Review; Like Moths to Flames: “Dark Divine”

“New Plagues” starts with a mysterious backtrack that is a mixture of instrumental material and electronics. This interlude leads into a full instrumental feature, which builds until the first vocals of the album are introduced. As the song progresses, the band establishes a pattern of vocals: the verses being screamed, and the chorus utilizing clean vocals. Towards the end of the song, the band includes a section where there is open vocals featured with minimal instrumentation. Overall, this song has a pleasing balance to it, but there is nothing overly exciting about it.

“Nowhere Left to Sink” starts with a more upbeat back track that drives the momentum of the song forward. The vocals, that are introduced soon after the beginning, are sung with a different timbre compared to the previous song, which gives the audience a bit more variety vocally speaking. As the song moves forward, one can note that there is a general percussive motive that remains throughout the majority of the song. This is a strong trait because it establishes the groove, and it doesn’t give the listeners an overwhelming amount of material. Towards the end of the song, the band provides their audience with the first breakdown of the album. This breakdown is led by the groove (that the band established early on), which provides a cool effect musically.

“Shallow Truths for Shallow Minds” starts with an ominous tone that leads into a heavy verse that is backed up with an aggressive instrumental part. However, as the song moves towards the first occurrence of the chorus, the sound shifts to a lighter tone, and it is driven by clear, clean vocals. The band toys with this back-and-forth for the entirety of this selection. In the middle of this song, the band builds up to the breakdown by adding intensity melodically and harmonically; also, before the climax of this portion, the band drops down instrumentally to focus on the main phrases that brings them to the arrival portion of the breakdown. This is a foreseen favorite of the album, for this song seems to be taking the general metal/post-hardcore sound, and evolving it to make it something new.

“Dark Divine” starts with a melody that rapidly switches from clean vocals to screaming vocals almost every two words. Soon after, the band mellows out with a minimal instrumental part supported by clean vocals. This chorus appears to be more memorable than the previous tracks, which isn’t surprising since this is the title track to this album. The second verse plays on the technique of screaming with spoken word text (this spoken word text comes across as if someone is holding back from yelling: there is a lot of tension involved, vocally speaking). Like the previous songs, the band builds up to a small moment in the middle, but then soon resolves back to the general pace and feel they’ve established in the beginning.

“Empty the Same” starts with a guitar motive that has a similar sound to older Linkin Park music. The vocals that add in soon after enhance that general claim until the chorus of the song comes crashing in, where the audience then hears Like Moths to Flames’ characteristic sound. The second verse mimics the first in sound, melody, and rhythmic material. The chorus of this song is memorable just as the previous track, which is important for this band because the general sound of this song is different than their normal creations. Thus, it benefitted them in regards to keeping their listeners interested by adding a memorable chorus. The band does throw in a small “heavy” section, but it is very brief.

“From the Dust Returned” starts with a single tone that rapidly builds to form a full band sound that has a motivic theme to it. This song, from the beginning, plays with the back-and-forth of vocal styles; however, the general instrumentation of the song remains static. Even though this song has a similar format to the previous songs on the album, the instrumental material resonates more because its rhythmically interesting, and it syncs well with the vocal material. In the middle of the song, the band provides their second strong breakdown of the album, and this sentiment was well received because the band approached the breakdown seamlessly, and it fit into this selection perfectly.

“Even God Has A Hell” starts with an instrumental feature that plays with a new sound; to further, the sound of this interlude is brighter in tone color, but it is rhythmically similar to the other tracks. This is a smart choice for the band, for it gives their audience variety, and it shows them what else they can produce musically. The vocals of this song are more mellow compared to other selections, but it works for this song because it blends well with the brighter tone. Even though there are a few snippets of screamed vocals, this song feels as if it would be an acting ballad for this album because the majority of the vocals are clean, and the instrumental material is generally subtle.

“Mischief Managed” starts with a single tone that leads into a heavy verse similar to tracks previously presented on the album. This verse leads into a clean sung chorus, which is a Like Moths to Flames staple for this album. The instrumental material of this song is based around the percussive strong beats, and this helps to keep the song interesting. The middle of the song features a clean sung verse with a few phrases that utilize more aggression; also, this portion of the song is different than previous songs on the album, for it has an alternative feel to it. As this section progresses, it suddenly evolves into one of the heavier breakdowns presented on the album.

“Instinctive Intuition” starts with a clean sung verse with a percussive part that heavily subdivides the beat of the song: giving it a punk feel (when speaking in terms of genre). However, this soon straightens out and returns to the band’s characteristic sound. This addition of tone color (at the beginning) is effective, for it catches the audience off guard and it makes them want to keep listening to the song. Similar to the previous selection, Like Moths to Flames includes another major breakdown in the middle of this song, and they do so while including aggressively screamed lyrics that help to enhance the intensity of the breakdown.

“The Skeletons I Keep” starts with a small instrumental interlude that establishes a groove for the song that remains consistent throughout the entire work. The first verse utilizes the tactic of minimal instrumentation to isolate the lyrics, which is a smart choice for the verse presented because the lyrics are clean sung, and it’s (the lyrics) melodic line is different than the previous songs. The second verse is opposite to the first verse, for it is heavier instrumentally and vocally. This has a nice effect, for it gives the audience a more balanced sound.

“False Idol” starts with an instrumental interlude with faint electronic sounds intertwined seamlessly, which is quickly followed by an intense first verse. The chorus of this song is similar to the previous ones: clean sung and memorable. The second verse is also heavy; however, the band toys with a different instrumental part rhythmically which provides a “cooler” sound to the audience, which helps to keep them interested. In the middle of this selection, the band places another heavy breakdown that leads right back into the chorus of the song. This was a smart choice for a final song of the album, for it provides a little bit of everything that Like Moths to Flames presented to their audience through this album. Also, it is one of the songs that will likely stick with the listeners after they hear to it for the first time.

Final Thoughts: Overall, I would give this album a 3.5 out of 5 stars. This album was hard to grade because (as a whole) Like Moths to Flames put out a very solid album, yet there wasn’t a lot of memorable material presented on it. There were catchy melodies, interesting instrumental material, and a fair balance of clean to aggressive vocals; however, there wasn’t much innovation to this album, which made it hard for me to rank it higher. Furthermore, if you are looking for a standard metal/post-hardcore album with catchy melodies and a few breakdowns: this is the album for you!

*”Dark Divine” was released on November 3, 2017 through Rise Records.

3 thoughts on “Review; Like Moths to Flames: “Dark Divine”

  1. Great review – I always find it hard to explain that something’s good but lacks in innovation/new content, but you did it so well! I’ll have to take a look at your other reviews – you write so comprehensively and clearly know so much about music ☺️ x

    Liked by 2 people

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