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.
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
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
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
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
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
Are third party opinions (press, fans, etc.) on your
music important to you? Or are your music and band the only things that
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
Much love and respect
Thanks for your time,
Travis Neal – vocals (2008-present)
Dino Cazares – guitar (2005-present)
Joe Payne – bass guitar (2007-present)
Tim Yeung - drums (2005-present)
Tommy "Vext" Cummings – vocals (2005-2008)
Bleed the Fifth (2007)
Bringer of Plagues (2009)