DIVINE EMPIRE
"Method of Execution"

(Crash/Century Media)

01. Vowed Revenge
02. The Mauler
03. Surgical Strike
04. Dungeon Mask
05. Shadow of Violence
06. Prelude to the Storm
07. Storm of Hatred
08. Random Beheadings
09. Incarcerated
10. Judge, Jury, & Executioner
11. Terror Zone
13. Sanctioned Homicide
14. Impervious Deception
14. Kill the King
15. Murderous
16. Reduced to Ashes

RATING: 7.5/10

Jason Blachowicz (ex-MALEVOLENT CREATION) encountered some bumps in the road, including the demise of Olympic Recordings and some good old shit-slinging, but he still managed to deliver DIVINE EMPIRE's fourth album, "Method of Execution". At 58 minutes, the disc is chock full of raging Florida death metal that owes more than a few nods to his previous band. And hey, if you're a big MALEVOLENT CREATION fan, that is good thing. However, "Method of Execution" is no MC rip-off. Sure, there are several places that feature that distinctive guitar tone and speeding missile-strike tempos, such as on "Random Beheadings", "Murderous", and "Incarcerated", but Jason and the boys serve up plenty of surprises to retain an identity. It is not an approach exclusive to MALEVOLENT CREATION anyway, as one can hear stylistic similarities to DEICIDE as well. I'm sure you get my drift. As far as I'm concerned, maintaining that ripping style with relatively memorable melodies as the core element and expanding from there is what makes "Method of Execution" appealing.

It is the use of non-traditional instrumentation that gives the album a measure of distinction when compared to DIVINE EMPIRE's contemporaries. You'll hear it right off the bat when the keys on "Vowed Revenge" kick in, and there is no lessening of the intensity because of it. In addition to the classical acoustic/string instrumental piece "Prelude to the Storm", elegant acoustic picking (almost like folk) and melodic guitar leads blend with traditional black/death metal chord progressions to great effect on "Storm of Hatred". The black metal guitar bits and vocal shrieks work well with the more traditional gruff death metal vocal style as well, making songs like "Kill the King" and "Impervious Deception" work particularly well. To make a long story short, "Method of Execution" should appeal to the death metal traditionalists, and still scores points for adding a little spice to the arrangements.

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