Uneven Structure
Paragon


2.0
poor

Review

by Robert Garland CONTRIBUTOR (302 Reviews)
October 22nd, 2019 | 31 replies


Release Date: 10/18/2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Please excuse Uneven Structure while they bumble around this pretty mess.

When Uneven Structure launched Februus eight years ago they opened a new floodgate possibilities. Sure, it wasn’t innovative by any means, but the atmosphere meets opulent heaviness marked a re-invigoration of the progressive djent-core alongside acts like Periphery, Tesseract and Vildhjarta (just to name a few more prominent acts in the field). For the French-born Uneven Structure, it left a weight of expectation that wasn’t quite lived up to with the release of La Partition six years after it. The band’s sophomore suffered from production issues and highlighted some sound identity inconsistencies; namely in the group’s inability to re-meld the twinkly ambient sections with that of the stereotypical harsh noises that gave so much life to the debut. It’s unfortunate that Paragon disproves the notion that Uneven Structure succumbed to a proverbial ‘sophomore slump’ as the debuts issues manifest the issues found in La Partition and vex the listeners’ ability to let some pretty basic problems go.

As an overall package, a lot (read: part) of Paragon’s issues could be bandaged with a few production fixes - namely, in the guitars where the leads overbear on everything else or the album’s chordal verses where they lack the power to compliment Matthieu Romarin’s powerful, but completely generic harsh tones (given that they could suit almost any pseudo-core album within the metal genre umbrella). The album’s riffs spend their time lurking in the back of the mix, just noticeable enough to be recognized, but hidden in any way that would positively impact the record. The drums however are “almost” on point, save for that incessant blast-popping that haunts the back of the album’s mixing (“Outlaw” being the most dominant example of this). It’s almost as if Uneven Structure had some trouble keeping time and needed a click-track to keep the album’s pace, but were clued in just enough to realize that something like that wouldn’t actually sound good on a final product… and once heard, it’s difficult to put this particular percussive cat back in it’s box.

Paragon is also the band’s weakest vocal display to date. Putting aside the execution of Romarin’s screams, the album’s cleans (especially in the melodic, “progressive” sections) simply don’t engage to a more emotive point - increasing this abundant feeling of underwhelming music. Despite the fluent English lyrics, Matt’s French tones are reedy, occasionally nasal and his phrasings become overcompensated, yet undersold (this is especially obvious in “Hero”). The album’s opening piece, “Magician” builds slowly and suffers the least from Romarin’s vocal misgivings while bringing an atmosphere of tentative hope but still has a central underwhelming restrained presence built on a middling soundscape. At times, the band’s “progressiveness” is a masquerade of ideas that are cut abruptly and replaced with something else. Uneven Structure’s heavy sections may be well-executed, but they are largely tucked into a track as an afterthought; a desperate bid for some yin and yang contrast as Paragon fumbles around its attempts at a wholesome, “pretty” atmosphere... before strolling into an industrial led break a la “Caregiver”. Singularly, the track is well put together, even if it’s at odds with the rest of the record.

Fixing these issues however would have the same effect as putting a band-aid on a shattered leg. Uneven Structure will still be limited by their inability to put their compositions together in a meaningful, coherent or endearing manner. Yes, there’s a world of talent here, no one is denying that Uneven Structure’s ability to write defining songs, it’s just none of them appear on their 2019 release. I’m being critical (of course I am), but Februus was set as the early benchmark for Uneven Structure and technically speaking one could argue that the band has shifted their sound away from the debut in a natural way - but the standards are still in place. Paragon is faulty, defective and the few parts that do work are compromised by the majority that doesn’t. For all of the band’s attempts to keep their progressive tropes alive, the repeated light and dark (clean and heavy) soundscapes presented here fall into a world of formulaic. This isn’t just a slump highlighted by the sophomore, it’s a career showing all the earmarks of an unfortunate decline. Uneven Structure needs a fresh look at the old blue-print.



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user ratings (38)
2.8
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
October 22nd 2019


10939 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

A 2.2 for those who love a good ol' decimal.



Album can be heard here: https://unevenstructure.bandcamp.com/album/paragon

9Hammer
October 22nd 2019


273 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

My thoughts almost exactly. The group seems to be on a decline in terms of their overall sound. I was really hoping that this would throw my expectations out the window too!

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
October 22nd 2019


10939 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I was hoping for a resurgence to be honest. This is a huge let down even if you're in a forgiving mood.

JS19
October 22nd 2019


7420 Comments


I just think Februus has been proven to be a lucky fluke by now

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
October 22nd 2019


10939 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

It's looking that way agreed.

Beardog
October 22nd 2019


3206 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Man, this is sad. I want this band to be good...

Toondude10
October 22nd 2019


14126 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

album is fine lmao

SowingSeason
Moderator
October 22nd 2019


32890 Comments


great write up

Digging: Abigail Williams - Walk Beyond The Dark

Nomos2
October 22nd 2019


520 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Weird, I can totally see where you're coming from and yet I'm enjoying the hell out of it. La Partition was pretty disappointing to me and so I was ready to be bummed by this. And I was after the first listen, but it started to grow on me quite a bit afterwards, once I was able to focus on the tracks intently instead of using them as background noise.



Even though it's all a bit samey and lacks big, defining moments, and still has trouble balancing the pretty contemplative soundscapes with the harsh bits, I like it a lot.



Agreed on his clean vocals. They're stretched to hell, and while better than those on La Partition IMO, they can still be too nasally and droning to express real emotion and make it hard to distinguish what he's singing. They sound a little less....atonal than last time?



His harsh vox may sound generic but I think they fit. They don't bother me a bit.



Still not entirely decided on this but I'm enjoying it too much to not 4 it for now.

mdross95
October 22nd 2019


29 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

agreed on all points, 'specially the vocals. disappointing after such a sick performance in the debut

bloc
October 22nd 2019


58899 Comments


Damn that's the album art? Looks like a cosmic sprinkled donut...

Digging: The Cleaners From Venus - Midnight Cleaners

9Hammer
October 22nd 2019


273 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

They somehow got Jackson Pollock to do the album art.

TundraL5Z
October 22nd 2019


3386 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

wish I could pos : (, good review, agree

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
October 22nd 2019


10939 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Isn't that the kind of feedback you've been itching for the site to move away from Sowing.



Would love to read your thoughts on this Toondude, especially how I keep finding flaws in albums you find excellent.

Pikazilla
October 22nd 2019


6971 Comments


Februus is the best djent of the decade (if we don't count Meshuggah of course). I'm scared to listen to this thing, given the ratings...

9Hammer
October 22nd 2019


273 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

From an objective point of view, it appears to be a mixed bag, so you might or might not like it.

HoopyFrood
October 22nd 2019


124 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

oof as much as i hate to i agree with this review.

Rausku
October 23rd 2019


3 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I so desperately want to like this more but the issues this album has are so overwhelming. Great review.

Digging: Esoteric - A Pyrrhic Existence

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
October 23rd 2019


10939 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Welcome to Sput!!

Pikazilla
October 23rd 2019


6971 Comments


I checked - he actually joined almost 2 years lmao

And he didn't make a single comment until today



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