Victory Records’ Darkness Divided debut release, Written in Blood, puts the band much closer to the metal side of metalcore thanks to guitarists Christopher Mora and Sebastian Elizondo. Together, the two axemen create one of the band’s defining characteristics, going beyond simple metalcore chords to put significant work into the intricacies of music instead of putting all of their work effort into breakdowns. The two incorporate strong solos, as well. The album has a few typical breakdowns; for example, “Eternal Thirst” has one extended beatdown hardcore kids can easily ninja punch in the pit to for an extended period of time.
Nonetheless, their solos and rhythm section prove they’re capable of more than the typical slam band. “The Hands that Bled” has two or three breakdowns, but concludes with a remarkable solo before jumping back into the radio-friendly chorus. The song showcases everything the band does best, and it could serve as a solid radio-single that ought to get the band some exposure on the heavier Christian alternative stations.
As for the vocals, singer Gerald Mora uses a combination of standard metalcore vocal styles that work well together. It’s a record full of screeches, yells and growls, and in typical fashion, most verses are screamed with the choruses bringing in the clean. On the plus side, the singing takes a more masculine approach to the high-pitched vocals of their contemporaries, like A Skylight Drive. The 11-track album contains three unnecessary segue tracks that sound more like filler than bridges from track-to-track. None of the three (“Severance,” “The Descent” and “The Interlude”) have any notable flaws other than Written in Blood flows without their help.
Darkness Divided most likely won’t go down in history for their label debut, but listeners who like their metalcore more technical than heavy will find several strong tracks on the album.