Starset
Divisions


1.5
very poor

Review

by Toondude USER (73 Reviews)
September 13th, 2019 | 37 replies


Release Date: 09/13/2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Sucked out of the airlock

I remember back in 2014 when I first listened to Starset’s debut album Transmissions. My initial thoughts on the album were how cheesy, over-the-top, and pretentious it all was, but by the end it was an enjoyable experience despite its flaws. The Hollywood-Hans Zimmer-style interludes, overly polished production and its corny lyrics were somewhat of a saving grace for it. Think of it as like Independence Day, where is so stupid and corny and yet you’re just along for the ride. Now fast forward to 2019, and Starset have now started to take the world by storm, topping Billboard charts and gaining a massive following. And yet despite this, they’ve done little to nothing to change or experiment with the sound they’ve established, and it definitely shows on their latest release, Divisions. If anything, they’ve regressed into what seems to be nothing more than frontman/lead vocalist Dustin Bates’ personal solo project, and considering just how far up he is in his own ass when it comes to the songwriting, production and concept, that is definitely not a good sign.

Divisions is by far the biggest waste of 57 minutes that I have ever experienced this year. It’s literally nothing more than a giant slog of the most cliched and mind-numbing electronic rock that’s more focused on making Dustin Bates’ dumb concept as important and pretentious as possible. The only moments on here that have any significant interest is the opening djent-like riff in “Manifest” and the harsher, heavier bridge in “Telekinetic”. That’s literally it. Everything else consists of recycled elements that Starset have already used in the past, some of which were already recycled to begin with, from the electronic wank, conceptual interludes, and guitar riffs. They even go as far as to mimic Imagine Dragons in the songs “Faultline” and “Waking Up”. Almost none of the songwriting in Divisions is remotely entertaining or original. Meanwhile, Dustin Bates’ is probably at his worst performance to date. Granted, his harsher vocals have generally given some variety to some songs previously such as in “Gravity of You” and “Into the Unknown” from their previous album Vessels. However, they’re barely used in Divisions, only incorporated in the aforementioned “Manifest” and “Telekinetic” and the horrendously mixed “Other Worlds Than These”. Bates’ clean vocals on the other hand never carried much weight or originality. He does have a few solid moments in the chorus of “Diving Bell” and the bridge on “Manifest”, but at this point he’s more or less relying on the insane amount of autotune and electronic effects that are stuffed into the album.

Even when there are fleeting moments of actual instrumentation in the album, the guitar riffs, bass lines, and drumming are all completely basic and lack any creativity. Brock Richards, Ron DeChant, and Adam Gilbert serve nothing more than the live backing band while Dustin Bates’ story and ego all take center stage. It also doesn’t help the fact that Bates himself is a terrible story teller, considering the fact that the supposed concept in Divisions is about humanity’s over-reliance on technology (oh the irony). Despite the fact that the album is the band’s shortest to date, the pacing and unoriginality of the album all but make it feel like it’s twice as long as it really is. It represents just how much the band has regressed from a fun, corny electronic rock band to Dustin Bates’ pretentious solo project. At this point, Starset has shown just about all of their tricks, and any potential that they might’ve shown in their previous two records has completely disappeared. Sadly, considering the state of this album, it’s unlikely that any of that is about to change in the near future.



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user ratings (59)
3.1
good
other reviews of this album
William21 (3)
A step down from their previous efforts, but on the whole, Starset's latest is serviceable....

Gpass484 (4)
Not a perfect record but one that most Starset fans will have something to enjoy...

related reviews

Vessels

Transmissions

Comments:Add a Comment 
Toondude10
September 13th 2019


14126 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

been a hot minute

William21
September 13th 2019


503 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Haven't decided on a rating yet but this is probably the most disappointing release of the year for me thus far. Hopefully this is just a Release the Panic-esque stage for Starset. I do love Diving Bell though.

Toondude10
September 13th 2019


14126 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

this is just more of the same shit that they've been pumping out since their debut, I may have enjoyed it at first but there only do much I can take.



the hilarious thing is that apparently they're being labeled as prog

veninblazer
September 13th 2019


10194 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

gonna try to see if i can throw this in a listening party later today on top of Welcome to Galvania tbh

William21
September 13th 2019


503 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

@Toondude Well there's a pretty big difference here between this and their first two in my opinion. Most of the heaviness of their sound has been stripped out, and as you mentioned, the electronic/poppy elements are now way too overdone. And Bates is just not a good producer; they're making the same mistake Red once did by ditching Rob Graves.

veninblazer
September 13th 2019


10194 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Speaking of Red, here's a hot take: Release the Panic isn't even bad

William21
September 13th 2019


503 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

It's not bad, but it's a far cry from the rest of their work

stasar
September 13th 2019


141 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I like the song MANIFEST a lot, but the rest of the album failed to impress.

Digging: Last Night Saved My Life - Cherry

PistolPete
September 13th 2019


5051 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I'm gonna listen anyways but this is disappointing (albeit unsurprising) to hear.

trackbytrackreviews
September 13th 2019


3408 Comments


but tell us how you really feel

Beardog
September 13th 2019


3206 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

bro what, this record isn't that bad

tyman128
September 13th 2019


1589 Comments


very disappointing, only genuinely liked Telekinetic (because man is it fun to play on guitar)
the biggest disappointment of the album: JR Bareis recorded the guitars of the album... and all of his songwriting potential was wasted

pizzamachine
September 13th 2019


14247 Comments


The singer has no passion in his voice

Beardog
September 13th 2019


3206 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I think the electronics are well done here and the production is really good again. The drums are also way more interesting than they were on the other two albums

BReADD
September 13th 2019


1 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'm gonna disagree with most of you here.



Sure, the songs on the surface don't seem like much, but there's so much more to the sound than what's on the surface. It's gonna take more than one listen for you to see the appeal of the music. If you're too lazy to listen to the album a few times, that's your personal problem. I feel like this is just an unfair review. At the very least it deserves a 3.0, and I see it as disrespect to the artist to give a final judgement of an album based on the first impression.



Your concerns are incredibly valid and your cases still rest, because I heard the same thing you guys did and I understand. Just please take into consideration what I'm trying to get across to you.

Toondude10
September 13th 2019


14126 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

I've listened to this album several times and I keep getting the same impression



sorry dude, this album is quite shit ¯_(ツ)_/¯

Pikazilla
September 13th 2019


6971 Comments


mayday mayday this ship is slowly sinking

Lucman
September 13th 2019


3603 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Ouch haha. Aside from the "concept" (which is something I never paid attention to with these guys) I just love what they do. The electronics are what made Vessels great to me and I love them here too. I prefer the more pop direction than the heavy style, which I see being common criticism. Above all, they're just aesthetically cool. I can't fault you for hating it, though.

Lucman
September 13th 2019


3603 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

But damn Trials is such a banger.

SitarHero
Contributing Reviewer
September 13th 2019


11198 Comments


So what you're saying is, the first album is pretty good? Gotta check that then.



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