It’s ironic that one of the songs from the new Structures record is called “In Pursuit Of,” because they are in pursuit of serious accolades for their musicianship; and they deserve them. This record is a progressive metal speedball. The changes in the time signatures and polyrhythms are tough to follow, but once you’ve found that comprehensive middle ground the rest follows uncharacteristically smoothly for a genre as OCD as this one.
Divided By is the first full-length from the Canadian natives. Being signed to Sumerian Records (who is known for taking bands like this and bringing them front and center), the progression is undeniable. Each member has taken their craft and upped the ante greatly. Do they deserve recognition? You bet your ass they do. Their EP All Of The Above garnered lots of positive acclaim for its ingenuity and originality, and there is no shortage of that here as well.
Starting with “At Las[T],” the all-out-attack culminates after about 40 seconds of ascending programming. The result is nasty good; the screeching wailing from a siren that underlines the first breakdown is smartly executed, as is the aggression that overlaps the entire song. I also love the thick rising/falling guitar line that takes place towards the latter half. “Hydroplaning” is as furious as it is melodic. Immediately what you should notice is the improvement on the vocals; the growls are rougher and hold much more grit, as well as the collective yells that are harmonized for intensity. The breakdowns are ginormous, but what’s also relieving is the tasteful amounts of them. The chorus in this song is beautiful. It is a combination of a strange Blink-182-esque tone, but the melody is so uplifting that you can’t help but shake your head and mouth “Yes!”
If you were a fan of AOTA, then you’ll be pleased to see two re-recordings make it onto this record, “Encounter…” and “In Pursuit Of.” Not much has changed for either of these songs, but they are dirtier in the sense that the vocals are heavier and the guitar sections are much tighter.
Fourth track “Paralyzed___” is powerful but totally a step to the left on the album. The heaviness is there and it’s done well, but some parts feel a little out of place. For example, the clean vocal sections that reside in the middle and the end- it has such a strange melody that I’m unsure whether I like it or not. In fact, it so reeks of Blink again that I’m slightly concerned here. “Clockwork” takes a step back from the melody for a sexy trade-off of guest vocal paradise featuring Alex Erian (ex-Despised Icon) and Kevin McCaughey (Ion Dissonance). The change of pace is welcome, mean, and fucking bludgeoning.
Next up is “Relapse; Signs,” featuring Frankie Palmeri (Emmure). Some of you may be a little anxious and perplexed, but believe me it is not a gimmick. This track is relentless, and Palmeri gets bone-crushing during the chaos at the end. It is possible that Emmure influenced this song though, because it does have more of that slow chuggy feel to it. Thankfully, “Tunnel Vision” is the enthralling opus that they have been trying so hard to create. It is chock full of delicious metal riffs, drumming, and vocal structures. I haven’t stopped listening to this song since I first heard it. I have to give mega praise to drummer Andrew McEnaney, because his playing here is stunning.
“I.N.T.E.N.T” is short in the sense that the unadulterated energy is short, but it is sweet. The breakdowns that litter the middle of the song will open up some giant pits at their shows. Where this song really hits home is the outro, because it sets up as the perfect transition into album closer “/.” A soaring singing melody instantly overtakes your auditory senses and holds it prisoner. The vocal structure that goes from clean to scream here is dazzling and titanic. The air is triumphant, thick with positivity, and full of heart. If they were trying to keep a secret from us leading up to this release, this would be it. It is a total game changer in what we are used to from them. Eventually, the song transitions into one of the most brutal breakdowns on the record, and fades out with guitar feedback.
Structures worked hard to create a release that is enthralling with compelling composition, but rooted firmly in the ground enough so that you still feel right at home. Minus a few pitfalls, they succeeded. This is one of many memorable releases of 2011, and based off of this record I have a good feeling about the direction they are headed.