Uneven Structure

8 EP

Written by: AP on 31/07/2013 15:38:46

Uneven Structure's 2011 LP "Februus" was, for me, one of the best records released that year, blending the melancholia and introspection of TesseracT with the glowing intensity of Meshuggah to form a stunning take on the djent style of progressive metal. While the French six-piece have never obscured the primary source of their inspiration, namely Meshuggah, this EP "8" (a re-recorded version of the original 2009 release) makes it an indisputable fact: the EP consists of just one song clocking in at 24 minutes and 20 seconds, much in the vein of Meshuggah's "I" EP (2004), which too boasts one eponymous track.

The similarities are profuse beyond the arrangement too, as Uneven Structure continue to sound every bit as abstract as the Swedish maestros. The EP is veiled in a mist of terror, mystery and wonder; the combined power of the three eight-string guitars of Aurélien Perreira, Igor Omodei and Jérôme Colombelli, the rumbling bass of Benoit Friedrich, and the polyrhythmic percussion of drummer Jean Ferry producing an absolutely monumental rhythmic foundation, beneath an eerie reverberating, constantly morphing melody. During the first 9 minutes, I am reminded above all of Meshuggah's infamous tuplet "In Death - Is Life" / "In Death - Is Death" (from "Catch Thirtythree", 2005), as the song swerves from one crushing riff and time signature to another, breaks into a tense palm-muted passage, and then erupts into noisy cacophony once again. It's punishing, yet curiously entrancing - an effect amplified by the following minute-and-a-half of vocalist Matthieu Romarin chanting over lingering ambiance. There is a distinct paradigm shift during this interlude, as the latter half of the song is more contemplative and introspective than punishing, culminating in slow Vildhjarta-esque dirge near the 20-minute mark reducing the song into embers, which persist in the form of space-age ambiance for a good two minutes after the instruments grind to a halt.

This constant ebb and flow between periods of assuaging calm, splintering destruction and deep grooves eliminates the possibility of "8" becoming trivial despite the track's confounding length, whilst Romarin's versatility as a vocalist (he excels in both his harrowing growls and soaring, progressive metal influenced singing) ensures the song does not wind up exclusively a feast for connoisseurs of instrumental brilliance (of which there is much to be savoured, to be sure). As such, "8" is a crucial inclusion in any djent fan's record collection, and one which I would heartily recommend even to fans of regular progressive metal. It does, however, have the inherent downside of needing to be heard in full, and at over 24 minutes, the endeavour might not be equally tempting to everyone.


Download: "8" - the EP consists of just one song.
For the fans of: Meshuggah, TesseracT, Vildhjarta
Listen: Facebook

Release date 03.06.2013 (originally released 18.12.2009)
Basick Records

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