UNEVEN STRUCTURE is a band that has lurked in the darkness of the progressive metal and djent scene for six years, since the release of their debut album, Februus in 2011. Hailing from Metz in France, this April marks the long-awaited release of their sophomore album, La Partition. After the positive reception of their debut, fans have been anxious to hear what the band could follow up with.
First impressions of the album show it to have both its strong points and weak points – with the French tech-metallers creating a massive ambient soundscape throughout the album, which possibly detracts from the importance of individual tracks along the way.
The first section of La Partition comprises of the tracks Alkaline Throat, Brazen Tongue and Crystal Teeth. The thematic link in the naming of these songs is a definite indication of the progressive and conceptual nature of the album – the three songs represent a journey out of the body. Whilst these opening tracks accurately showcase UNEVEN STRUCTURE’s sound, with atmospheric ambience building up a well-textured soundscape in each, there isn’t much to separate them individually. However, the ambient and clean sections are well balanced with harsh vocals in first track as well as some heavier, faster instrumentals at some points.
Groomed and Resting is the first transition track of the album, and leads into arguably the strongest part on the record – the second, containing Incube (the main single released from the album), Succube and Funambule. The classical opposite demons of the Incubus and Succubus make sense in this context as these tracks seem to compliment and build upon each other rather well, whilst Funambule stands alone as, what I would argue to be, the strongest track on the album. This track has much more of a tech-metal feeling to it, with fast, djent-style rhythm sections reinforced by Matthieu Romarin’s powerful harsh vocals. Arnaud Verrier’s drumming on this track should also be mentioned, with his polyrhythms adding to the frenetic tech-death atmosphere more reminiscent of MESHUGGAH than TESSERACT in terms of the band’s influences. It must be noted that TESSERACT-esque soundscapes feature very heavily in this album, with many moments bringing the UK tech-gods’ latest album, Polaris, to mind.
The final third of the album is introduced by the sinister transition track Greeted and Dining. This final chapter, much like the first, seems slightly formulaic and repetitive compared to the strength and variety shown in the second chapter of the album. The Bait, Our Embrace and Your Scent all follow the same song structures often employed on this album – slow, clean starts building into heavy, fast endings. However, Your Scent remains a strong ending to the album, hitting hard at the start with Romarin’s screams, building into an ecstatic chorus and finishing with the second half of the song as an extended instrumental outro showcasing the skill of the band’s guitarists; Jérôme Colombelli and Steeves Hostin.
Taken as a whole, it is possible to think that this album has a slight over-reliance on its ambient soundscapes, and slightly loses sight of the individuality of tracks. However, moments like Funambule and Your Scent remain very powerful and progressive. It’s important to remember what UNEVEN STRUCTURE are; a very talented and promising band on the European tech-metal scene. However, whilst being an atmospheric and technically satisfying album, it may fall slightly short, for some fans, of the six years of expectations built up since Februus was released. After some time with the record, it can be seen that the intensity of the sonic atmosphere is pushed forward so dramatically that it gets to a point where it loses its punch. Regardless, La Partition remains a powerful tech-metal record and certainly a stepping stone in the band’s sound.
La Partition is set for release on April 21st 2017 via Long Branch Records.
For more information on UNEVEN STRUCTURE like their official page on Facebook.