Iris Divine are a three piece progressive metal band from Centreville, Virginia. They’ve been active since 2008 and have put out two full length records. They’re coming out with a third full length record titled ‘Static and the Noise’. I’ve been a huge fan of progressive metal for a good ten years now so I am always on the lookout for newer acts to take the stage.
Iris Divine has many interesting ideas and it is clear that they’ve spent a good deal of time perfecting their melodies and using the complexities of progressive music wisely. This record, while a bit long for my taste, offers a lot of cool ideas.
The record opens with “The Catalyst”, a monstrous track with a feel akin to “Mummy Dust” by Ghost. The mosh-pit has already started with this one. The verse kicks in and you’re left a bit confused. The singing on this record is entirely clean and it’s not really an issue but the opening riff suggested someone was going to scream out loud. The bass player has to be given massive props for his complex interlocking bass lines.
The bass becomes more prominent on “Echoes Effigies” which starts out very heart-felt and emotional, indicating there is a sense of lamentation and regret. The mid-section of this song sounds a lot like Dream Theater and it’s very clear where these chaps take their inspiration from. The brilliant bass work continues on the next track “Fractures” with a ripper instrumental section. This track is particularly interesting due to it’s odd phrasing, sounding like a mix between Disturbed and Tesseract.
The title track “Static and the Noise” is the most metal track off this LP and is sure to be a crowd favourite. The progressive, Dream Theater like approach keeps seeping into other tracks but most prominently on this one. “Like Glass” is an interesting song to say the least. When I first heard it, I thought it was a cover of The Smiths’ “Bigmouth Strikes Again”. I found the phase effect on the vocals to be distracting. The second verse has a pretty Neil Peart feel to it which caught my attention instantly. The fun actually begins at 2:22 and I wish there was more of this on the entire album. This one was the best song off the album for me. “We All Dissolve” features spoken word passages. Its structured to be this big thematic story based album finisher and for the most part, it does do the job. But by the time you get to this song, the vocals start feeling a bit bland and more of the same.
Iris Divine have created a very solid record with enough riffs and time signature changes to keep any music fan happy. As musicians and instrumentalists, these chaps have the chops. But the vocals begin to sound very formulaic and the choruses lack any dynamic shifts. By the end of track 8, you feel a bit tired. I’d say this is a good effort and in the right direction.