Review by Seraphim Dibble, photos provided by Annabel Lee
Annabel Lee’s new EP, Divided We Stand, released recently via streaming services and online music purveyors. The brutal new tracks come in as the first new recordings in a few years after years of live shows in and around North Carolina.
Divided We Stand launches like a missile with the opening track, “Brutality of the System”. This album isn’t here to make friends or play nice. It is here to shatter eardrums, and “Brutality” makes that obvious from the moment it begins. It combines crushing riffs and drums with SiD’s screams to produce a visceral aural experience. Toward the end of the song is a blistering yet melodic solo that fits in perfectly with the rest of the song, before sliding into a vicious breakdown. “Betrayal” gives no moment to rest, as it is determined to carry the sound to another level. It is clear that Annabel Lee possesses a superb mastery of metalcore as a genre, with this song sounding at once unique and catchy. Filled with incredible guitar leads and drum fills, it’ll be sure to inspire slam dancing in any venue.
“Paradox” adds in some higher-pitch screams alongside the previous guttural ones, demonstrating SiD’s diverse capabilities. Interspersing drum fills with bass triplets and stop-and-go segments, it is another example of Annabel Lee’s capable songwriting. At points it resembles older All That Remains songs while retaining its identity. It closes on a breakdown before the ominous tones of “Salvation for Sale”. While it is hard to put a finger on exactly what it is, something makes “Salvation” feel like a much more ominous song than other tracks on the album. It offers a critical look at the concept of megachurches and the massive amounts of money they take in, closing on a spoken word segment stating “He loves you and he needs money”, with the emphasis on money.
The listener’s ears get a semi-break with the lone guitar that opens “Revolution”, but that changes before the song is even twenty seconds old. At that point, it joins the rest of the album in an energetic, fist-swinging orgy of sound. There’s no denying it at this point. Divided We Stand is possibly one of NC’s heaviest albums of 2018. There’s still five months to go, but it sets quite the standard. The namesake of the EP opens with a similar note, but also adds heavy drums to the mix. Throughout the song, Annabel Lee mixes softer segments with whispered vocals between the heaviest parts before trailing off into guitar distortion, closing out the album.
Throughout the years, Annabel Lee has released two albums on the Spotify streaming service along with a number of other songs on Reverbnation. In between that, they’ve played dozens of shows in their hometown and further out. At eight years old, they’ve had plenty of time to practice and refine their sound, and it shows. Divided We Stand is a stunning album with six relentless tracks. It is absolutely not something that should be overlooked. Make sure you pick it up today!