Though it has been out a little while, the Daze & Delusion EP from Croatia band BlackDivision is a release which whether a few months or years old should be given attention such the impressive and richly satisfying offerings. Consisting of four striking songs and two additional covers on this the Not-So-Special-Edition, the release introduces a band that with an already strong reputation in the local underground scene is poised to strike out further afield and with luck plus hope it will trigger the same hungry reactions found at home.
Merging many styles into their metal forged sound, the Vukovar quartet of vocalist/guitarist Alex Pierce, bassist Justin Case, drummer Sasha Grey, and Andrean Daine on electronics, and guitars, shape their first demo release with a wash of electronic temptation latched onto sinew clad melodic and death metal whilst further flames of sonic endeavour adding extra temptation to the release. Daze & Delusion is not without flaws but for an entrance in to the wider world and as evidence of what BlackDivison has to offer it is a captivating and accomplished, very promising encounter.
The title track starts things off and immediately has attention dancing in the aisles with early hunger for the bulging electronic sounds and ear rifling riffs. Once set the song charges along with a feisty mix of sinew wrapped bass and drum enslavement framing the strong vocals and guitar play of Pierce whilst Daine wraps an immersive and riveting narrative of keys and electronic ambience around it all. The blend is intriguing and at times mesmeric leaving song and band entrenched in thought and satisfaction.
The striking start is soon accompanied by the equally compelling Stardust, the song retaining the dramatic poise and impressive mix of textures and sound to flavour an also exciting presence. Arguably at times the track is walking a too similar a line to its predecessor but such the call and enterprise on show it is a welcome rather than a displeasing aspect. The vocals of Pierce find a good mix between a raw but clean and a raucously aggressive delivery, his tones matching in many ways the imaginative conflict between keys and guitars, as well as bass, which sculpts the song and release. The track continues the adventurous start to leave a now sure appetite for BlackDivision.
Both Losing My Course and My First Division provide interesting and entertaining propositions even if they pale against the previous two. The first of the pair has a gothic metal breath accompanied by a slight glam/horror rock air which engages easily but with the production for the first time on the release showing its demo stance more potently it does flounder somewhat. There is plenty to grip hold of and find good promise in the song though whilst its companion unleashes a heavier classic and power metal like core twisted into an industrial/thrash urgent collision of rhythms and riffs to also raise a nosey focus. There is plenty going on within its appealing exploits more than a mouthful of flavoursome spices to devour keenly, though also it lacks the strength and guile of the opening songs.
The EP is completed by firstly a cover of the Lady Gaga track Bad Romance, a song which is treated to a sturdy make-over without lighting any fires and a great version of Crno Je Sve, a track of legendary Serbian punks Ritam Nereda. That final song retains the fire and growl of the original and fires it up with the great keys of Daine, the union a less vicious but equally potent rub on the ear compared to the original. Truly it is hard to match anything the great Serb band offers but BlackDivision make an impressive and riveting attempt leaving the listener as awake to and eager for the band as when the release first started.
Daze & Delusion (Not-So-Special-Edition) is an accomplished and dexterous invitation to a band new to most of us and as BlackDivision show their promise and already established skill and invention with the release, suspicions that they will not be the quietest secret for much longer is a lingering thought.
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