Review Summary: Disgustingly unique post-metal from a band that's obviously creating a new sound that will blow you away. An album that should be heralded by critics and fans alike.
A volcano erupts over a crater covered, blackened surface, the scene fades to black...A primitive form of life arises from the ocean, fish begin to swim, the scene fades to black A dinosaur stomps over a lush landscape, pursuing its prey, the scene fades A tribe of cavemen stalk the savannah of a plain, ready to kill at a second's notice, A creature lurks in the brush waiting to consume them... the scene fades
The above statements, although possibly having nothing to do with Intronaut's Prehistoricisms at all, is the atmospheric effect conveyed by the album, Intronaut's 3rd. A post-metal band from LA, Intronaut plays a brand of post-metal not so epic as the work of Rosetta or Mouth of the Architect, but a uniquely grim blend of slow, deliberate sludge-metal elements, the brutal savagery of death-metal, and basslines and breakdowns with jazz origins. This reviewer,a rookie to the band's material was blown away at the very chaos and simultaneous beauty conveyed by Prehistoricisms. The effect was nothing short of breathtaking.
The recurring theme in the album name, art and track titles all seem to be based on the formation of life on Earth was we know it, starting with the origins of life from chemical reaction in the oceans, to the reign and extinction of dinosaurs, to the evolution of humanoids. The scientific elements, nerdy at worst, actually provide an excellent reason for the general sound of the album which comes across as varied, unpredictable, all over the place, and of course, epic. It is almost impossible to describe the feel of the work, the sort of insane, arbitrary, nature of the songs, their sudden transformations from stampeding death metal, to jazzy bass breakdowns create an exciting, fearful atmosphere. Close your eyes and you'll drift away.
Instrumentally, bassist Joe Lester (yes the bassist) turns out to be the dominant musician on the CD. Sludge or death sections almost always give way to a spacey clean section, filled with cymbal distortion and creative basslines, some that roll on for minutes. These baselines are transitions for most of the songs and are really quite amazing. They vary, change with the drums, meld with the guitar, and then emerge generating what sounds like an entirely new song altogether. Drummer Danny Walker is exceptional, changing from typical double bass fare to wondrous progressive rhythms, creating the basic atmosphere the rest of the band builds off of. Guitarists Dave Timnick and Sacha Dunable make use of their instruments to great effect, going from ferocious metal riffs, to wailing harmonies and of course laying down some impressive prog-type effects that do much to add to the overall sensual immersion of the music. Slow, churning, chug-chug rhythms are present, but in minimal doses, as the guitars are dormant rather often. Again, the band does not rely on a single musical fixture to get the job done, but rather, as post-metal artists often do, use the entire band to create an atmospheric experience. The sound is beautiful in its own primal way.
Vocalist Sacha Dunable is the absentee of the band, present rarely, if ever during most tracks. His screaming, a low guttural roar, is comparable to that of Mike Armine of Rosetta, set in the background, a sort of far off voice among the chaotic carnage of the music. His scream is all that is heard, but the deep, visceral effect is used primarily during the metal sections of songs. However, his voice is used perfectly, never becoming tenacious or boring.
Opener Primordial Soup is nothing more than a clean guitar piece, a buildup to the coming explosion of the next track, A Literal Black Cloud. It is, in essence the band's sound in a nutshell. A grimy, slow chugging breakdown serves as the intro and gives way into one of those bass clean sections. Those are the two musical elements used throughout Prehistoricisms, but they are so constantly varied and modified that they never get repetitive. Songs such as Australopithecus and the brutal Cavernous Den of Shame, show a more metal side, but of course, carry hordes of prog elements with them. Closer The Reptilian Brain is the strangest, but most beautiful song on the album. An epic 16 minutes, a vaguely Egyptian drum and bass section hums through the first 5 or so, until conventional rhythms take hold the rest of the way. An epic in every way, the track builds up in a truly post-metal fashion, but then literally cascades its way back down in an avalanche of chaos, leaving you hanging at the conclusion. Divided into 5 separate sections, revolving around the primitive nature of animalistic brains, the sudden variations are technical and obviously scientific in thought. Perhaps, this is a microcosm of the album as a whole, its very nature to leave you confused, pounding you then soothing, blasting you with severe metal, then calming with a clean section.
Bottom Line: Any fans of metal will love this; it is clearly an entirely new form of post-metal, and carries a grimy, epic vibe unlike anything this reviewer has ever listened to.
The Clear Best
A Literal Black Cloud
The Reptilian Brain