Alex Pierce: vocals, guitar
Jessie James: guitar
Casey Jones: bass
John Smith: synths
Raoul Duke: drums, percussion
2/ Daze and Delusion
3/ Losing My Course
4/ My First Division
These days, it seems that the ever-increasing number of metal bands flooding the market will try almost anything to stand out from the crowd. From gimmicks such as masks and makeup, to new twists on the whole ‘sex, drugs and rock n roll’ lifestyle and incorporating unusual instruments into their sound – nothing is off limits, apparently.
Into the fray has stepped a Croatian-based band peopled by very non-Croatian sounding folk (John Smith? Alex Pierce???). BlackDivision are here to try their best to gain your approval and appreciation. Their chosen method? Well, it would appear to involve smooshing as many metal subgenres into a very small space and calling it modern metal. Hmm.
Their new, self-titled EP is their fourth release since they formed in 2008, following a few demos and special editions. It’s production team reads like a ‘who’s who’ of modern metal, having worked with bands like Protest the Hero, Arch Enemy and Kreator.
Said EP opens with ‘Stardust’, a chugging industrial stomper of a number reminiscent of the likes of Motionless In White. It’s a tad generic but not unenjoyable – a solid start.
If you thought it was a taste of the band’s signature sound, however…uh…well. No. True, second track ‘Daze and Delusion’ does show traces of Slipknot-y snap and snarl mixed with more industrial, but that’s the last we hear of it really. Third song ‘Losing My Course’ is all desolation, synths and epic pagan-metal flair, with some rather flat, nasal vocals from frontman Pierce’s (giving a rather disconcerting mental picture of Gary Numan singing along to something like Amon Amarth), while final number ‘Vanquisher’ reveals influences as diverse as synth metal (check that synthy choral accompaniment), epic, Highlander-style yearning and NWOBHM-esque guitar playing – plus, it’s an instrumental!
It’s fourth track ‘My First Division that really takes the cake, however. It’s synth-pop intro smacks of early Eighties ABBA, it’s chugging riffs channel gothic rock, and it’s drumming is pure metalcore. Yep. Lost count yet?
We here at The Independent Voice are all for bands striving for originality and a USP. However, this type of careless genre-blending unfortunately recalls the phrase “Jack of all trades, master of none”. BlackDivision need to hone their sound more efficiently or risk not being taken seriously. The talent is there (although Pierce needs to work on that nasally tone), but there is work to be done here.