Uneven Structure - Februus

Uneven Structure - Februus [Full-length]
October 31, 2011 - Basick Records
8
8

Djent is often criticized for being unoriginal, uncreative and lacking variety. Its critics point to the mass of copycat bands that sound a little too much like Meshuggah and compare the scene/genre/style to Deathcore which exploded just as suddenly and has already begun its decline back into obscurity. These critics are wrong. Djent detractors from outside the scene/genre/style frequently fall into the same trap that non-Metal fans do when making generalizations about any form of Metal music. To the outsider all Metal sounds pretty much the same, Black Metal, Death Metal, Deathcore, Djent, Nu-Metal; it's all just angry, aggressive noise. Likewise to those outside the Djent scene/genre/style Djent is all downtuned, syncopated staccato riffs with the occasional ambient interlude. What they fail to notice are the distinct styles being developed within the Djent scene. It's most obvious in the case of Sumeriancore. Bands like After The Burial, Veil Of Maya and Born of Osiris really do not sound much like TesseracT or Monuments. Ambidjent is another offshoot created by the likes of Cloudkicker and Chimp Spanner. A more recent breakaway is Thall. The style Vildhjarta have developed is darker and more aggressive than any other Djent we've heard so far and more importantly, it's dark and aggressive in a different way. The other style I want to point out is what I call Melodjent. The first band to really use this style were Tesseract, there's also Modern Day Babylon and (finally) Uneven Structure.

Februus has been accused of sounding too much like Tesseract and I do hear what people are talking about but I put it down to the two bands developing their styles in a similar direction rather than outright plagiarism. Uneven Structure have developed a style which slips easily between thick, dense ambiance and crisp, defined Djenty riffage. The ambient parts of the album are well placed and the atmosphere is three dimensional, it surrounds the listener and draws them into the music. Heavier sections are often introduced slowly like rays of light, peeking through the ambient fog. At other times, polyrythmic grooves cut straight through the calm. These riffs really catch your attention and they are the ones that will get stuck in your head and have you tapping (albeit inaccurately) on your lap, desk or chair for days.

Although the syncopated grooves are what grab the listener's attention this album does not feel heavy. Throughout the album I found myself forgetting I was listening to a Metal band at all. The swirling ambiance sows together a number of subtle styles which take several listens to really appreciate or even notice. There are slow, emotional, post-hardcore style chords and subtle but incredibly groovy percussive sections that reveal more and more detail with each listen. While earlier in the review I described the album as 'Melodjent', many styles of Djent are present on this album. There are Sumerian breakdowns and a fair smattering of Thall to be found as well as Ambidjent reminiscent of Cloudkicker. This is a perfect album to convert those who say Djent lacks variety.

You'll have noticed I haven't mentioned any song titles or track numbers in this review and that is for a reason. The division of the tracks on this album seems pretty arbitrary, there aren't really songs it's just one long piece of music with different motifs separated by ambient noise. This is not a criticism, in fact I'm certain this is what the band intended. Februus is, after all, a concept album and should be treated as such, not as a collection of individual songs.

However, despite the mix of different styles, the infectious grooves and immersive atmosphere, the album can feel slightly too long. The ambiance can grow a little tiresome and the contrast loses its strength after a while. The vocals also may not be to everyone's taste but that is such a personal preference, one that will probably be fiercely debated by Djent fans for years to come, that I won't factor that into my rating of the album as a whole.

Overall Februus is a landmark release for Djent and an immersive as well as intense experience for the listener. Uneven Structure have done themselves proud and earned their place in the upper echelons of the scene with a distinct style and approach to a genre which continues to innovate and expand.

Comments

@al_hunter I see what you mean. I think with a record like this everybody will have a different take on it, it's all very subjective.

Yeah that's pretty much it. I really love the album but I felt for what they were doing it could've been a little shorter, towards the end it started to lose my attention a bit. It's a great album though. It was 9/10 because I can't quite put it up with Tesseract's One and then 8/10 for being that little bit too long. If it were possible I'd give it 8.5. It is a great album though!

Great album but the ambient interludes should not have been individual tracks and should've just been connected to the preceding track. The long fade out is pointless at the end of the album. Disc 2 is pretty much a waste as it didn't even come off as actual music but instead felt like someone's cat fell asleep on a keyboard for 35 minutes. Vocals, drums, and some guitar presence could've helped on disc 2.

Good review but I personally feel there are 3 definite 'songs' on the record with segues between them, much like how Tool do with their records. I'd make the record a ten but assume it's only 8 cos of the first disc feeling like one long song and the second disc not being the most easily listenable thing in djent?

This is a really good review, you explained things perfectly and summed up the record and band really well. You'll have to do more reviews cause i really enjoyed this.