DEATH DIVINE — Affliction (review)

DEATH DIVINE — Affliction album cover Album · 2020 · Melodic Death Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
3/5 ·
I’m always a bit wary when I discover that what I thought was a band turns out to be a one man project. Nothing wrong with that in theory, but you can’t beat a band environment for quality control and having someone tell you that your latest idea is shit when you think it’s the dogs’ bollocks. Death Divine is the work of UK based musician Daniel James who prior to his latest album, Affliction, has released an EP and a full length album, The Oracle in 2019. James seems to have played everything including the vocals apart from some additional singing from Elisha Martin on the song Without You.

Affliction is melodic death metal, fairly well played, though for the large part the song structures are fairly simple. It’s a long way off the most exciting death metal I’ve heard this year but overall it’s not bad either. James has an ear for a decent melody which seems to improve after the first few tracks. In fact on the early part of the album I was somewhat underwhelmed with songs like opener Breaking Out Of Hell and Desire, whilst not bad by any stretch, lose my interest quickly being somewhat repetitive and lacking that killer punch. Again, nothing wrong with being a bit repetitive but you need a memorable riff or two to back it up. It’s on track four where things pick up. Not only does the song structure offer more variation but it also has a memorable melody, particularly when guest vocalist Elisha Martin comes in. It may be your typical beauty and the beast approach but she has a good voice and if I was James I’d use her more in the future. After that So Sick changes things to a more atmospheric vein, ditching to a large extent the melodic side. This returns for another one of my favourites, No Hope which contains some memorable hooks including a pleasing guitar solo. It also throws in a few more changes to keep things interesting. The album goes out on another one of the better songs, the title track. At six and a half minutes is it the longest song on the album and fortunately the strength of the melody carries it including an insistent keyboard part.

The production is not bad considering it’s what I assume to be a home studio recording. It lacks some teeth but it’s mixed fairly well and everything cuts through clearly. I may be wrong but it sounds like the drums are programmed. They do the job but lack power and a real drummer could have spiced the parts up a bit. James’ guitar work is overall tight and he’s certainly a decent player, not only on his rhythm parts but also on the solos.

Affliction is an overall good album from Death Divine. It’s not going to set the death metal world on fire and unfortunately down to the sheer quantity of stuff getting released likely to remain unheard by most. That’s a shame as James is not without talent. He may be perfectly happy working on his own but if he got a decent band behind him it could make all the difference to his work in the future.
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