Imagine, for a second, the mind and thought process of a mosquito. Darting constantly back and forth with little–if any–need for transitions all the while, retaining razor sharp focus. Scottish shredders, Sectioned, and their latest EP Monotonne have much in common with this petulant insect’s thought process: enormously technical and talented instrumentation which changes tempos at the drop of a hat, while walking a fine line between overbearing and overdone.
Guitars as sharp as tacks rip and blaze over punchy, quick drums which seem to change time signature whenever they feel. Underneath at all, the bass rumbles along, keeping a heavy, deep end allowing the album to stay anchored. At one moment, they’re functioning in near melodic harmony, and then, a millisecond later, they may be sporadically ripping in opposite directions, with the bass popping and slapping, the drums blasting, and the guitar muddily chugging. Instrumentally, Monotonne is far from standard. Combining Ion Dissonance’s penchant for panic chords and scales while adding quick, jazzy interludes akin to The Plasmarifle or War from a Harlot’s Mouth, Sectioned are able to use all these elements in stride to create a truly unique sound.
Mathcore, when done poorly, is often tanked by one of two elements. The first of which seems to come down to the vocals. Many times, the vocals are either too high to keep the album “together”–or solid, or too low to accompany the shredding shrieks of the guitars. Occasionally, it’s just impossible for the vocal to even manage keeping up with the instrumentation, resulting in either a half-assed attempt or a stagnant, boring product. None of these elements are true with Sectioned’s Monotonne, however. When the instruments are playing at their “standard” pace (whatever that may be), the vocals–a meaty, full-bodied, raspy yell–are able to roll with the punches and keep pace perfectly. However, when the instruments get fast–i mean faster–the vocals drop out, tastefully, and let the instrumentation take full effect, often times adding to the band’s dynamic disposition.
When the guitars aren’t ripping along or toggling to and from jazzy fills, they include a nice, needed melodic refuge. This plays towards the second frequent pitfall of mathcore–another element which Sectioned’s Monotonne dodges expertly. What with all the quick playing, grating harmonics, it’s easy for a song, album, or band to sound overbearing. The short time of the EP, while in one light is extraordinarily frustrating, in another light turns out to be a saving grace. While Monotonne is fun, heavy, groovy and technical, it’s also very dense. Were it much longer, there’s a solid chance that the listener would simply be dissuaded from immersing themselves in the misanthropic chaos the band so brilliantly crafts. “Rot” showcases this handily, transitioning from the EP’s smoothest segment to the EP’s most crushing breakdown without sounding strained or forced.
Spastic, intense, technical, brutal, melodic and blistering are all valid ways to explain Sectioned’s EP, Monotonne. In fact, just about any term but “monotonous” is more fitting, while, even if it is a dense release, it stands out amongst the plethora of nameless, faceless bands feigning talent and technicality.
By: Connor Welsh/Eccentricism