Review: “7 Deadly Sins” by The Alpha Structure

Forming back in 2016, guitarist Ryan Christian and vocalist Terrence “The Tyrant Breakdown Boy” Dean started The Alpha Structure in Roseburg Oregon wanting to create eerie ambiance, crushing breakdowns and emotional rhythms against the backdrop of a soundscape influenced by Deathcore, Beatdown and DJent flavors of Metal. They were joined by drummer Colton,  bassist Colin Dean and guitarist Nathan Gifford in 2017 and together the quintet created a four track demo before hitting the road and sharpening their skills in the live arena. After two years of playing shows in Northern California and Oregon and reworking their set list they inked a deal with Music-Records France for their debut album “7 Deadly Sins”.

Mixed and Mastered by the bands own guitarist Nathan Gifford at Obsidian Audio Productions means that the band have the mix that they want on the album from the start of the DJent battering ram that is “Empty Vessel“, it’s clear he has the skills to carry it off. The track is a 97 second introduction to what The Alpha Structure are about with a ripper of a single verse and some warped atmospherics underneath those hammer heavy riffs. Title track “7 Deadly Sins” has some Emmure influence, not just in the guitar work which has that Joshua Travis styling to it but also in the rap screamed vocal that utilizes pitch to perfection. If you ever wonder whether a Deathcore band can do eerie atmospherics then the long, drawn out downtempo passage that makes up 90 seconds of the middle of this track is like the bad acid trip hallucination of your nightmares. A single that has been around for a year prior to the album release, “The Red” has a choral angelic harmony backing in the opening verse as if the band are playing in Church while Vampires tear chunks out of the congregation. As with the previous track there are three distinct movements within the one 200 second track as if a trio of tracks have been sandwiched together with seamless flow between them. The mid track slow down is again a dark affair while the riffs in the final section are the band at their absolute cut throat best.

Going straight for the jugular with “Shell“, a shorter cut with plenty of Deathcore groove and DJent bounce, it dispenses with the formula of the mid track slowdown and instead rages through piling up the breakdowns with a couple of brilliant odd time signature moments. “This Is Endless” is another one that has been around for a little while prior to the album but this version has some of the fat trimmed from the bone. Dean’s vocals are caustic but what he does well is use different voices to suit the different parts, some bark, some rap scream, some higher pitched Death Metal moments and those styles change up between phrasings of the tracks. “Memories Left Unturned” is a fine example of that with some clever use of vocal layering – the shriller tones backed by the heavier growls to give the impression of dual vocalists. Another battering ram of relentless rhythms and partially introspective stories that are easily relatable, it’s a fine piece of mid album blood and thunder. “Grudges” picks up where that left off with more 8 string pummeling and plenty of double kick footwork, its momentary pause false ending executed perfectly before “Breathe” demonstrates how to do the downtempo to groove over a 78 second instrumental that could have introduced the album but instead sets up the final trio of tracks and in that way avoids feeling like an afterthought.

Final pre-release single “In Circles” has the bludgeoning effect of DJent down to a fine art before an ambient programmed passage that sounds like it’s been ripped from “There Is a Hell Believe Me I’ve Seen It. There Is a Heaven Let’s Keep It a Secret” by Bring Me The Horizon. Not that it’s a bad thing, it just takes some getting used to as it’s not in keeping with the album as a whole. As with the earlier tracks that ambient passage makes way for a final verse of pure venom spitting fury before “XIII” sees Dean producing some of the vocal sounds you might hear from CJ McCreery before he ruined his life. The vocals on this one are an assault on the ear drums in the finest possible way and when the staccato riffs move into a burst of sinister Death Metal before bursting back into DJent, it’s an absolute must headbang moment. “Return To Earth” has some of the vibe of “MDMA” by Emmure to it with a melancholic melody underneath the heavier riffs and thoughtfully retrospective vocals, closing the album on an unexpected note of contrasting sound waves. There is fine balance between the melodic aspect and the heavy one with the vocals standing up as the heaviest and most emotive part of it all. Overall an impressive debut that should see them making a lot of friends real soon [8/10]

Track listing

  1. Empty Vessel
  2. 7 Deadly Sins
  3. The Red
  4. Shell
  5. This Is Endless
  6. Memories Left Unturned
  7. Grudges
  8. Breathe
  9. In Circles
  10. XIII
  11. Return To Earth

7 Deadly Sins” by The Alpha Structure is out 18th June via Music-Records

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