid album track with a fine blend of sultry clean vocal lines and banshee esq uncleans from Hensley that vocally give instant comparisons with Once Human vocalist Lauren Hart or Arch Enemy frontman Alissa White-Gluz. Lyrically the song is the tale of a woman scorned as her lover trades her for another, asking “what does she have that I don’t?” but the key is the music. Beautiful Progressive lead parts are wrapped inside a melting pot of other sounds with plenty of Melodic Death Metal riffs and the complete package is stunning. Introduced by some icy synths “Shapeshifter” is similarly mid tempo with slow crush chugs while Hensley delivers some heartache laden cleans before roaring into the the second segment with a wave of musical darkness and off kilter pause break riffs. Using vocal layering to combine the unclean and clean and give the impression of dual vocalists for a passage is brilliant and while it is missing perhaps a solo it’s a crushing track. First single “Momento Mori” is an equally bruising affair with more of a split personality than the earlier two tracks. Melodic passages with enchanting clean vocals are obliterated by pick slides and the pounding rhythms of a Tech Metal juggernaut unleashing some inner DJent.

The second half of the record kicks into life with “Colors“, which sees Teel bring some impressive open fills to his kit work that tie everything neatly together. An impressive technical solo lights this one up and delivers a false ending as Hensley calls for a show of who people really are in vicious fashion. Those lyrically themes continue into “Monoceros” which has a brutal unclean rap scream of sorts as repeated lines balance off against brutal poly rhythms that deliver earthquakes of bounce and another killer solo that rips like a claw to flesh. Arguably the heaviest track on the album it sees Hensley at her most vindictive and her throat shredding vocals are a match for any vocalist, male or female. Going back to some unhinged clean vocals for “Phalanx” also has rap screams, there are vocal moments that sound like OTEP but musically the rich textured Progressive DJent brings a swirling darkness of vortex like crushing atmosphere. A beautiful brutal record from start to finish [7.5/10]

Track listing

  2. Shapeshifter
  3. Momento Mori
  4. Colors
  5. Monoceros
  6. Phalanx

Primordial” by Divitius is out now and available via bandcamp

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