Divided by Zero

The Black Sea

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It seems alt metal band Divided by Zero have not yet made up their mind whether they want to be the next Korn or the next Faith No More. The Black Sea could go either way, with roughly equal amounts of whiplash quiet-loud dynamics, a standard-issue white-boy-funk rhythm section and thrashy speed metal riffs wedded to snotty suburban-angst lyrics (this is the first album released by an offshoot of a T-shirt company that specializes in new and inventive uses of the F-word) and occasional ventures into a bizarre sort of free jazz/ska hybrid. If this were really the band's debut album, it might come across as a haphazard, derivative mess, but in point of fact, this lot have been around for over a decade under the impressively terrible name Ghoulspoon, and there's no real change in musical direction under the new moniker. As a result, the widely varying musical elements that make up a song like "Ashes of Armies," with its shifts from faux-reggae beats that sound like an amped-up jam band to a blistering grindcore chorus, fit together seamlessly, with no awkward grinding of the musical gears. Lead singer Zach Goode lacks the mildly psychotic edge that Mike Patton brings to the table, but the best parts of The Black Sea (specifically the crazed dynamic shifts of "Damn the Dream" and the snarky-clever "Heavy Metal Parking Lot") suggest that if they wanted to, Divided by Zero could move away from the fairly pedestrian nu-metal of the album's weaker tracks into something compellingly strange.

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