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25 June, 2013

Division 1.1 - Submission

Division 1.1 - Submission (song review) |self-released, With A Vengeance, 2012| 5/5

Division 1.1 is a New Jersey based metal band of Rob Middleton (lead vocals), Steve Ratchen (7 & 14 string bass guitar, keyboards/synthesizers, lead and backing vocals), John Barone (guitars, backing vocals) and Brian Brennan (drums/percussion, backing vocals). Since the musicians' personal inspirations cover a broad range older and newer influences such as Black Sabbath, Rush, Ronnie James Dio, Megadeth, Metallica, Slayer, Dream Theater, Tool, Pantera and Disturbed, the music of Division 1.1 may be seen as an amalgam of the main elements introduced by these bands.

"Submission" is the fourth track from the With A Vengeance EP. The arrangement is mainly based on guitars, bass and vocals, though there are also pretty non-invasive synths in the background. All of these usually play in unison, but there are also parts where individual instruments have their top moments. The drum parts are my only concern - if their sound had been amplified a bit more (possibly during mastering), the track would have gotten an additional power kick and turned out much more epic (as for instance it happens in "Valley of The Kings" by Blue Murder). Other than that, they were performed and fit into the track very well.

The song is an excellent piece of collaborative music. It includes progressive, hard rock and neo-classical instrumentation enriched with interesting prog vocals, an almost 'aerodynamic' set of time signature changes and a rocking rhythm. It's easy to notice that the quartet must have spent years on honing their musical skills and gaining the necessary experience as a band. For instance, the left-handed bassist (using right-handed 7 string basses upside down) contributed to bands such as Alchemy-X and Vyndykator but also Wizards of Winter, the latter inspired by Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

In "Submission", the verses smoothly interlace with memorable and rhythmic choruses. The song’s lyrics are referring to religion - no wonder, as it has been occupying way too much space in areas that should have remained secular, adjusting to ordinary life requirements instead. Quite the contrary - religions lock on vulnerable minds, bring a lot of fuss, unnecessary bloody wars and terrorism instead of any wisdom. The song calls for resisting such submission and urges the listener to remain an independent, showing free will and making one’s own decisions. The chorus repeats: "Organized religion, Is just a means to hate, Anyone who's different, 'Repeat after me', they said. Organized division, A holy means to hate, Anyone who questions, The Sleeper will awake in submission".

"Submission" is a highly recommendable track with the potential of becoming a hit. In addition, the song as well as the entire EP were produced by Mike Romeo - the guitar player and founder of US progressive metal band Symphony X. If you're lucky enough, you may get to listen to it not only on the With A Vengeance EP, but also live. Thanks to its compositional momentum, "Submission" sounds like a great song to be performed on a big stage in front of thousands of listeners.

(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Music Magazine, June 5th, 2013. Proofreading: Mike 'Vesper' Dziewoński)

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Reviewed by Fabryka Music Magazine