Review Summary: A gigantic clusterfuck of rehashed ideas with the intention of blending Israel with Sweden. WTF bro, why would Miri leave Distorted? Why................
So, after an excruciating session of male bonding I was dealt an unintentional kick to the groin. Miri Millman, super hot and talented vocalist for the Israeli based dark metal band Distorted had out of the blue exited their ranks. This came as a bit of an unexpected blow to me (like a kick to the groin) seeing as Distorted are one of my favorite metal bands. I quickly looked for an explanation and I found it. Apparently, Miri pulled a Benedict Arnold on her home country in favor of greener pastures (aka America). Or maybe it was to unite with husband Sven (Aborted) to form a new project. Regardless, 2Grim4U isn’t pleased. The new band she joined is called System Divide. A shockingly generic name which would soon translate to shockingly generic music. But we’ll get to that soon enough. With members of Aborted, Distorted, and Malagnacy, I was expecting to hear some competent and mildly interesting music in their debut ep entitled “The Collapse”. Unfortunately, expectations much like potential is a bitch.
Foregoing the progressive oriental themed metal of Distorted and the brutal gore metal of Aborted, System Divide play instead a futuristic melodic death metal/metal core hybrid already performed admirably by the likes of Mnemic, Raunchy, and Black Comedy. The problem with this E.P besides the lack of originality is the lack of heart and honest to goodness songwriting that would make this band grow exponentially through the modern metal ranks. Who knows though, by the time a debut album is dropped my opinion could shift considerably. But you know you’re in for a treat when the record is labeled for fans of: Morbid Angel, Opeth, Slipknot, and Lacuna Coil. Unsurprisingly, none of these bands can be felt through System Divide’s music with the exception to some mild SYL polyrhythmic madness.
Lead vocalist Sven adopts a cookie cutter styled rasp similar to Soilwork’s Bjorn Speed Strid and Kasper of Raunchy. Ultimately he fails to deliver any kind of positive response with his combination of metalcore screams, lower growls, and snarling rasps because frankly, they sound exactly like the aforementioned vocalists minus the heart. Now Miri comes in to provide the cleanly sung choruses hoping to break up the monotony. It’s kind of strange to listen to Miri’s decidedly Middle Eastern styled vocals being layered underneath Fear Factory-esque keyboard work and Scandinavian styled riffing. Somehow it works and somehow it doesn’t work. “Sealed Shut” features the first solo performance by Miri with just clean melodies complementing her voice. She sounds great and the chorus is equally as compelling. The rest of the E.P sans (N)ether she is just muddled out by heavy production. It’s not really shocking to find out considering this E.P was produced in Denmark who mixed Volbeat, hate sphere, and Raunchy.
I have a feeling that guitarist Cole Martinez listens to a lot of Swedish metal in his spare time. His style and a lot of his patterns revolve around drop tuned passages and low to mid tempo chugging. The problem is, you’ve heard it before and Cole doesn’t really expand his horizons beyond that with the exception to the occasional melody which helps develop the song but doesn’t necessarily save it from succeeding. I’m not sure who contributed to the synthesizer work so I’ll explain it here. The moderate usage of keyboards are utilized to create a synthetic and futuristic soundscape which really don’t add much to the stale environment. And when coupled with Miri’s vocals “The Collapse” sounds slightly disjointed.
The drumming patterns courtesy of Mike Heller sound mechanical and over produced. Double bass, the occasional blast beats, and the slower rock oriented passages are quite low in the mix resulting in a disappointing performance. It’s ok though, because I met a cute girl at Cracker Barrel today, perfected my first arm bar on an unsavory opponent, and saw the Marlins come from behind so I’m not letting this ruin my stalwart day. Oh, wait…..there’s the bass. Andrew Lenthe is System Divide’s seemingly non existent bass player. Maybe it’s because my left ear has been getting manhandled these past few weeks but I feel absolutely nothing from his underwhelming but still burly bass tone.
All things considered, System Dive have released a pretty mediocre E.P laced in bouts of goodness. The guitar melodies and Miri’s cleanly sung choruses manage to draw some interest from me but just about everything else comes off as dull tripe. The important thing is…potential is there. But it’s how one decides to use it that makes all the difference.