Uneven Structure – Februus

Uneven Structure – Februus – 4/5

“Freed from the womb, an overwhelming light surrounds everything
Expelled through this intense breach
A whole new set of perceptions gives warmth
The cosiness of gestation has come to an end”

So long it requires two discs and largely consisting of Meshuggah-like djent chugging over monotonous rasped vocals; yup, this sounds like everything I should hate. Bopping along like so many other deathcore acts do, screaming like some meat-head punching the air; thinking they have something to say when they really don't – I'm not really selling this very well at the moment am I? The thing is, I don't hate it. At all. When I first heard it I largely ignored it, to the casual glance it's just another band trying to work wonders with an inherently impossible genre to work with and come up smelling like anything other than shit, and yet somehow they've managed to create a concept piece that remarkably is deserving of your time. They may at times sound like party boy's bumping fists but that's only if you don't pay attention. This isn't an album you can just listen to a random track half-heartedly looking for it to jump out at you any more than you would watch a film halfway through and expect to be impressed within the first few minutes. Start at the beginning else don't start at all.

They ease you in gradually, gracing your ears with the finer details of their sound that you should watch out for. Yes, much of it contains djent chugging and deathcore growling but it serves a purpose. That mind-numbing repetition, constant aggressive battering, metaphorically punching the bland walls that surround you until you finally break free from the tyranny it represents, and when you do the result is nothing short of glorious glorious. Clean vocals erupt and ambient passages suddenly rush out in an effigy; atmospheric and powerful, like the first time you've finally seen the light after being buried for so long, over time the abundance of aggression slowly relenting and giving rise to a greater emphasis on the light, slowly dragging yourself up from the pit of despair until you're finally able to break free from it entirely. The emotion is nothing short of liberating, mesmerising; this is an ambient piece in every sense of the word just as much as it is the other, far more obvious and blunt component to their sound, with the entirety of the second disc just being comprised entirely of atmospheric keyboards and electronic work; there are no drums, guitars or vocals in sight, delivering more than half an hour of sweet relief from the torment and struggle that preceded it.

You see, there's far more at play in this 90 minute release than a single quick listen would have you notice. Each track flows seamlessly into the next; the written lyrics which could easily be passed over – and indeed it's a shame they aren't too more easy to discern in the vocal lines themselves, though doing so may well rob it off much of its impact – but they're nothing short of poetic, if perhaps too cryptic to follow closely. There are three guitarists in this line up – not including the bassist – but they all have their roles to play, subtly working in the background to build an atmosphere much in the same way post-rock artists do. You may not be able to overtly tell what they're doing but that is to their credit, their intention was never to be so blunt and obvious as to supply a riff or line but to add to the atmosphere. The rhythm is carried largely by the slow grooves of the bass and the complementing drum work, but simplistic as it often feels, it is all the layers that go on top that make it all work.

I remember thinking that it was curious how the live show had a mosh pit that when the music broke ended up with all the violence being replaced with embrace; it was like nothing like I'd seen before, and yet this is precisely the sensation this music evokes. It shows you at your worst; drowning in depression with no end in sight, in the depths of despair without a hope in the world, fighting back with every ounce of strength and emerging once more triumphant. It's the idea of being quite literally being reborn into a world; of Genesis, creating hope where there was once none. It almost feels religious, the epiphany of an Atheist that a Lord exists and finally seeing the light. It can be interpreted in many ways but what's undeniable is that there is a strength and emotion here that betrays their exterior shell; it's abrasive nature is merely a means to an end. It may not reach the heights reached by Chimp Spanner or Tesseract, but that's not to say it isn't impressive in its own unique way.