“Here in the darkness I feel I’m not alone / A glance behind me / There she is / I wish she’d go away / She shouldn’t be here / Jesus Christ I lay down my life / Give me strength to fight / The adulteress preys upon the weak / I will be delivered / I realized I was wrong / I can’t fight her on my own / I give her over to you / My hands and heart are removed / Destroy her.” – Divide the Sea – “The Adulterous Hunt”
Every time I listen to a Christian metal/hardcore band, I can’t tell if they’re serious. That goes double for Divide the Sea. The group’s latest, Man, feels tailor-made to bother me. Setting aside that the badly Photoshopped images of the band as deer hunters offends the animal activist in me, I honestly can’t tell at times if their terrible, terrible songs are some sort of joke.
The press release for the album is actually kind of funny, as the band muses about what it means to be a man. Ideas include “eat beef jerky” and “wrestle bears.” Hell yes. Ultimately, they conclude in the bio and in their song lyrics that to be a man means to be one with Christ and have sweet adventures. That’s cool. Where the whole shtick falls apart is in the execution.
At this point, I want to establish that I come from a Catholic family. I’ve written on this site about my dealings with the faith previously. I’m down (sort of). So when I dump on this record, don’t think it’s me being close-minded. Johnny Cash sang religious songs, and that dude rules. Sunny Day Real Estate too. Cool?
Cool. This shit sucks. Divide the Sea’s lyrics are awkwardly, hilariously bad. They lack eloquence (“Please don’t take back what you said / That you’d destroy this Earth with a flood from the sky”). They even come off as militaristic at times too (Check out “In Knowing, Triumph” which uses imagery of faith being like a sword a bit too literally), which is something the world doesn’t really need more of.
As for the music, it’s Southern rock-tinged technical hardcore. It’s been done. Every so often the band slips in some intentionally funny bits, like high pitched screaming and super Southern yokel accents, but it just highlights how ridiculous the music is overall. I respect Divide the Sea’s faith. If it gives them comfort and helps them contribute positively to society, that’s fine, but it sure isn’t making them any better at songwriting.