Review Summary: Structures creates an interesting "hybrid theory" of Danza-esque chaotic, down-tuned metalcore laced with well-executed Blink 182 influenced pop punk. Delicious as it is, weak songwriting confines this album to the young, 20-sum(41) crowd.
Having waded through the tremendous amount of ink that has been spilled over Canada's latest prog-core wunderkinds, the most poignant comment I came across dealt with the issue of TONE.
The argument was made in that, maybe 10-15 years ago, bands were influenced less so by guitar "tones," and more so by guitar "playing." The lofty dream (back in the old days) was to create songs as epic as Metallica's or as mind-bendingly thrashy as Pantera's. Now, when kids pick up the guitar, they want the "tone" of a Meshuggah or Sikth, with the "heaviness" of a Ion Dissonance, Whitechapel or even yes, Emmure.
With Structures' 1st full-length we are introduced to a hodgepodge of the above mentioned heavy bands. Their sound, while not as progressive as one would assume from their name/record label, still falls on the same idea of obnoxiously attempting to bridge a high-range, bright sound with a low-end, heavily distorted style of staccato guitar work.
It's a mosher of an album that will surely get the kids in the pit moving once Structures starts heading out on tour, but the longevity of the music is extremely questionable given today's scene of tone chasers. Which speaks to the first, and most divisive issue of Divided By, the PRODUCTION.
I've had issues in the past with albums that have been recorded at The Machine Shop, most notably Suicide Silence's No Time to Bleed and Upon a Burning Body's The World is Ours. Unfortunately, Structures' Divided By seems to suffer from the same problem of being overly produced, where most, if not all of the album's material is seemingly "punched-in" (where all of the guitar parts are recorded in small, single note bits and re-tracked/downmixed in Pro Tools to create a tight, cohesive sound).
Metal purists will of course scoff at this practice, but every producer/engineer has their warranted reasoning behind it. Regardless, the almost solitary joy that could have been had from listening to Divided By (the amazing guitar/drum work) is diluted by an overly sanitized production. Can these kids play this music live? Possibly. But you wouldn't know it by listening to Divided By.
This of course wouldn't be a deal breaker if the songs on Divided By were compositional masterpieces. They all "sound" amazing (as in made to push your subwoofers to their near limits), and a good portion of the riffs are catchy as all get out, and it IS obvious that alot of thought has been put into every passage of every song. But the point needs to be made, would these songs be as complex as they are if these guys were forced to record on an 8-track analog deck as opposed to a high-class digital suite?
But perhaps there in lies the problem. Divided By sounds like an album that suffers from an overabundance in the ability to digitally add, divide, subtract, multiply and re-create. There is a difference between creating a record that listeners will enjoy years from now, and recording songs that show off how "fat" your guitar tone is and how "complex" of a song you can write.
Unfortunately it seems the young, albeit extremely talented members of Structures took Messhugah's anthemic album Destroy Erase Improve too literally. That album, release in 1995, effortlessly accomplished what so many of these younger bands are hungry to achieve . . . and with significantly less technology/money behind it.
The question still lingers in most metal forums these days. For all of the bands today that "sound" like Meshuggah, just how many of those bands' guitarists sound like Fredrik Thordendal? Maybe it's just a generational difference, but that will probably be the exact thing that determines whether or not you care for Structures' latest outing.