I'm usually skeptical of the accolades thrown around in press release statements, but when a band claims that they are redefining the perception of metal in the same way that Pantera did twenty years ago, I become almost entirely incredulous. New Jersey's Division 1.1 makes such a claim about their music, and while their debut EP entitled With a Vengeance does not even vaguely live up to the above assertion, it is a pretty impressive offering from this American quartet.
Division 1.1's sound is rooted in traditional heavy metal, but they also incorporate various other styles of metal into their sound; the result is a fresh and inspired listen that may not be as revolutionary as their promotional material suggests, but still sounds fairly original. There are touches of thrash metal in "With a Vengeance", a strongly progressive metal sound in "Submission", and a US power metal edge in "Animal", all of which help spice up the band's traditional metal sound.
With a Vengeance also sounds like a highly professional product, as the musicianship is strong across the board and the production (courtesy of Symphony X's Mike Romeo) sounds commanding and powerful. Division 1.1 knows how to craft some damn good heavy metal songs, and while I wouldn't label their debut EP as essential listening material, it's a promising release that makes me want to hear what the band can do with the full-length album format. All in all, With a Vengeance is a pretty strong EP release, and fans of Iron Maiden, Iced Earth, and early Fates Warning won't regret hearing it!
1. Freak Show
2. Cross to Bear
3. With a Vengeance
5. Violence in Season