|Genre||Heavy Progressive Metal|
|Release Date||6 September 2019|
|Record Label||Ram It Down|
Divided Multitude is no stranger to the prog metal scene. Since their founding in the mid-90s, they’ve released six albums of mixed quality. Their seventh and latest effort, Faceless Aggressor, is colossal and riff-driven yet very melodic. It wouldn’t be entirely wrong to compare it to something along the lines of Symphony X or even classic-Queensryche crossed with late-80s heavy/glam metal. It’s a combination of music that I haven’t heard done this well before, and I fucking love it.
Before we get to the many things I find great about Faceless Aggressor, there are a couple issues to get out of the way. To begin, the lowest point of the album would have to be ‘Uninvited’. It’s the slowest, most “ballady” (though it’s not really a ballad) on the album, but it’s pretty weak and underwhelming. It has a couple crescendos and decrescendos, but I find the whole track relatively uninspired, especially considering what surrounds it. It seems like Divided Multitude are much more comfortable playing heavily and aggressively, but there’s not a whole lot else that they show on this album until the closer. As a result, there’s a fairly limited amount of variety here.
But, variety doesn’t matter as much if each song, while based around a similar musical theme, fucking nails it, like they pretty much do on this album. Right from the start, I noticed that both the drums and vocals are dynamic and expressive. The time and feel changes are also done really well, despite such an huge sound. They’re always fluid and the band does a masterful job at avoiding making the songs choppy. ‘Prosperity Divine (The Machine of Mammon)’ is an excellent example of this, where there are some extra bars thrown in between sections and some well-executed time changes, as well as the emotional closer, ‘Psalm of a Soldier’, which features guest musicians Gary Wehrkamp (Shadow Gallery) and Ida Haukland (Triosphere).
One of my favourite aspects of Faceless Aggressor is the fact that the choruses sound like glam metal hooks on fucking steroids. The melodies and vocal layering never fail to take me back to the late-80s (well, not really back, because I wasn’t there, but you know what I mean) but the delivery and surrounding instrumentation is just massive. Another high point of the album is the guitarwork. I don’t think there’s a single song that doesn’t have absolutely sick riffs, especially in the intros. They’re energetic, beefy, and they’re ultimately what brings the album to be as good as it is. Additionally, the solos aren’t super flashy but they are tasteful.
While this album was actually my first taste of Divided Multitude’s long career, it’s safe to say that they’ve gained at least one new fan with Faceless Aggressor, and I’m curious to see how their previous material stacks up against this one. While it isn’t without a couple shortcomings, it’s a damn-awesome brand of prog and I would love to hear more music like this.
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