Ah, this takes me back. . . two years to be exact. Toronto hasn’t been a place for big name artists, which upsets me but I can’t really do anything about it. However, when my friend recommended Divided By to me, I couldn’t refuse a local band that actually sounded good and were signed to a big-name label like Sumerian Records.
Structures (styled as Stuc/Tures) are a Toronto-based five-piece progressive metal-core band, which blends elements of progressive metal and post-hardcore. They garnered some attention with the release of their first EP, All of the Above, which caught the attention of the hardcore and metal record label Sumerian Records, who helped them later record and release their first full-length album, Divided By.
There truly isn’t anything remarkably special about Struc/Tures. The main thing I don’t like is that Struc/Tures are more or less doing what every other modern metalcore band is doing: heavy guitar chugging mixed with the guitar tone we’ve come to call “djent” and no groove or structure (ironically). Nearly every song is trying to experiment with heavy guitar tones and sounds, but falls flat because nearly every band on the Sumerian Records label uses this sound, and it’s not really experimenting. Take songs like ‘At Las[T]’ and ‘Encounter…’; the guitars play interesting tones, but it’s not original, it doesn’t stand out a whole lot compared to everything else they and other bands on the Sumerian label dish this out.
The other thing about Struc/Tures that I simply can’t stand is their drummer. There’s something I don’t like about modern metal drummers: they are incapable of holding a solid groove or slowing down. I will say his playing is impressive, like the fast-paced playing in ‘Hyrdoplaning’. Yes, it is complicated, but it lacks soul, it lacks the real driving musician energy. It feels very mechanical, like the way he plays the song is the only possible way it can be played.
The last critique I have for Struc/Tures is the bass player; as in, where the hell is he? This is probably my biggest pet-peeve with metalcore bands. The bass player is more or less playing the guitar riff, and when the guitars are 7-8 stringed and are louder than a jet engine, what’s the point? There’s no creativity in the bass playing what-so-ever, and it’s completely overshadowed by the massive guitar tone. Even in the softer parts in songs like ‘Clockwork’ or ‘/’, the bass is practically inaudible.
This is nit-picking, however, and I’m always willing to overlook small flaws if it means the greater picture is really splendid. What I do like about Struc/Tures is a bit of a bias thing to say, I’ll admit, but is that they are good. Essentially, yes. For one, the vocalists don’t use that pathetic high-pitched-squeezing-my-balls kind of post-hardcore vocals that many bands use. The vocalist uses a clear tenor that doesn’t soar too high to risk voice cracking and awful singing bits that most attempted-alto or -soprano male vocalists use.
I’m going to go out of my way and actually recommend Divided By because at least they sound good. Not original, not creative, not flashy, but good. If you’re into the really crazy, heavy, ‘djenty’ metalcore that’s been pummelling the metal music industry then get this album. Of more, you should always support local artists.