Blossoming from a bedroom-born ode to Meshuggah‘s frenetic math-metal riffing into an ethereal-worshiping prog act as rich in emotion and texture as they are in rhythmic prowess, France’s Uneven Structure released what very well could be the best record to come out of the djent movement with their 2011 debut album Februus. In the near four years since its release, the album has remained a collective favorite among the staff at Heavy Blog, and an ache for a follow-up has reached an apex as the band nears its completion. Uneven Structure and their label Basick Records have graciously reached out to break the silence on their sophomore album, titled La Partition, which will finally see release in 2015.
In a sneak peek of La Partition given to Heavy Blog for the purposes of this article, Uneven Structure can be heard hinting towards frighteningly black metal-adjacent blastbeats and tremolo picking, evoking images of Behemoth’s darkened grandiosity almost as much as they do Meshuggah’s reptilian groove. Guitarist Igor Omodei maintains that the comparisons are little more than a happy accident — “We just found a way to use blastbeats in a way that pleases us” — and offers that the more mindful influences come in the way of acts such as Alice in Chains and Soundgarden in the way they craft harmonies. Experimental hip-hop group Death Grips even played a part in informing La Partition‘s atmosphere, with the band channeling, “that ‘broken-mind, no fucks given’ feel.”
The admittedly tardy creation of La Partition has been due in part to the band’s Do-It-Yourself work ethic, which has seen the band starting from the bottom up on all levels of production from the songwriting to the mixing/mastering and art direction.
“We started working on La Partition around mid 2012. Back then we had no clear idea about the sound we were aiming for, we only knew we’d like something organic sounding and managing to keep its momentum through the whole album more than in Februus.”
During the early writing sessions for La Partition, the band struggled with not allowing themselves to get too comfortable and complacent in their own style. It eventually took a step backwards into re-imagining their introductory EP 8 in order to shake their past and move forward.
“For two years, most of the stuff we wrote sounded like Februus B-Sides — dull, staccato riffing-oriented B-Sides. It felt like preparing another burger in a fast-food joint, minus the wage.
“During that time we also were touring a lot and kinda sorting out our lives work-wise to keep as much freedom as possible. We re-released 8 then most of us moved down to the south of France where the studio is in order to make this more of a group effort. Early 2014 was when things started clicking. Lots of ideas exploded, the general tone and direction for the album happened there as we managed to meet and spend time together regularly.”
With the end now in sight and songwriting complete, La Partition is clearly becoming its own beast of an epic, elaborating upon the open-ended and continuous songwriting fashion the band are known for. All that’s left now is fleshing out the lyrics and making minute adjustments before the band moves onto mixing and mastering.
“We’ve started writing the lyrics, recording vocals, and are going to progressively track the instruments over the next few weeks. Just like 8 and Februus, the album is one long song which should clock somewhere around 50-minutes, this time with some extra thought to make each track stand on its own. From what we can describe, it’s generally heavier, noisier, denser, more diverse and whether more dramatic or maniacal than what we’ve released in the past. It probably has its hooks, but it’s not really there to cater. We’re simply chasing these goosebumps as usual, through different ways.”
Conceptually, Omodei likens La Partition to a twisted “‘The Little Mermaid’ on drugs,” and paints the record as a proper sequel to Februus, spinning-off from characters that appear during the album’s climax.
“In a nutshell, the album starts during the events taking place in ‘Awe’. “The Eight Sisters” — mermaids — have lost their voice and we follow a man who is bringing them back the music sheet for their chants. It allows us to explore different themes such as chaos, loss of control, introspection and self-deception.”
Throughout La Partition, the band hopes to foster an air of uncertainty, with an unpredictable ebb and flow that will be sure to grip listeners from start to finish.
“It’s more like trying to explore different elements through each song, so it actually feels like it progresses through the whole disc rather than rehashing the same tools until they just become gimmicks.
“There are very slow noisy and heavy tracks — almost sludge-like — and much faster, hectic ones. Some are very intimate. It’s all a matter of having dynamics and keeping things unexpected. You get these moments where something happens, and then the track just takes your hand and pulls you in another direction.
“You know, a bit like Gone Girl, if you’ve seen it.”
La Partition is currently on track to see release Summer 2015 through Basick Records. Visit Uneven Structure on Facebook for more updates as they come in, including videos from the album sessions.