Intronaut: Habitual Levitations (Instilling Words with Tones) Reviewed

I was a skeptical newcomer to Intronaut when I got this album. For some strange reason I kept thinking all the hype was from the fact that they were touring with some big names. While hunting around for what I should get next, I kept coming across these guys, so I took the plunge. I’ll just say it upfront. This is a really freakin’ awesome album.

Hopefully this won’t scare people off, but there are lots of places where I get a Tool vibe. Not a lot, but more in the sense that there are parts that sound more like art rock than metal. The opening is one of those places. We get this ostinato built off of seconds which is something Tool would do. But then part way through we break free of the pattern and get these huge luscious chords with stacked vocals. I’d liken lots of this to some of the great jazz fusion out there like Cynic or Exivious. The fretless bass lines really give this first track a great climactic ending when all the ostinato and jazziness come together.

Track two also starts with an ostinato, but this time it has a bizarrely irregular feel and is built off of a noisy guitar sound. The idea sounds more like it is from Dillinger Escape Plan or something. Overall the song has a much deeper, darker, metal feel to it. In comparison with the first song, it seems totally amazing that this could even be the same band. The feels are so completely different. Again, one of the main ideas of the song is to break it into two very different sounding ideas and then mesh the ideas together to build to a great climax. This time the climax sounds very post-hardcore with some great technical playing.

Just off of these first two songs I could already tell you that these guys are great at composing their music. They know how to vary the styles. They know how to build ideas that can then be superimposed on each other. They understand how to transition and develop ideas. The main transition in the second track lasts quite awhile. It is a very classical skill to do this rather than just have a one or two note pivot transition. They have a great sense of how to build using dynamics and harmonic motion. Overall, this is just fantastic stuff.

Track three starts and we get another shock. Another completely different sound. If someone played me the opening to this track, I probably would have guessed it was Meshuggah. It has that vibe with the really edgy, dark, bass heavy sound and interesting tonality of the line with weird time signature stuff going on. As usual, it makes another transition to something different. This time we get the starkest transition of the album so far. It turns into almost a rock ballad.

We could keep going, but I think you get the idea. This is just plain one heck of a good album. Besides the fact that they really know what they are doing and are great musicians who can play in a huge number of styles, the album is thoroughly entertaining ignoring all the things above. At times it’s fun. At times it really rocks out. It is through-and-through exciting from start to finish. I should reiterate, this is mostly for fans of bands like Cynic. If you’re looking for super brutal or overly technical or tear-your-face-off screaming, then you need to look elsewhere. Overall I give this a 9/10.

Here’s a sample:

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