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Structural – Decrowned

Structural – Decrowned

Structural - Decrowned

Ahh yes, the chonky nerdery of progressive death metal made its way into my life once more! Love it when that happens! In case you have not heard of Structural before, they’re from Israel, and they love beefy riffs. Which is why this bubbly fellow writing these words for you today, is very, very happy. My range of music taste varies, and especially in the realms of progressive and technical music, I love to find the most proficient, exquisite and creative artists out there, always waiting to see who will push what boundary next, and what odd sub-genre combination that no one thought of will come out of the blue and blow all our minds. But in the quest for ever more diverse and unexpected approaches to odd-timed sonic creations, one can certainly get lost in the maze and forget their roots… METAL! Thankfully, chonky fellas like the boys (and gal) in Structural are here to make us lose our egos in a storm of banging heads. And hearing the kind of riffs they put together, I’ll certainly be among the first to jump on the hype train.

There have already been 2 mentions of RIFFS in the introductory paragraph, which is why I’ll start my dive into Structural’s second release, “Decrowned” by talking about the juiciest, gnarliest, and most satisfying component of their sound. You guessed it: It’s the RIFFS! When trying to think what band these guys were reminding me of, the first thought was Kataklysm. The riffs here have that raw, groovy, and aggressive approach to writing, with a technical component but also just a lot of chugging and headbanging. The difference is that their writing tends to be… a bit more structural. The riffs are very sharp on the attack, heavy, rhythmic and snappy and they flat out take no prisoners. Alternations of swift runs, down picking, and galloping makes the riff-fest on this album absolutely to die for, and that alone was already enough to sell me on the album. They also have the progressive component well-adjusted to this style, so that they may go off rhythmically every now and then, but that is still contained within the very precise and straightforward groove of the song. Joining the riffage, we have a seriously gnarly bass performance which takes a somewhat standard approach, providing the low rumble and thickening the riff sound, rather than going on its own tangents as many prog nerds tend to love it. However, Structural does not discriminate against tech-nerds, which is why despite that general approach, we do see the bass taking a turn for the melodic and attention-seeking patterns in the song ‘Utopia’. The drums are also monstrous, once again, heavily focusing on the groove and headbang-effect. In some ways you could label Structural as technical death metal, but I’d hesitate slightly on that label because despite the undeniable technical skill of the performance, the main focus always seems to be on the groove and energy, rather than speed. And the drums spotlight that aspect the most! They are very well-paced, infectious, and badass. The grooves are often enriched by technicalities such as kick or snare strums and varying pacing over the same tempo. Full-on technical blast beat heavy parts are reserved for specific moments in ‘Rebirth’ and ‘Utopia,’ but outside of those moments, they are used as a filler rather than a main course. They also have a knack for breakdown effects. These aren’t hyper-spotlighted as in a deathcore band that would announce it for a minute, but rather they drop straight into it without altering the song and then flow right out of it. A somewhat djenty effect takes hold when this happens as well (‘Utopia’, ‘Rebirth’).

Structural – Your Damnation

So that’s a lot of heaviness, a lot of energy, and a lot of aggression. All essential qualities for a proper death metal record. But that can get repetitive if not done right. And if your patterns are so well structured and articulated as they are with this band, that can tend to be even more limiting! How did they solve this problem? Melodies and solos by the truckgallon! It’s extraordinary how the solo in each song condenses shredding, tapping, fast technical parts, and epic melodies in a short time and can still be so seamlessly integrated into the overall song structure. But what is even more extraordinary is that the solo sections are probably only half of the overall lead guitar witchcraft happening on the album. Brief licks and epic melodies are scattered throughout the songs to bridge certain sections, enhance the epicness effect or just to give a sweet taste of what’s to come right off the bat (the first song introduces leads even before the vocals take off). As a result, despite the chonky, head-bangable structures, the album gets a pretty strong melo-death effect going on, almost in an Amon Amarth kind of tone. Only it’s much faster and more technical!

And because I’ve mentioned Amon Amarth, this is probably the right time to throw an ear at vocalist Nadav Zaidman and realize we’re being greeted with a Mediterranean, more spiteful incarnation of Johan Hegg! The vocal delivery consists of mid-range, grumbly low growls with a slightly melodic component as you hear in Amon,although seeming less theatrical and angrier! The high screams are also there with good measure, but aren’t pushed too far or overdone, balancing the vocal parts just enough to not get stale. We also have brief moments of slightly cleaner vocals (‘And the Earth Has Rested’, ‘Turbulence’) and a few atmospheric parts where he adopts a menacing spoken word tone (see the bridge in ‘Your Damnation’).

Structural – My Grass is Greener

Did I say atmospheric? Well, I’ll be damned if they didn’t manage to squeeze that into the music as well. Don’t get me wrong, the core of this album is energy and brutality, but they can give a bridge section or an intro to a song every now and then. For a moment slows things down and allows you to feast on some creepy vibes while your neck recovers from the groove-induced injury. I must especially point out the vampiric orchestral intro to ‘Rebirth’ as well as the album opener, ‘Balance’ and the use of clean guitars in ‘Purge of Sanity’. Sprinkles of details like this add a ton of character to the record and help differentiate the songs, throwing a bit of a different twist to each song, enough to keep the album diversified.

The lyrical content is as raw and ‘in-your-face’ as the riff writing. From confrontational lyrics on mass-propaganda and division, WW2 stories and global issues, to abusive relationships and criticisms of greed, envy or self-righteousness, they surely don’t stray away from the difficult topics. While the lyrics aren’t exactly spoon-feeding, a lot of them don’t feel exactly unbiased either, showing that they’re not afraid to dip their toes into some of these topics and make their thoughts on them known. If there’s an appropriate attitude to take such stances, it has to be the barrage of drums, riffage, and growls that this band puts together. And I certainly admire them for it!

Structural – And The Earth Has Rested

Structural’s sophomore effort wastes no time and takes no prisoners. It is a relentless display of punchy and creative death metal with just enough variety to turn their craft into a maelstrom of sophisticated badassery! A structured one too! You do not want to miss out on this one!

Track List:

  1. Balance (00:55)
  2. Your Damnation (04:21)
  3. My Grass is Greener (04:36)
  4. And the Earth Has Rested (04:15)
  5. Utopia (04:19)
  6. White Lily (04:21)
  7. Purge of Sanity (05:06)
  8. Ascetic (03:56)
  9. Turbulence (04:37)
  10. Rebirth (04:44)
  11. Puppeteer (04:34)

About the Author

Andrei Dan

Born and raised in Romania, currently living and studying in the Netherlands, Andrei was introduced to both classic and modern prog at once when he discovered Symphony X and Intervals in 2015. He has quickly grown fond of all the sub-categories of metal but keeps a focus on progressive or innovative music. Most of his free time is spent keeping track of new artists or releases and visiting concerts.

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