Djent and progressive metal are on the rise in recent years, and as such it’s hard for bands to break through the thicket of bands who are pursuing the same goals. One such band who has managed to do this is UNEVEN STRUCTURE, who have returned after a six-year gap in albums with their 2017 release, La Partition. The record was met with positive feedback, and demonstrated that the band have since began to push the boundaries within djent and progressive metal, and incorporate a banquet of outside influences into their music. On their current tour with VOYAGER, we caught UNEVEN STRUCTURE’s show at Satans Hollow in Manchester with SEARU and VALIS ABLAZE supporting alongside the aforementioned Australian outfit.
The first of the local supports for tonight’s show is Manchester based SEARU. The Mancunian groove metal outfit offer just that but with a number of varying styles thrown into the mix to make a nice blend of atmospherics and chaos. Vocalist Jordan Rooney performed brilliantly in this set, with guitarist Adam Hitchener providing backing fire that alternated from straight-up riffs to more complex, tech-oriented sections. The complexity with which they play on stage is a great sight to see, and it’s also clear that SEARU have a bright future ahead of them. Their ability to alternate from such emotions as anger and passion to calm, soothing sections with such finesse must be commended. Overall their set was a nice opener for the night, and a warm-up for the next act, VALIS ABLAZE.
It’s quite difficult to put a pin on exactly what VALIS ABLAZE are as a band. Their mixture of atmospheric elements and progressive/djent sections made for an interesting and varied set, with a nice alternation in energy to keep you intrigued. Vocalist Phil Owen delivered ethereal vocals with apparent ease as they supported the complexities from guitarists Tom Moore and Ash Cook, and bassist Kieran Hogarty, who was in fact performing his final show with the band. The variation of their music as they jump from hard-hitting djent-y riffs to atmospheric, soothing sections really made their set quite special and gripping. VALIS ABLAZE is an example of a band who have managed to break through the thicket of bands within similar genres by implementing a number of influences into their sound, and it pays off. We hope to see more things to come from VALIS ABLAZE in the near future.
Opening to a cover of KORN’s Blind with their own little twist on it before switching into their own tracks made the start of the set quite fun for the audience, along with the electronic keyboard cover of DARUDE’s classic Sandstorm, which exploded into back-up of guitars and energy which the crowd lapped up. Part of the appeal of VOYAGER is how open they are to experimentation and just playing whatever they want and enjoy, which is what more bands should be doing more often. From their actual material, VOYAGER performed excellently as the main support to UNEVEN STRUCTURE, and all members brought plenty of energy to the set to get the crowd pumped for the final act.
In our interview with him, UNEVEN STRUCTURE drummer Arnaud Verrier described that their sets should be an hour-long slap in the face to the crowd, full of energy and chaos. This description is exactly what was delivered at Satan’s Hollow that night, especially from Arnaud himself. Not only is he an excellent drummer, but his energy on stage is astounding, as is guitarist Steeves Hostin. Vocalist Matthieu Romarin transitions from soothing, melodic cleans to sharp, aggressive growls with apparent ease as the rest of the band follow suit in a similar soothing-to-chaotic fashion. Incube is one such track in which this is demonstrated, as the first half is more relaxed and melodic before exploding into a progressive breakdown which completely alters the mood of the track, and the overall energy the band exert. The only let down of UNEVEN STRUCTURE’s set is that their time was cut short during their last song, which brought the set to an abrupt halt and did not provide the finisher they wanted. Other than this, which was out of the band’s control, UNEVEN STRUCTURE performed an incredible set and demonstrated that they are a force to be reckoned with.
Check out our photo gallery from the night’s action in Manchester from Occult Photography here: