Uneven Structure - 8Uneven Structure – 8

[Basic Records]

If there’s something oddly familiar about Uneven Structure‘s “new” EP 8, that’s because there is. Before signing to Basick Records and releasing their brilliant debut album Februus in 2011, Uneven Structure independently released an EP titled 8 in 2009 that established the band’s sound as a progressive ode to Meshuggah‘s extended-range and oddly-timed riffing. Now, four years later with a new lineup and an acclaimed debut under their belts, the band have decided to shift focus in the midst of new album sessions to re-record the EP that started it all. Listening to 8 brought into a more polished context makes it clear how much the band have changed leading up to Februus; 8 focused primarily on low-end percussive riffing and aggression where Februus was more involved in lush compositions and haunting melodies that came together to form almost whimsical soundscapes. Allegedly, the EP was originally comprised of b-side riffs that didn’t make the Februus cut, and while the riffs aren’t bad, 8 seems almost primitive in comparison. It makes sense why the band would want to revisit this material and give it the attention it deserves. With re-tracked guitars, re-worked songs, and entirely new vocals, the proper re-release of 8 helps the source material transcend its original almost demo-like feel and adequately presents another adventure to hold listeners over while the band works on another all-new masterpiece. 8 isn’t exactly as whimsical and thought-provoking as Februus, but this twenty minute epic doesn’t disappoint, especially those new to the material that yearn for more of Uneven Structure’s heavier metallic edge. – JR



Wreck and Reference - No ContentWreck and Reference – No Content

[The Flenser]

Bands such as Wreck and Reference are difficult to put into words. Pushing the envelope and transcending all pre-conceived notions of what goes where in regards to genre definitions poses somewhat of a psychological threat to listeners, especially when musical exhibition is as challenging as this California duo’s experimental output. A close approximation of sound would land Wreck and Reference at a cross roads of post-black metal and avant garde, but they’re so much more than that. The aptly titled ‘Absurdities and Echoes‘ sounds almost as if Death Grips went post-rock, with shimmering ambiance, pulsating beats, and bellowing vocals. Things take a darker turn during ‘Abhorrence,’ which plays like a stripped-down Altar of Plagues dirge, with every bit of the visceral wrenching intact. There’s an art to being off-putting, and Wreck and Reference are able to maintain that listenable weirdness to some degree of success, which speaks volumes considering the band’s self-imposed limitations through their minimal setup of drums and a sampler. Sure, the ideas are cool, but are they memorable songs at the end of the day or passing art gallery exhibits? The band’s new 7″ EP No Content may live up to its title with the ultra-short runtime, but the ideas explored on the EP’s near-seven minute runtime make up for it (especially as a companion to its predecessor No Youth), even if they do have trouble leaving a lasting impression. – JR




Sidious - Ascension to the Throne Ov SelfSidious – Ascension to the Throne Ov Self

[Kaotoxin Records]

English newcomers Sidious have put out a beautiful symphonic death metal debut. Quite a feat for such a young band. Much in the vain of Behemoth, Ascension to the Throne Ov Self contains four enormous death metal epics littered with sweeping string sections and intricate piano arpeggios. However, unlike Behemoth, their focus is less on atmosphere and biased towards a more straightforward DM approach. Blasting almost non stop, the only times you get to catch your breath are when the orchestrations are at play. Though much of the time, the atmospheric keys aren’t even present. This is where Sidious shine. They are more than pleasant to listen to without the intricate and time consuming act of adding an orchestra to your work, but instead they use it in crucial parts of the songs to add depth and make the songs more dynamic. Exactly how it should be done, no less! As for the straightforward death metal, it also has a unique flair. Often going for the typical 180 bpm blast beat, tremolo picked riffing and monstrous growls, but it’s sprinkled with touches of black metal. The transitions and bridges between repeated parts are usually very blackened dissonant chords. It’s such an effective yet simple touch to their music. Sidious also manage to cram everything they’re capable of into this short EP. They try their hand at tech-death in during the midsection of ‘Nihilistic Regeneration’ and to no avail, it’s awesome. There is a straight up deathcore breakdown on ‘Sentient Race’ as well as a crushing black metal part around the :50 mark on the title track. At the end of the day, Sidious have outdone themselves. Ascension to the Throne Ov Self is the debut that every band wants. – CD



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