If you’re not familiar with them, I, The Divide are a Brisbane metalcore band consisting of Ben White (vocals), Zac Gregson (bass/vocals), Shane Duncan (guitar), Zac Mckinlay (guitar) and John King (drums). They’ve freshly released their EP Can You Hear Me on 11th August after the release of the stellar single “Sinking Ships”.
After obsessive-level repeat plays of “Sinking Ships” I was super keen to check out more of what the guys had to offer.
Can You Hear Me? opens with instrumental track “YTB!”. We’ll have to hazard a guess as to what that stands for. “YTB!” is crackling fire, nature and burning sounds that gradually deepen. I’m in love with the guitar tone, addictive riff, as well as the bone-rattling drums. It’s truly a sick opener to the EP.
I already fell for “Sinking Ships”, finding this also addictive for similar reasons to “YTB!”. The opening riff and wall of sound vibes are two other reasons. It’s a hectic and brilliant track. Desperate vocals cry out toward another in blame, as if to say “You did this!”
“Remember this is your fault
A thousand times this happened before”
The song is heavy in confrontation and hate. Despite this, it’s a pleasure to follow this song as it moves along like a machine, powerfully taking out the one that created this mess they’re in. The song flows into satisfying deep depths, breakdowns and growls.
“Smile” tells a story about two that have were bonded together from a young age and made each other happy. My impression is that the track is about childhood friends and a belief that the friendship would last forever. Life has other ideas though and there was a disconnect between them when one departed.
“You walked away from me
Still don’t know why you went away
I’m left in this town”
“Smile” carries I, the Divide’s same powerhouse levels of sound as the previous two tracks, but with more of a focus on clean vocals and a lighter subject matter, the song takes on a lighter vibe. It feels like angst about the loss of a friend before thinking hopefully toward their reconnection.
“Don’t” is fourth on the EP and is something of a break from the massive sound of the previous tracks. It’s an acoustic and warm start, with a heartfelt request to another to leave them with something of their own for themselves.
I found “Don’t” harder to get into than the previous tracks, with the moments of unclean vocal sparks of emotion, as well as the bridge feeling like the treasure at the end of the trail. I found it hard to feel the sense of fight or depletion that was spoken about in the lyrics otherwise. The bridge also offered some lyrical depth where it was otherwise seeming to be very simple and repeated.
Next on the EP, “Can You Hear Me Now?” very quickly takes heavy punches, with deep rawness on all fronts. The clean chorus is light and high, and similar to “Don’t”, I would have loved to hear some more emotion up front and centre to mirror the metaphor of someone at the point of drowning under the weight of life, desperate to be heard.
“We scream from the top of our lungs just to say this”
The shift into an interlude pulling focus on the vocals and melody was unexpected and an offering of more intimacy with the message that’s being shared.
“Drag Me Under” is a strong and hold-nothing-back close to Can You Hear Me? and is incredibly satisfying with its confrontational vibes, heaviness and rawness. The unclean vocals and deep diving guitar work brilliantly capture this experience where someone’s heart has been virtually ripped out, leaving them lost and empty.
“I thought we were happy
I guess I was so wrong”
Can You Hear Me? is a six track strong slice of heaviness and a very decent debut from I, the Divide. They’ve explored a spectrum of sound across the EP and seem far more at home with desperation-tinged vocals and dirty riffs than a cleaner and gentler style. Their guitarists seem to have a whole lot of fun doing what they do! Ben, Zac, Shane, Zac and John clearly have a whole lot of energy to pour into their music and the moments where that is reined in feel a little empty. I’m keen to see what’s next for this band as they continue to make stellar music as talented musicians.
The gentler and more straightforward tracks didn't feel natural to these powerhouses. More lyrical complexity on some tracks would have been good.
Heavenly riffs! When they go for it they GO FOR IT. Emotions are solidly shared in unclean vocals. Tracks like "Sinking Ships" and their unique creativity are engaging and addictive.