Divine Heresy

Bleed the Fifth

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Having been controversially ousted from his own musical creation, industrial metal pioneers Fear Factory (at the time, no one could have dreamed they'd dare carry on without him), guitarist Dino Cazares seemed like a man adrift for much of the 2000s. The first half of the decade also saw him falling out with members of his other long-running band, Brujeria; treading water with its inferior Latin metal spin-off, Asesino; and, more encouragingly, leading one of four all-star teams in the Roadrunner United project. But it wasn't until the formation of brand new band, Divine Heresy, that Cazares finally grabbed the bull by the horns to deliver a forceful and convincing fresh statement -- even though its debut effort, Bleed the Fifth, was understandably rife with echoes of Fear Factory's Dino-designed sonic architecture, cleansed of excess indulgence for sharper, bludgeoning results. Telltale tracks such as "Failed Creation," "This Threat Is Real," "Savior Self" and "False Gospel," in particular, juggle familiar rounds of machine gun riffing, techno-industrial nuances, mechanically precise percussion from journeyman drummer Tim Yeung (Vital Remains, Hate Eternal, etc.), and alternate doses of gruff and clean vocals, courtesy of versatile newcomer Tommy Vext. Others, such as "Rise of the Scorned," and the black metal-tinged "Royal Blood Heresy" add grand, synthesizer intros, while "Soul Decoded" pays tribute to Meshuggah's off-kilter creations. And Vext's melodic singing talents unusually take center stage on the far more accessible "Impossible Is Nothing" and (almost to troubling, nu metal-lite effect) "Closure," but both add more texture than concerns to the album's overall experience. In sum, Bleed the Fifth strikes a near-perfect balance between confirmation (reminding fans of Cazares' abilities and unique vision) and innovation (he even plays a few guitar solos!), and will hopefully signal a new chapter of fruitful songwriting for one of the '90s most influential metal musicians.

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