System Divide

The Conscious Sedation

01. Vagaries of Perception
02. An Intoxicating Affair
03. Echoes
04. The Apex Doctrine
05. Lethargy
06. (n)Ether
07. Hollow
08. Purity in Imperfection
09. Repent/Forget
10. The Conscious Sedation
11. Stagnant Progression

[09/14/10 | Metal Blade]

I was skeptical when I first heard of  System Divide. The idea of a female and male vocalist always sounded great, but I had yet to hear a band execute it well. Eyes Set To Kill came close, but their work seems to be hit or miss with me for reasons other than the vocals. Doubtful, I played The Apex Doctrine. Three and a half minutes later I thought “Damn, this is what Lacuna Coil would sound like if they were good.” I immediately bought their EP, The Collapse, and I loved it. I’d spend two hours playing Counter-Strike (Source for those who care) with the same 4 songs on repeat the entire time. With much hype, I was eager to compare and contrast System Divide’s newest release The Conscious Sedation.

System Divide evolved from their EP into what I would describe as a melodic metalcore band. I’ve seen other genres thrown around such as extreme metal, modern metal, etc. Personally, I stand by my description and you can “flame on” a la Human Torch style if you disagree. Different from their EP, the song structure of The Conscious Sedation is more chorus-verse oriented with Miri Milman singing clean choruses and Sven De Caluwe growling through verses. Like most metalcore bands, you can expect plenty of shreds and breakdowns on this album. On this point, the breakdowns do not grow old, sound generic, or drag as in some albums (I’m looking at you Suicide Silence’s No Time To Bleed).

The melody of the band stems from Miri. Her lead choruses are sung very passionately with plenty of beautiful high notes and powerful lyrics that invoke the listener to want to sing along. “Vagaries of Perception” demonstrates this quite well, featuring the chorus “I wont let you be divided, I won’t let you be torn to shreds.” If you liked the clean vocals of Allisa White-Gluz of The Agonist (who is exceptionally sexy as well) you’ll enjoy Miri of System Divide.

The Conscious Sedation carries over three songs from The Collapse. The first, “The Apex Doctrine“, really highlights Miri’s vocal talent and like the second, “(n)Ether”, has a delicious head-bang-worthy breakdown at the climax of the song. The third song carried over is Purity in Imperfection, holding another strong chorus of “Starving for a life of perfection.

Track seven, “Hollow“, is also worth mentioning, as Miri takes the lead for clean choruses and verses for the first half of the song, only to be joined by Sven growling with her for the later half.

My one criticism of the album is at times the songs can sound formulaic. Though this may be in part due to my recent obsession with progressive music where the song structure is constantly changing more often then not.

Throughout this review, I’ve mentioned Miri’s vocals repeatedly, and with good reason. But her vocals aren’t the only thing System Divide has to offer. Sven has great growls, the riffs are excellent, the shreds are there, the breakdowns roar and rumble, and their sound is unique. Miri’s vocals are what distinguish System Divide from other similar acts though, and they elevate this album from what would be an average 3.5 to a solid 4.5 .

System Divide – The Conscious Sedation gets…

4.5/5

-PC

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