Divine Heresy - 19/08/2009

DIVINE HERESY is an American metal band that was formed by the founder of Fear Factory, guitarist Dino Cazares. Although the band's origins trace back to 2002, DIVINE HERESY was officially formed in 2006. The band currently consists of guitarist Cazares, former Vital Remains drummer and current World Under Blood drummer Tim Yeung, former Nile bassist Joe Payne and vocalist Travis Neal. Tommy "Vext" Cummings was fired from Divine Heresy following an onstage altercation in April, 2008. After holding Auditions for a new frontman for the band, it was announced in August 2008 that The Bereaved vocalist Travis Neal was to fill the position. The band's debut album ‘Bleed the Fifth’ was released in August 2007 and received generally positive reviews.


Following his departure from Fear Factory in 2002, guitarist Dino Cazares was looking for a drummer that "fit in" with the band. First he tried drummer Nicholas Barker from the bands Cradle of Filth and Dimmu Borgir But he had to "go back home" (expired visa). He then met former Vital Remains drummer Tim Yeung. Cazares and Yeung recorded the material they wrote and sent tapes to Cummings for his vocal audition. Cazares was contacted by former Nile bassist Joe Payne and after auditioning, Joe Payne joined Divine Heresy as the permanent bass guitarist.


The band recorded its debut album, ‘Bleed the Fifth’ in early 2007 with production duties handled by former Machine Head guitarist Logan Mader. After the recording was completed, Cazares announced that the band had signed a North American deal with Century Media Records, and a licensing deal with Roadrunner Records in Europe. His decision to choose Century Media was based on the creative freedom the label gave him, whereas Roadrunner would ask him to produce radio and commercial songs when he was in Fear Factory. Lead singer Tommy Vext was fired from the band following an on-stage altercation on April 26, 2008. The cause of the altercation remains controversial.


DIVINE HERESY's follow-up to 2007's ‘Bleed the Fifth’ will be the group's first release with new vocalist Travis Neal, formerly of Pushed and currently with Swedish band The Bereaved. The new album entitled ‘Bringer of Plagues’ was released recently. Dino co-produced the album with the acclaimed producing team Dirty Icon (Logan Mader and Lucas Banker).



It appears there is much to talk about and vocalist Travis Neal was available to answer some questions. Here you can read what he had to say to the readers of Metal-Experience.com


Congratulations on your new album ‘Bringer Of Plagues’ which will be out soon, of course we’d like to ask you a couple of questions about it.


This is Travis Neal and I would be honored to have this interview with you!


How did you launch into writing material for ‘Bringer of Plagues’ and how much time did you spend on the songs?

Travis: Well, The songwriting began when I joined the band really. They had some ideas before I joined but nothing complete. The first song we all birthed was " Facebreaker" and then we just started writing what our hearts told us to and so became ‘Bringer of plagues’!!


Which approach did you take to make this album, did you go for a more raw exposition.. Or something more reminiscent of your previous other works, or something all together different?

Travis: We wanted to take everything we could and put in to this record, we did not set a limit on our music, and we basically had no boundaries with this record. We did not sacrifice our sound at all, we just really wanted to make something evolved and special instead of re-treading the first record.


Did ideas come easily so that you just had to write them down or was it more of a careful composing thing?

Travis: A bit of both, some idea’s came right away when I heard the song. It was like instantly! Other’s I had to really look inside and find what would be the right thing for the song and what would make it special and strong! Over all it was all meticulously put together and gone over to make sure it was perfect!


What comes first, lyrics or melodies?

Travis: Sometimes both. Sometimes I will have a melody in my head and I will write the lyrics around my patterns. Most of the time I will start writing when I have a complete demo version of the song, so I can break it down and write my patterns and lyrics to the song. So I can write what comes to me when I hear the song. So I guess you can say, I usually write both at the same time..


What were the goals you had in mind when you started to record ‘Bringer Of Plagues’, any elements you definitely wanted to have on the album?


Travis: There was a lot on my mind. Mainly making sure that whatever I did on this record would be just as good if not better then the first record! I really wanted a versatile element on this record. I did not want it to be all heavy or all melodic, all singing or all screaming. I wanted to make a perfectly rounded record, with all corners of our influences. This way we could reach more than just one group of listeners and make our sound timeless!



Could you please describe the implications of the title ‘Bringer of Plagues’, what does it stand for and is there a special meaning behind it?

Travis: This is one I have been getting a lot,. Well the lyrics for the song were something that my good friend "Jason Casey" had written one day and he texted me the chorus lyrics. I told him that it was good stuff and he told me that he was working on it and still had to finish it. I said, finish it and I may use it. When he was done, he showed it to me. I was blown away. I was very inspired by the lyrics and fit them to one of our songs, bringing you all “The battle of J. Casey"! The song’s lyrics are about the personal struggles and uphill battle of one man and how that one man found the determination to conquer and devour everything that stood in his way to make himself a better person. I think this song’s lyrics will adapt to many of the listeners’ personal lives in their own way, and that to me is essential sometimes with music and the words that are put across in it!


Can you give us a short explanation of what the lyrics are about?


Travis: This record’s lyrics are pulled from all aspects of life. From the feared rumors of 2012, to the apocalypse explained in the bible. Then there are tracks that were inspired by movies or parts of movies as well as some video games. And then there are lyrics written about the fucked up shit that goes on this world and some of the monsters that have inhabited it!


Can you give us a little background of the songs on the album, is there a story behind them?


Travis: Like I said before is the previous question. There is a bunch of different stories in the lyrics on this record. Some of the songs are a story by themselves and some are linked together. I would like the listeners to decide that and come up with their own stories on what the lyrics mean to them…


How did the recording process proceed? Did you work differently this time than you did with your previous works? How much time did you spend in the studio?


Travis: This record was actually the most professional and lengthy record I have ever recorded. Mainly due to the budgets of my other bands, we could not spend the time that DH did in the studio. The recording process took about a month and a half if I remember right..


The album was produced by Logan Mader and Lucas Banker, what made them the perfect team for the job?


Travis: We all felt that Dirty Icon did an amazing job on ‘Bleed The Fifth’ as well as the other band they have worked with. The production team in second to none and I highly recommend anybody that wants a top notch team and a top notch sound and finished product to get in touch with them!


In which elements on the new album can one clearly hear their visions and ideas?


Travis: We worked together on the entire record. For some songs I had everything done and they liked it and some songs we worked on together. Me and Lucas spent a lot of time on some songs and they really brought the most out of them. I don’t think they really have a signature sound; they just bring the sound out of the artist!


What do you think are the main differences between your previous album and ‘Bringer of Plagues’?

Travis: This record is evolved! A new vision of the same band. New influences and musicians and no boundaries! The first record was the pilot for the band to get the name out there and it did just that. This record is set out to shatter what people know about this band and bring the band to a whole new level!


What is the utmost important ingredient for a song?

Travis: For me, Finding the right hook and the right chant! When I get addicted to a band it is because I cannot get a song or a pattern or a chorus out of my head. Also when I see that band play live, being able to chant the lyrics and sing the chorus in the crowd!


Do you have any favorites on the album?

Travis: I really have a thing for all the tracks on this record, it is hard for me to pick a favorite. I like all the tracks and I am very proud of all of them!


Have you received any feedback on the album yet?


Travis: Yes I have, everybody is really digging on it and saying a lot of good things. Of course there are some people out there that prefer the previous vocalist but hey, can’t win ‘em all! I’ll tell you what though. For every fan that we have lost because of the change on vocalists, we have gained 10 more.. So that is fucking awesome in my opinion!!!


Are third party opinions (press, fans, etc.) on your music important to you? Or are your music and band the only things that matter?

Travis: I feel that of course they are essential! Because at the end of the day, we are just a band. The only reason we are able to do this for a living and play the places we do is because of the Fans, press, ect. I respect every opinion out there that we get and love to hear them all!!



Which element of the CD are you most proud of?

Travis: I’m damn proud of the entire thing! 100 fucking percent!!! No regrets at all!


Can you tell us a little about yourself and the kinds of things that motivate you in your writing, your poetry, and your lyrics?

Travis: I pull from all avenues of inspiration. From books, to movies, to video games and from real life experiences. Sometimes I can go for months with writers’ block and sometimes I cannot keep the pen off the paper… Obviously certain stuff inspires me more than others. But it all comes together in the end!


With several albums under your belt, how far has you career surpassed your original dreams and what would you say is the most rewarding part of being in the band?

Travis: I can honestly say that, what I am doing right now is all I have ever dreamed of! My dream was to play music and reach as much people as possible and that is what I am doing.. You cannot ask for anything better!! The rewarding part of it is, that instead of local venues, now it is the real deal. Global domination at its best!


What is your opinion on the metal scene these days? What do you think about the overload of bands at the moment and is there anything missing in the scene?

Travis: I love the metal scene! I’m happy that some many great metal bands are now getting the recognition that they have deserved and that it is not just a scene that lurks underground. Metal is in everyone’s faces now and the crowd’s growing by the minute! I dig the shit out of all the bands whoreing up the scene.. It is amazing because there are some many different styles of metal coming out. So many different hybrid sounds! That to me is amazing!!


What can we expect from Divine Heresy in the near future, any touring plans for Europe?

Travis: You can for sure expect a global domination campaign in 2010! We will be touring full force and crushing every stage we set foot on! That is a fucking promise!!!


Where do you see Divine Heresy going within the next couple of years, and where do you see your musical direction going for the next album?

Travis: That is yet to be heard or seen. I can promise that the next record will be an evolved version of the band once again. We are not about repeating the past, this band will continue to grow and change.


Anything left to say to our readers?

Travis: Thank you to all of you who took the time to read this and to all of you who we have bled with on the road! You are the reason we are here! ‘Bringer of Plagues’ is for each and every one of you!! We will see you on the road next, so be ready to party hard and fucking destroy shit!!!


Much love and respect

Travis Neal


Thanks for your time,

Eugene Straver





Travis Neal – vocals (2008-present)

Dino Cazares – guitar (2005-present)

Joe Payne – bass guitar (2007-present)

Tim Yeung - drums (2005-present)


Former Members:

Tommy "Vext" Cummings – vocals (2005-2008)



Bleed the Fifth (2007)

Bringer of Plagues (2009)