Thursday, November 3, 2011

Album Review -Uneven Structure 'Februus' (Basick)

The first word these days in cutting edge, forward thinking,  intelligent metal releases, with a roster including such diverse acts as Aliases, Chimp Spanner, Blotted Science and Ion Dissonance, UK label Basick is at the forefront of the current upsurge of interest in technical/progressive metal, and their newest release is 'Februus'  , by French progsters Uneven Structure.Suffice to say, not only does it uphold the label's remarkably high standard , it's also a bit of a little cracker of a record.

With an approach similar to that of UK tech heads Tesseract, Uneven Structure craft elegant slices of ambient   progressive metal with a sound that fuses the industrial coldness and seismic heaviness of Meshuggah with a sense of atmosphere that suggests the otherworldly , cosmic riffing of  The Devin Townsend Band.Anthemic opener 'Awaken' starts the record off nicely , opening with some delicately surging ambient instrumentation before a crushing , groove laden drop tuned riff  crashes through the calm, accompanied by singer's Matthieu Romarin's remarkably diverse vocals, one minute roaring like the bastard spawn of Djent-Satan, the next employing a sonorous , heartfelt croon that compliments the band's thoughtful, nuanced riffing.'Frost' and 'Hail are both impressive in their schizophrenic grandiosity, while the transition from the blissed out 'Exmersion' into the epic, understated 'Buds' is what's commonly known as fucking genius.

'Awe' follows, and is one of the more aggressive moments on the record, the spectre of Meshuggah hanging over it's bulldozer riffing, in the best way possible. 'Quittance' might just be the best thing Tesseract never wrote,as is 'Plenitude', the highlight of the record,a constantly shifting blend of deft guitar picking, tribal drum sounds,which builds and builds subtly through various sonic moods into a deft blend of machine gun riffing and the band's by now trademark use of immersive layering and textures.Closer, the aptly titled 'Finale', sees the band out on a wash of eerie noise, and leaves the listener somewhat disoriented , but,  hopefully,  satisfied.

With the current wave of Pod using, poly riffing , bedroom Djenters, technical excellence and solid musicianship have become fashionable again, however, what sets Uneven Structure apart is in amongst the tidal waves of production, and the band's grim, gritty riffing, there's real heart and pathos on display here.And although at times it's monumental , cathedral sized bombast can be somewhat overpowering, content yourself with the fact that at least somebody out there  is aiming to think BIG.

Rating: 8/10
For fans of: Tesseract, Meshuggah, Cynic, Shattered Skies
Listen to/Buy the album here:
Stephen O' Connor

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