Classic Review: Structures – All Of The Above

All of the Above, the debut EP from Toronto-based tech-metal outfit Structures, comes to us as an independently released composition. However, a brief listen to this ambitious disc will eliminate any doubt as to whether or not the band’s next album will be released with the support of a record label. All of the Above is not only an innovative, highly engaging exercise in technical refinery, it is one of the most outstanding metal releases of the past five years – unsigned or otherwise.

By now, everyone has figured out that the heavy music scene is over-saturated with bland, unoriginal knockoffs of whatever sound happens to be popular at the moment. Structures stand out from the monotony for several reasons. First, the band’s skill level, on a purely technical level, is nothing short of breathtaking. The EP’s penultimate track, the punishing “In Pursuit Of”, showcases the group’s uncanny ability to alter time signatures several times within a single verse, while maintaining a level of aggression and ferocity that is rarely found within this sub-genre. Both of the band’s guitarists display a great deal of talent throughout the EP’s five tracks. Even the most seasoned of metal listeners will be thrilled by the record’s highly involved, highly imaginative guitar work. Within the course of fifteen seconds, the guitar lines transition from punishingly heavy and dissonant, to melodic and gentle. It is this dynamic that keeps All of the Above enthralling for the entirety of its twenty minutes.

In addition to expert instrumentation, the EP is no slouch in the vocal department. The screamed vocals sound monstrous, and are complimented excellently by touches of clean singing courtesy of bassist Spencer MacLean. As far as pure technical prowess goes, the screamed vocals are probably the only area in which Structures could use some improvement. Frontman Nick Xourafas’ roars are strong and convincing, but seeing as every other facet of the band’s sound is incredibly dynamic, his vocals begin to sound somewhat stale by the end of the disc. More variety in the screamed vocals would add punctuation to the band’s heavier moments, and make the compositions more memorable.

It must be mentioned that the phenomenal piece of work that is All of the Above would not have been possible without producer Jordan Valeriote (Silverstein, Dead and Divine) manning the control board. His expert precision in recording arts is ultimately what kept this highly experimental group of musicians from sounding like a cluttered mess. Thanks to the talents of everyone involved in the production process, All of the Above will surely garner Structures a large fan base, and raise the proverbial bar for heavy musicians everywhere.

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