Opposite Day – Divide By Nothing (EP)

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Alternative music has had a tough go of it in the last year, but cerebral progressive metal trio Opposite Day deliver five all new slices of mind-bending math rock in their new EP Divide By Nothing that both longtime fans and newcomers to the Texas crew’s brand should find some solace in. Stylized as a microcosm of the band’s signature conceptual sound, Divide By Nothing isn’t a rock opera or an experimental exhibition piece in the vein of their 2018 contemporaries, but rather a frill-free snapshot of Opposite Day at their most direct, scathing and uncaged. The metallic riffs are louder than usual in this release and the compositions are a little more radio-friendly than in previous efforts, but there’s no question that this Austin-based band is staying committed to their ethos and avoiding any flirtation with external commercialism altogether.

Space and time travel are significant themes in Divide By Nothing, and the stellar lyricism of guitarist and lead vocalist Sam Arnold is matched by the space age play of drummer Eoghan McCloskey and bassist Greg Yancey, the latter of whom racks up a ton of noteworthy reps in this EP. “Penetrating Atmosphere” lives up to its name and comes undone beside the pressure of a psychobilly style string duel, while “The Only Way to Travel” is more of a compressed, pop rendition of the band’s enthralling progressive nuances. There’s a lot of stoner rock tonality on this record, to the point where one can’t help but think of the Palm Desert sound in the psychedelic breakdown we come across in “Hemonaut.” The diversity of musicality in Divide By Nothing plays out a lot more seamlessly than one might expect, thanks to the nimbleness and chemistry of Opposite Day.

“Day of the Triffids” is easily the most abstract piece on this extended play, but I don’t think its sole purpose is to kick off the record. I actually think it might have been a little more single worthy than “The Only Way to Travel,” which some devout Opposite Day fans might find to be a bit more polished than what they care for. Where “Travel” is as streamlined as the group has ever been, “Triffids” is a wild animal; a free spirited track that doesn’t completely sound like it wants to be here. This is the song that I would most like to hear in a live performance by Opposite Day, just to see what the band would ultimately do with its flexible bones.

The contextual fluidity to this record, like that of most all progressive releases, is key to appreciating what Opposite Day can really do when they come up with a plan and execute it with surgical precision in the studio. I’ve heard a handful of this band’s sterling discography, and from what I can tell they’ve never had an issue with bringing a concept into fruition in the past, and this record proves that they aren’t losing their touch despite being in business for nearly two decades. As far as EPs go, this one contains a lot of over the top content to take apart little by little, which makes it a dream release for music enthusiasts in a year a minimal excitement in the industry.

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Michael Rand

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