SYSTEM DIVIDE is a super group of sorts, featuring members from various Metal acts from across the globe. It was founded by Sven de Caluwe (of ABORTED fame) and his wife, Miri Milman (ORPHANED LAND and DISTORTED) in 2008, and features ex-ABIGAIL WILLIAMS guitarist, Michael Wilson, and Andrew Lenthe and Mike Heller on bass and drums respectively. While at first listen, this band sounds much like your typical New Wave of American Extreme Metal, it is more accurately described as a modest blend of Melodic Death, Deathcore, and Nu Metal. The end result is an interesting album with a few pleasant surprises along the way, and a sound that relies on its members' capacity for delivering variety.
The two vocalists for this project are perhaps the strongest piece to this puzzle. Sven reaches back and forth between deep, heavy growls and high pitched screams with great ease, and quite unpredictably so. Miri, on the other hand, sounds amazingly powerful throughout, providing some very catchy and anthemic chants for listeners to sit back and enjoy. The instrumentals are a bit of a mixed bag overall, and difficult to accurately describe. Heller's drums are very loyal to the Deathcore genre, creating lots of space for heavy (albeit tiresome) breakdowns, but also preventing the group from rising above the "Americanized Metal" label and aspiring to greater heights of progressive experimentation. The guitars, luckily, are often able to break from the cycle from time to time and incorporate some highly melodic riffs and inspired solos. Unfortunately, it's quite evident that the group as a whole just tried harder on some songs than others.
The most unfortunate thing about this album is its single, "The Apex Doctrine", which is without a doubt its weakest and most generic song overall. Most Metal fans will hear this and quickly be turned off by its tired, trendy sound that we've all heard before. Tracks like "An Intoxicating Affair" and "Lethargy" offer much more dynamic choruses and relatively more impressive instrumentals, and would most likely surprise those who have already been turned off of their sound. For those willing to give them a chance, however, there is more than enough variety throughout to keep things interesting, and it's lengthy enough to leave an impression upon listeners. "The Conscious Sedation" tends to lean on the commercial side of Metal, and it is a real shame because the members are evidently all talented enough that they could most likely have produced something a little more edgy or different. However, as far as new outfits go, this one is at least worth checking out.