Progressive metal can be an odd animal, one hard to describe. It can take upon itself a multitude of different and various conventions and forms. Curiously enough, however, Sweden's Structural Disorder may have given the genre it's best definition by their band name. They arrive with their second album, Distance, now signed to Lion Music.
To be truthful, at the start of this album, I was nearly put off by Structural Disorder. Desert Rain begins as a pleasant number with polyrhythms that have a Middle Eastern feel. But then, past the midpoint, there's these ugly death vocals. I'm thinking, "Seriously? Is this how this album is going to go?" Well no. If recollection serves, that is the only appearance of dirty vocals, and it basically ruins an otherwise nice tune.
The rest of Distance is a swirl of melodic progressive metal which takes various forms. For instance, Someone to Save moves upon some significant keyboards over bass. The Herculean Tree is fast paced with rich riffs and blistering percussion, only to drop the tempo in certain segues. But then, again, there's those keyboards, somewhere between lively and quirky. In the longest number, piano and subtle guitar lead the song into heaviness. Which, in turn, after the midpoint, takes the band to instrumental portion reminding of of a fusion of avant garde jazz and metal. Strutural Disorder has no problem playing with time signatures and tempos in an intriguing manner. One of the best features of Strutural Disorder is their vocal arrangements. Within Silence, a lighter number driven by light piano and guitar, the vocals are large, full, and harmonious.
To suggest what Structural Disorder might sound like, I'd say some mash up of Rush, Dream Theater, and Riverside. Yeah. That sounds weird. I think the only thing that Structural Disorder doesn't have is accessibility. As creative and technical they can be, there's not a whole lot for your audio perception to hang it's hat on. In other words, there's nothing innately "catchy" about their songs. Conversely, when's the last time you've heard that term used to describe progressive metal?"
Structural Disorder's Distance is melodic progressive metal, with enough technicality and masterful musicianship to please those who love the genre.
In the early Eighties, one of the first American metal bands that caught my interest was New York's Riot, founded by guitarist Mark Reale (1955-2012). Albums like Narita and Fire Down Under were classics of ... [ Read More ]