As the great Devin Townsend once said, “we all rip-off Meshuggah!.” Indeed this new trend of Djent, unarguably as well as unabashadly owes an extended amount of dues to the aforementioned Heavy-Metal titans that pretty well single-handedly spawned it. Although the metal sub-genre of Djent, primarly known for its arching mid range, dropped tuned and oftentimes extended ranged instruments has given rise to note-worthy acts such as Uneven Structure and Vildhjarta it has unquestionably been a landscape of large-scale mediocrity.
Uneven Structure’s re-release/re-recording of their first EP, 8 is far from a giant step out of the norm for the band many credit as being the ringleaders of the more ambient side of the often chaotic and less nuance based Heavy Metal medium. All the essential elements that helped craft Djent as it is today are present in 8, from the crisp, albeit arguably overproduced production to brain-churning 4/4 manipulated drum sequences. The EP as a whole is as subtle as it is in your face, with many of its most enduring aspects lying beneath the walls of palm-muted power chords and dropped-tuned bass slaps. Most of the tracks presented here craft a smooth and dare I say sexy bed of clean-layered guitar webs that reveal themselves with repeated listens, some remaining more immediate than others.
While the EP is rather monotonous in structure as well as execution it does have several high and low points. The second track, “Egocentric Focus” bursts out of nowhere with a head-bobbing and ridiculously heavy albeit somewhat rehashed riff and carries the momentum throughout the next track “Higher Quiddity.” This is one of the more captivating stretches of the record as it effortlessly blends clean and distorted vox with infectious grooves that are rather technical by comparison but right to the point and absolutely crushing. Group vocalist, Matthieu Romarin is especially deserving of accolade as he successfully weaves through clean harmonies and growls throughout the EP’s eight tracks, keeping things interesting throughout a sea of homogenous yet oftentimes entertaining rhythms.
There’s clearly a formula at work here, love it or hate it. With 8, Uneven Structure performs little if anything at all to break free of the myriad of groups that it helped craft. Without any speculation of doubt, 8’s biggest strength lies in that it doesn’t over-stay its welcome. While most rival bands of the genre have offered up over-bloated and needlessly long-play records, Uneven Structure have taken a different approach entirely. If you’re not already sold on the whole Djent movement, 8 will do little to change your mind, on the other hand, if you like to get down to groovy, meaty jams you could do much worse than Uneven Structure’s most recent reproduction of the band’s debut offering.
Tracklist for 8:
2. Egocentric Focus
3. To a Higher Quiddity
5. Confused Waveforms
6. Delusions of Grandeur