Up and coming melodic death metallers, Dark Divinity, released their debut EP, Messianic, on the 22nd May via Trench Records.
Hailing from New Zealand, Dark Divinity really help to showcase just how strong the metal scene is coming out of Aotearoa. Dark Divinity are a 5 piece from the capital, Wellington. They formed in 2017 and have worked really hard playing energetic and aggressive shows locally and gaining an impressive following. A couple of well received singles and some time sharing the stage with the likes of The Black Dahlia Murder and Psycroptic has given the band a solid foundation to build upon. That all led to now, that all important first official release, Messianic.
Dark Divinity are inspired by the likes of At the Gates, Soilwork and The Haunted but also take influence from black and death metal bands such as Immortal, Morbid Angel and Death giving them a more unique edge. The band are Jolene Tempest on vocals, Ian Moir on drums, David Grinder on the bass with Paul Stewart and Reece Davies on guitars.
Messianic is 5 tracks long and doesn’t mess about hitting you with a barrage of heavy music. Pummelling metal with plenty of groove and ripping vocals come at you fast and hard right from the opening seconds of Set in Stone. It doesn’t take long for your neck muscles to start working and as Jolene Tempest assaults us with a harrowing roar, you cant help but smile in admiration. The riffs are strong, the drums are great – it’s a very promising opener. That promising start is backed up instantly by Vertigo. I love the drums in this track. They sound great – plenty of power but bedded well in with the bass and guitars.
There is a lovely little transition from verse to chorus and back again in a song that needs a mosh pit. Vocals continue to spit venom throughout, really hitting hard with their harsh tones. As good as this song is though, my admiration turns to obsession as we hit a bit of a slow down with a wicked lead guitar before it builds back up into an explosion of force that will leave you gagging for more.
The next track is a little breather with the instrumental, Cambion and I absolutely adore it. I love that we have a 90 second interlude and it isn’t acoustic for a start. It is just a passage full of brilliant heavy rhythms holding up a glorious lead guitar melody. I must have played this one a hundred times already and could happily listen to it again now. I think I will. Check out the below while I’m gone!
Right. I’m back, and on with the rest of the mightily impressive Messianic. After that little break we get back to bone shaking heaviness with Night of the Witches. This track packs some serious groove in the intro with a wickedly infectious beat. It soon gives way to a slightly chaotic verse full of fire and fury. Violent vocals, punchy drums and a punchy riff keep the neck muscles working hard. It is a relentless track, hitting you continuously with the same patterns repetitively which has quite the impact. I do prefer a switch up, personally but this is another fine track that flies by with the only real negative being the potential lasting damage to your spine as you cant help but bang your head throughout.
All good things come to an end though and Messianic does so with style with the absolute banger that is Seasons of Dark. There is a little bit of a black metal edge to the guitars in the intro. I love the lead guitars and the ascending pitch all bedded in with a punishing drum and bass foundation. The vocals are phenomenal and while they don’t switch a huge amount in tone or pitch, they are the perfect vocals for these songs and this band. It just works. Seasons of Dark gives me plenty of my transitions too with groove passages followed by a bit of melody followed by a brutal death metal assault.
The crunchy instrumental near the end threatens to spill over before a sudden stop brings proceedings to an end and what a way to end. Cambion aside, Seasons of Dark is my favourite track on this excellent debut. It is a tough choice though because this whole release is of the highest quality. Messianic takes no prisoners and is the best possible way to introduce yourself as a band. It’s a powerful and aggressive beast full of memorable tracks that grab you on the first listen and never let’s go. Dark Divinity are a name to remember and a name to spread around. Tell all your mates, these are the real deal, and I can’t wait to see what comes next. Until then though, I’m off to listen to Cambion again.
Dark Divinity Links
Messianic by Dark Divinity (Trench Records)