DEITY’S MUSE showed a lot of promise promise with the track ‘Take Me Away’ in 2005. In 2006 they delivered on that with their dark and gritty sophomore, The Eyes Don’t See What the Heart Bleeds, proving that they were not only one of South Africa’s best hard rock and groove metal acts but better than most of their peers across the Atlantic. In 2009 i got to listen to 2 advance tracks from their forthcoming album, New Trends in Slavery. They immediately became favourites on my playlist but despite the full release happening in 2010, it’s only now that the full experience gets to invade my eager ears. About bloody time ’cause DEITY’s MUSE is most welcome back.
Free Download: DEITY’S MUSE – The Weight of Guilt
Originally they were a 3-piece outfit. They experimented with an extra member but now return to 3 but with a difference. Sashan Pillay is still there, as reliable as ever on the drums. Wayne Boucher retains the vocal identity of the band but his brother has been replaced by another brother. Greg Boucher gave up the bass after a decade, handing them to his younger sibling, Alvin. Ken, their dad, is still manager. It’s a very in-house band. The incredibly talented Chris Watson is back with the art and John Paul Destefani is producing again. It works so there’s no need to break a winning crew.
The cover art show DEITY’s MUSE still in love with broken, abstract things. Eyes Don’t See had a man spewing locusts from his mouth. This time a pale man with black wings crouches in desert of death. An electrode helmet sits on his head. It’s wires stretch into the sky. In the distance, a city waits like a second death…or rather it’s the same death, a metaphor for our fucked up world. We have wings and choose to be controlled and then die…instead of flying. New Trends in Slavery indeed.”Rise again and escape. Leave the worms to hide themselves,” advises ‘Burial Ground’.
The concept is pursued inside. Photos of a township, a barbed wire fence and a wall layered with jagged glass are emphasized by a fly astride a South African Department of Home Affairs stamp and flag. DEITY’s MUSE are not only criticizing humanity as a whole but their home country in particular. Lyrically, the criticism continues. ‘Two Faced’ admonished hypocrites. ‘All You Have’ addresses greed. And oneself isn’t forgotten as Wayne Boucher questions himself in an attempt to break the same chains and find his place in a world gone wrong.
The sum total of New Trends in Slavery doesn’t match the united edginess and darkness of it’s predecessor yet some of the band’s best songs are to be discovered here. ‘Two Faced’ gets the ball rolling but it’s with the culmination of ‘Ghosts’, the fourth track, that my balls are tickled and then pleasured into the awesomeness that is ‘Ten Years’. The latter starts quickly and delivers solid build-ups and breakdowns. It’s memorable and deserves a spot on the Billboard charts. The slower paced tracks, ‘Poles Apart’ and ‘Everlost’ are amongst the best. Wayne’s voice feels comfortable here. Gotta love the haunting guitar in ‘Poles Apart’ too. My favourite, enough to be one of the best of songs 2010, is the pounding ‘The Weight of Guilt’. It kicks off heavy and gets balanced by beautifully melodic chorus.
New Trends in Slavery fault is that half of its songs are too similar. Track order doesn’t do it justice either as the beginning doesn’t put DEITY’S MUSE best foot forward, a fact that may dissuade the casual listener from digging deeper. And dig you should because the gems are exceptional enough to make this a valuable contribution to your collection after you’ve finished headbanging. You will be a believer after you’ve listened to these!