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Divine Chaos

At the beginning of this summer I reviewed the Divine Chaos album 'A New Dawn In The Age Of War', with which I expressed the hunch that these guys must really live for metal. But finding the actual truth is always better than assumptions and therefore I laid down a line with guitarist from day one Chris O’Toole. The mere fact that the band consists of nothing but great musicians is something that opens up doors on one point, but meanwhile drummer James Stewart is also scouted by Vader, so not seldom they have to schedule activities around his other obligations. But the band seems determined to make any sacrifice that is required in order to make them proud of the band. You should really check out this record, if you have a love for nice musical violence wit hits roots deep into the dawning ages of extreme metal.

By: Ramon | Archive under speed / thrash metal

Welcome to Lords of Metal, I hope you already knew a little about us. Your debut is out. Did it turn out the way you envisioned, or in hindsight, would you have altered little things?
Looking back on it, we are very happy with how it has turned out, there's not much if anything we'd change if we were to do it again. When you are recording there are always lots of decisions to be made from a technical aspect and from a performance standpoint, such as what instruments you use to track with, whether a guitar solo should be in a certain place or how a certain drum fill should go, but when I listen back nothing stands out as a bad decision. Actually there was one part which created a divided opinion with the band and producer which is pretty much at the end of the album on the track 'Perpetual War Policy'. The blast beat that comes in after the chorus, it was three against three, I didn't want to have it there and I'm not sure James our drummer did either in fact, but eventually we relented and it made it on the album, that probably the only bit on the album which I personally wouldn't have done, but saying that I'm pretty indifferent about it now and It sounds really effective when we play it live.

Great, you started in 2006, what was the initial idea to put down, or did this style just grow out of what you played together?
There's never really been a blueprint for the band in terms of a specific sound, what comes out will always just be dictated by the bands that we think are the best. I think the style just evolved out of the songwriting process really. I might have a chorus that sounds like early 90's era Testament, so I'll maybe try and do something with a more Fear Factory vibe in the verses. Then we might add something more progressive and technical in the mid section that explores a totally different genre. I guess we try to avoid writing anything that sits too comfortably within any predetermined style, but that also doesn't sound too disjointed or out of place with itself, it’s a tough balance to get right sometimes, but we always strive to push ourselves.

Good motivation, form what I heard. Like I said, you formed in 2006. Did a certain band from Poland interfere with the ambitions of Divine Chaos?
Yeah a little bit! Hahaha. We toured with them in 2010 on the Blitzkrieg 5 tour, which was a great experience. We got on well with them and the crew. Paul, who drummed for Vader at the time, had noticed James during our shows and would often watch side stage. He left Vader the following year and I think he must have recommended James as his replacement. It does get difficult sometimes to schedule activities, but we have been lucky enough to have some ultra talented guys fill in for him, like James Cook from 'Malefice', which allows us to stay active for some one off shows and festivals. But any major touring activity we fit in around James' schedule. We make it work because James is an integral part of the band since its inception.

Like I said, this is a debut, but would you agree with me it should not be seen as such, as it sounds very seasoned already?
I think that is a result of us taking the production process to the highest level we could manage. We chose producer extraordinaire Scott Atkins, who has worked with everyone from Behemoth to Cradle Of Filth, because we wanted to release a product that could compete with the best bands in the metal scene. It would have been so easy for us to track it all at home and get someone to re-amp, resample and do a mix, but that not what we're about. A lot of bands today use this DIY low budget approach, because there is so little money about. We want to put the best product out as possible and that requires significant investment to do it properly. We want to do everything within our power to ensure the album stands the test of time.

That is what you look back at with the most pride I think, yes. Why did you hook up with Evil Eye?
We always knew that we needed someone to handle the running of the band from a business perspective. We ran things ourselves for a number of years and it takes a lot of time, effort and expertise. It seems to be quite popular these days for bands to keep everything in house, but we felt that we would rather have more time and energy to focus on band activities such as writing, practicing and rehearsing, especially with a new album to release and promote. So when Andy, the head of the label, got in touch we soon realised that working with EvilEyE would be a big benefit for us and so far things have been going really well.

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How big a part do your musical ancestors play in your style and what are they?
Our main influences like Metallica, Sepultura, Testament, Slayer are pretty much the blueprint for our sound. We also dig bands like Symphony X, The Haunted, Death, Nevermore and Opeth but as I mentioned, no one band or genre really defines us. When I think about what metal actually is, I'm always drawn to things like Metallica Seattle '89 on the Justice tour or Sepultura Barcelona '91 on the Arise tour where the vibe was just 100% there, the feeling I get from watching performances like that is what we try to translate through what we do in Divine Chaos.

I know exactly what you mean, those were defining days indeed, the mystery around the bands seemed much bigger those days. How much focus will now be put on promoting the album, will you prioritise the band fully now?
We will be promoting the album live as much as we can, but the reality of the music industry nowadays makes it very difficult for new bands to sustain themselves on the road. As a result, everyone needs to work full time in other industries to help finance the band. We are carefully managing this situation with Andy's guidance because we are in this for the long run and that requires a certain amount of patience, in terms of growing our fanbase organically and strategically making the right touring choices that will boost our brand awareness in the metal scene.

Back to the album, if it is the given the band, what songs are you sure of you will be playing ten years from now?
The two songs that we've noticed go down the best live are 'Death Toll Rising' and 'Fields Of The Fallen', so they will probably be staple tracks for our sets going forward, who knows though, as we get older maybe we'll drop the fast ones from the set! LOL

Yeah, or you will play country & western versions of them. Which one is the toughest to execute?
'Last Confession' is always a difficult one to play live for everyone, mainly due to the speed and intricacy of the sections. It’s an endurance race for the most part, you have to make sure that you are warmed up before starting that one, otherwise it’s game over! Every track on the album has certain bits that cause problems playing wise, but that one is consistently tough throughout.

Could you tell us a little bit about the lyrics of the album?
They are classic metal lyrics in terms of the themes, which touch on war, dystopia, politics and the failures of humanity. Especially on the track 'Shadow of God', which we released a lyric video for. Our ex bassist went on a humanitarian mission to Palestine and wrote a lot of the lyrics first hand based on his experiences in the middle east.

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