From the Great White North (Calgary to be exact) comes possibly the next great progressive metal band, Divinity. Back in 2007, the band self-financed and released their debut CD Allegory, a very strong mix of progressive metal, thrash, and melodic death metal, which quickly caught the attention of Nuclear Blast Records, who signed the band and officially released the CD this year to the masses. Since then things have been very busy in the Divinity camp, but Sea of Tranquility Publisher Pete Pardo managed to squeeze in some time with lead guitarist Sacha Laskow to talk about the history of the band, their hookup with Nuclear Blast, live shows, Allegory, and what's next for the band.
SoT: Can you talk a little bit about the formation of the band and early musical influences as you began to find and develop your own style?
Sacha: Sean formed the band in high school playing covers with the usual Metal 'gateway' bands - Metallica, Megadeth, Pantera, etc. As the line-up evolved so did the influences and the sound began to mold in differing directions. James brings a classic and melodic Metal influence to the table, whereas Brett is more straight up Death Metal and i'm more on a Progressive / Technical trip. We all meld it together into compositions until we are all happy with it.
SoT: What led to Divinity getting signed to Nuclear Blast?
Sacha: NB contacted us through Myspace after hearing and liking the songs fom Allegory we had posted and it took off from there. I guess that site is good for more then just slut bots and empty celebrity worship! We weren't one of the hyped up bands with a million friends so they must have liked the music first and foremost which was a good feeling. We made the album completely independantly and it managed to stand up beside other major releases.
SoT: How does it feel to be a part of such a major metal label, alongside some of the greatest bands on the earth?
Sacha: It feels great of course, we are honoured to be a part of such a stellar line up of Metal bands and we are all fans of Metal first and foremost. Nuclear Blast has a good variety of bands and that matches well with our open minded mentality towards spanning the various genres. It's healthier for the music to not be limited as much by narrow compartmentalizations and scene clicks, although that is bound to happen anyway to some extent.
SoT: Now that the band is on NB, do you anticipate greater exposure via the touring circuit, and is there anything in the works at the moment?
Sacha: Absolutely, we were a part of the Summer Slaughter tour this summer in Canada which was amazing! So many great bands and we were stoked to share the stage with such a killer package and get to know everyone. At the same time we can't really afford to tour too much at this point in our lives. Touring costs a lot and pays very little at our level, and we are not kids anymore and all have responsiblities and lives at home. While we might have loved to live in a van and be broke and never shower at some point, those days are gone for us now.
We do love playing live as much as possible and work very hard on translating a huge amount of energy to our stage performance, while staying faithful to the sound and performances that you hear on the recording. Connecting with an audience live is one of the things you live for as a musician.
SoT: Divinty combines elements of thrash, melodic death metal, and even a little progressive metal in their sound. How would you describe the band to someone who has yet to hear Allegory?
Sacha: Well you have to categorize things so people can relate but really we are just straight up modern fucking Metal! It's easier to say then the 'labeled' truth which may be something like we are modern progressive tech thrash infused death Metal. I'd say listen to it and form your own opinion.
SoT: How was it working with a real metal heavyweight like Tue Madsen?
Sacha: Tue was great and a consumate professional. It's amazing in this world when an artist or craftsmen can exceed your already high expectations. Bottom line is he made the record sound HUGE and that's exactly what we where going for.
SoT: The artwork by Mattias Noren is excellent as always. Did he work with the band to design the CD artwork or did you pick out an already finished work?
Sacha: He designed the artwork from scratch for us, we sent him the lyrics and some demos and he created the visuals you see from there. An amazing talent!
SoT: Has the band written any songs for a follow up to Allegory?
Sacha: We have the entirety of our next album written. It picks up where Allegory left of both conceptually and musically, and presents a much more progressive and focused vision of our muse to date. The dynamics and technicality has been raised a level, while at the same time the arrangements are more flowing. Our next step is to find or raise on our own (as usual) the financial support for the album. It's tough but we think the music is worth the tribulations.
SoT: What is your opinion on the state of metal these days? Do you follow many of the current acts on the scene?
Sacha: Sure, I am always checking out new bands and I buy a ton of CDs unlike most people these days. I'm not one to really comment on the state of Metal or anything, really to me it's pretty much how it has always been with a lot of shitty bands and a lot of good bands. It sure has came around in terms of being trendy again, but I don't really bother myself thinking or worrying too much about that, nor does it really affect me directly. I only really have time to worry mainly about what I want to do which is listen to bands I like, write killer Metal music, make good records and play shows with my friends.
SoT: If you could pick the the ultimate tour package to be on, which current bands would you choose to hit the road with?
Sacha: We were pretty damn close with Summer Slaughter, that was an amazing line up with Necrophagist, Neuraxis, Into Eternity and so many more, all the bands were great every night. Other then that I would love to play a show with Meshuggah, Dream Theater, Cynic or my all time favorite band Martyr. Some other Canadian greats like SYL or Annihilator would be awesome too. There are a lot of great bands out there!
(Click here to read our review of Allegory)