The Madison-based progressive-metal duo Birth of Tragedy continues to do more with just guitar and drums than many larger, better-known hard-rock acts manage to muster. To Die of the Truth finds them still mainlining Nietzsche, suggested by the title's reference to the German philosopher's oft-quoted early proclamation about the protective quality of art.
Piecing out exactly what singer/guitarist Cory Divine is singing isn't always easy (there is no lyric sheet). But his rasping, half-strangled intonations forcefully communicate his near-constant state of unease. Birth of Tragedy have no trouble with pro forma Wagnerian metal, and old-school metalheads will likely achieve dark nirvana while cranking the spiraling 'Demian' on their iPods.
The real finds here are the polyrhythmic drum workout 'Temptation of the Zahir' and 'Infernal Desire,' a spare, lyrical blend of elements from hardcore and prog that recalls late, great Milwaukee post-punkers Die Kreuzen. These two tunes would find converts in any contemporary metal crowd.