ALBUM REVIEW: DIVIDED BY DESIGN 'STAGES TO OSIRIS'

The Leeds prog band confront grief in their debut




Grief: it starts slowly as the realization trickles in. Then you fight back raging and flaying at the very prospect of the emptiness, pain, abandonment and utter sorrow. Like love, the feelings caused by loss are intense. It's an all-consuming surge that can unite, destroy, terrify and overwhelm those in its grasp. Divided by Design have attempted to put this struggle into their debut album Stages to Osiris with five instrumental tracks.


The unpredictable nature of grief is the perfect inspiration for a the complexity and twists of a prog album. Orion I: Denial successfully captures the aftermath of grief when the weight bears down. Orion III: The Negotiation is frenetic and often erratic musically. The shifting tempos and screeching instrumentation are laced with elements of metal to really recreate the near Faustian pact many have attempted in order to change reality.


Things intensify as the album reaches its conclusion. If it doesn't quite reach the romantic notions of acceptance, it approaches something close on Orion V: The Fatalist. After all grief never really goes away, it just gets easier to deal over time.


Stages to Osiris is an uncomfortable, yet compelling listen. It's the musical equivalent of rubber-necking the scene of a car crash. No matter how much we find it repellant, death is something that we can never fully turn away from. The musical complexity here makes it unashamedly cathartic and the subject matter plays into our fascination with death and the human condition. It's not for the faint-hearted - but you won't be able to stop listening all the same.


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