After Malevolent Creation’s sixth record titled In Cold Blood hit the scenes in 1997, three of the band members departed. Shortly afterward, said three members got in touch with each other and decided to play some music together. Before too long, they caught the attention of Olympic Records and managed to put a band together. With a similar skeleton to Malevolent Creation, they grew some flesh and skin of their own, giving birth to what is known as Divine Empire. They put out a total of four full-lengths starting in the late ‘90s. The whereabouts of the band is unknown, and I couldn’t find any recent activity anywhere, so as far as I’m concerned, they’re worthy of calling up from the grave. Or perhaps rescuing from an island maybe?
Although this was about a decade after the old school death metal style was breaking ground, it fits in perfectly with the Florida death movement. Redemption was their first and tightest record, and you can trace the influences easily right away in “Hidden Hatred.” The easiest comparison band-wise to make is mid-nineties Deicide, due in part by the double-tracked growls and shrieks. The rhythms and blasting drums fit with this very well just as much as they do with the slower menacing passages. “Induced Expulsion” is my favorite slow-burner, as the drum-work helps establish a build-up. The title track has a wall of speedy outbursts blended with a groovy mid-section that slays super hard. If any of Divine Empire’s releases could be labeled essential, this is it.
Final Grade: A-
Doomed To Inherit (2000)
Divine Empire started the new millennium with Doomed To Inherit, an album that didn’t stray very far from their debut, if at all. That’s a good album to draw from, but I’ll admit that it sounds like they just took previous ideas and blew them up with some air. However, there’s a handful of fun. “Truth Be Denied” has some of the thickest bass passages they’ve ever crafted, and the presence is similar to mid-90s Morbid Angel. The transition from short spurts of drum-blasts to lower trudges in “Repulsive” is beefy, and “Birth Of Legends” is a great tune as well. The latter one’s a tight instrumental with plenty of screeching licks to go around. Nothing they haven’t achieved previously, but a good record for sure.
Final Grade: B
A few years later, Nostradamus brought us something a little bit different, but I assure you that it isn’t a double-concept album made from a heavy metal mold. Instead, it combines groove riffs with their death metal batter all the while bringing up the speed and intensity even more. What’s nice is that they don’t over-saturate the record with that, but I’ll admit that the songwriting is shoddy. You can find this all immediately in “Sacrifice In Vain,” and “Manifestation” overdoes the hell out of the pinch harmonics; truly it’s almost obnoxious. Inversely, the most impressive part is the proggy rhythms, easily heard in “Tribulation” placed perfectly behind the solo. This doesn’t even crack thirty minutes, so it’s an easy enough listen. I also give the band points for changing the formula up some; however it could definitely use some repairs.
Final Grade: C+
Method Of Execution (2005)
I’ll admit right away, I forgot Method Of Execution existed until I dug into the band to write this, but quite frankly, it didn’t need to. While they’ve created short and sweet albums up until this point, this one is almost an hour in length, and boy does it get exhausting quickly. Essentially it’s some hybrid of everything they’ve done previously blended together into one long disc that doesn’t go anywhere nor hold anything memorable. The variance between songs is almost non-existent, and although nothing is glaringly bad, nothing here is worth seeking out either. For the newcomers, I’d take a hard pass.
Final Grade: D-