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Premiere: Divider – “Requisite”

Experiences change a voice. Tom Waits didn’t wake up one day sounding like someone hitting a bullfrog with a sledgehammer. Same goes for Divider singer Chris Tzompanakis. Over the past 15 years, the guy has been through some stuff. He used to have a throaty yell; all punk, spittle, and hair-trigger vitriol. Then his under-appreciated band, Skycamefalling, sunk before metalcore’s big boom. Then came a bunch of false starts. Then came a natural disaster: Tzompanakis’ house was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. Now, on “Requisite,” Chris Tzompanakis has a roar. His voice has cracks and crevices and creases, the kind of depth earned through survival.

Divider on the whole are something of a survival story, too. They’ve endured and found a way to adapt. Their new record, All Barren, shouldn’t sound fresh, but it does. It’s part of a Glory Kid Ltd. run of successful metalcore that has grown up and grown into its sound. Those albums aren’t different or experimental, just wiser. In that way, “Requisite” rolls out lumbering riffs which have characterized core for more than a decade. But the riffs run deeper. You can tell the band was patient, waiting until their compositions and tone truly spoke for them and said something honest about them. That patience granted guitarist Anthony Fusco and bassist Peter Gerontakos the time to imbue these riffs with an indescribable power. Drummer Victor Mouradian pounds his kit with that same feeling. And it makes a huge difference. A younger group could play these same songs 1,000 times and never come close to matching the emotions All Barren evokes. It’s not until a few replays of “Requisite” you figure out Divider are pouring their experiences into this thing. That gives them a sort of hard-won legitimacy. It’s impossible to quantify, but it’s there. You could call it perseverance or persistence or survival. Whatever, it’s all about the effect: Like Tzompanakis’s voice, it carries the weight of everything that came before.

“Requisite” appears on Dividers’ All Barren. The album will be released September 23 by Glory Kid Ltd. and it’s available for preorder now.

— Ian Chainey

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