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What do you get when you bring members of Uphill Battle, Exhumed, Phobia and Impaled together to form a new band? Total Hot on the heels of their critically acclaimed "Null" CDEP, INTRONAUT returns with a debut full length album so monumental it should be illegal . "Void" contains over 45 minutes of epic beauty and sheer punishment. It will change the way heavy music is made and viewed for years to come. Featuring former members of Uphill Battle, Exhumed, Phobia and Impaled, this band is even better than you could ever imagine they would be.sonic destruction in the form of INTRONAUT's new album "Void". The band returns with over 45 minutes of epic beauty and sheer punishment. "Void" will change the way heavy music is made and viewed for years to come.
"Monolithic Vulgarity" begins with a minute and twenty seconds of eerie, foreboding guitar feedback and soft percussion that follows the same rhythm as a drum roll. This intro is then mowed over by a grumbling, bottom-heavy guitar lead, booming beats, beeping bass, and schizophrenic, almost puking vocals. The track then ends with clean, almost aquatic-sounding acoustic guitars and tribal drums.
Following that is "Gleamer," the album's only track that's devoid of any melodic pleasantries. This is a truly staggering song in that it has great musicianship throughout, and boy, is it heavy! The crushing guitars and lurching tempo combine to create a brutal, scorching interplay with the drummer's forceful, slamming double bass.
"Fault Lines" is awesome, too. The light strumming and wind noises at the beginning disappear when massive abrasive guitar riffs and propulsive bass line (which is still very audible, despite being buried beneath the sound's mix) kick in. Intronaut reign it in a while later, of course, and the energy level dives dramatically, but the song does build and regain momentum (with the help of a bouncy, ascending drum pattern) and ends with a climax.
"Nostalgic Echo" is one of many examples of a perfect, effortless flow from a menacing, low key sound to a rip-roaring one. Its instrumental, strings `n' all verses smoothly segue into huge, chunky guitar-driven choruses. Next, "Teledildonics" offsets frothing intensity (blistering riffs and driving, thumping drums) with a beautiful ambience that evokes the Deftones circa their 2000 album, "White Pony." Similarly, the gloomy "Iceblocks" has both quiet (almost silent), dwindling, prog-ish restraint and a bullying onslaught of brutality.
The set closer, "Rise To The Midden" is one of the instances where including melody seems a bit gratuitous. But this track, especially the bulldozing, Converge-meets-The Acacia Strain opening, is still very enjoyable.
"Void" more than deserves comparisons to the product put out by any great prog/technical-metal band, including Tool, Meshuggah, Meshuggah, Mastodon, Neurosis, Dillinger Escape Plan, Converge, Isis, and Pelican. But just because Intronaut include "progressive" touches and assemble their songs in such an epic, meticulous way does not at all mean that their music is hard to listen to. "Void" will take more than one listen to fully wrap your head around, but it still manages to be much easier to listen to, digest and absorb than one might think. This is one mighty tasty, highly infectious disc that warrants frequent return visits. Good stuff, indeed.
Now, what do you get when you juxtapose the menacing dynamics and atmospherics of bands like The Ocean and Neurosis, the sludgy tones of Mastodon, the angular riffing of Meshuggah, the elegant and organic bass presence of Cynic, the ambient textural collages of Kayo Dot, and overtly intelligent drum work? Well, I suppose you'd get Intronaut's Void.
The point is, hybrid bands don't always work. You can wind up listening to something reasonably profound, or you can be subjected to a bunch of really annoying styles of music superglued together to make for a sadistically irritating, head-scratching nightmare. Void is only moderately profound, and you might look at it as a nightmare if you've got some intense aversion to syncopated rhythm, but otherwise it's a mostly solid album from start to finish.
The opener, "A Monolithic Vulgarity", begins with something that I swear is a direct adaptation of the intro to Kayo Dot's "Marathon". Ambient, ringing guitar chords - check. Subtle drum rolls - check. Pulsating cymbal washes - check. Then, with only several dissonant notes for warning, some oddly placed cymbal crashes interspersed throughout brooding drum rolls break the song into a distorted, sludgy mess. Around half-way through, there's a break that's reminiscent of Mastodon's groovy interludes... and then, closer towards the end, the distortion fades to make way for - yes - an upright acoustic bass. It's strange, but it works. The entire segment is very atmospheric and free-flowing... it almost feels like a solo spot in a big band jazz ensemble. This fades out, and Kayo Dot fades back in to finish off the track.
"Gleamer" is more upbeat and consistently unrelenting. Doesn't stop to take a break, but does lapse into several sections of stoner rock-like guitar hits backed by headache-inducing calculus problems on the drum kit. Ends with washes of unstable feedback evolving on top of expansive drum acrobatics.
The remainder of the album follows suit in one way or another. Void doesn't have a specific formula, per se, but it does maintain a similar mood throughout. Atmospherics, sludgy distortion, contrasting bass tones that really seem out of place at times, dark ambience, and uh... the drumming. One thing about this album that's highly consistent is drummer Danny Walker (ex-Uphill Battle, ex-Exhumed). The guy seems hell-bent on never, ever placing any drum hit where a sane person would think it should be. He is worse than Meshuggah's Tomas Haake. At least with Haake, you could whip out a scientific calculator and extrapolate where a given cymbal crash or snare hit would land in a measure relative to the previous measure. Not here. This isn't nearly as mechanical. It's bad... and yet so good. Even after months of listening to this album and years of listening to all sorts of technical metal, I still get confused when I try to follow the drums here. The guy is damn good, that's for sure. What makes it even better is that there are rarely any obnoxious fills to clutter things up - songs are comprised entirely of strange patterns, displaced beats, busy and unpredictable cymbal work, and syncopation galore.
Anyway, it's good stuff. I hear they're rather awesome live, as well.