Intronaut
Habitual Levitations


3.3
great

Review

by Jacob R. STAFF
March 23rd, 2013 | 104 replies | 18,023 views


Release Date: 03/19/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: One major stepping stone, to say the least.

The most frustrating thing about great music is that it just takes one odd ingredient for the experience to go awry. Take Grimes’ latest release-- the album was retro but modern in nature, and was very musically exciting, but Claire Boucher’s voice just didn’t do it for me. And because of that one element of Grimes’ music, it was damned near impossible to truly appreciate the album as a whole. I find myself in a similar situation with post-metal group Intronaut’s newest album Habitual Levitations, as much as it pains me. The instrumentation at hand is stellarly crafted, the riffs are infectious and most of the album as a whole is certainly on par with the band’s discography. Yet Intronaut’s most blatant change-- foregoing harsh vocals, and only utilizing singing-- is a decision that severely dampens the group’s fourth studio outing.

The issue isn’t with Sacha Dunable and David Timnick's voices, but rather how they're used. The singers have gruff voices that are reminiscent of 90s grunge, and the grittiness works wonders for the band’s sound when utilized sparsely. After all, this is why singing worked so well in Valley of Smoke. When this formula is foregone, though, discomfort ensues. Come “Steps,” an atmospherically dense track, the singing enters the picture rambunctiously and kills the momentum. The problem is simply that the vocals don’t mesh well with the sludge-cum-progressive feel at hand. The band’s harsh vocals are sorely missed here, not only for their ferocity but because of their apt placement. Closer “The Way Down” features the only scream, and it’s one that’s tucked neatly behind a sung note. It’s a shame, because the chaotic moment calls for vocal chaos. Not-so-petty grievances aside, though, Habitual Levitations offers more thoughts than that of misplaced frontmen.

The album wants to be an accessible one-- this much is evident from the newfound use for vocals-- but it works best when defying this idea, diving headlong into the band's strong suit of instrumental exploration. When Intronaut mean business on Habitual Levitations, they mean business: the band’s progressive leanings throughout the release are the most natural sense of adventure the group possesses. Throughout the album's progressive passages, it isn't difficult to imagine Intronaut specializing in its own brand of spacey, jazz-fueled progressive rock, leaving behind the inconsistent sludge elements for something more organic. Listen to the second half of lead single “Milk Leg”; the finesse the band carries on its sleeve is evident enough, from the instrumental prowess at hand to the keen devotion to poignant songwriting. And as the bass crawls from one fret to the next, steadily increasing in emotion, the drums enter a comfortable crawlspace of volume, leaving ample room for the other instruments to breathe. It’s because of this sense of dynamics that Intronaut’s third release speaks volumes, because the emphasis shifts from one musician to the other, balancing opposing elements expertly.

If Intronaut’s upcoming touring with instrumental progressive pioneers Scale the Summit says anything, it’s that maybe the band is heading towards a more chiefly progressive domain. Confidently branded tracks like “Harmoninomicon” lead me to hope this is the case, but at this point it seems pointless to predict the band’s future. Intronaut has such a massive following precisely because it’s about impossible to pigeonhole, and this isn’t changing anytime soon. For better or worse, Intronaut is exploring its possibilities with singing at its disposal: at the least, it’s safe to say Habitual Levitations is one major stepping stone for the group.



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user ratings (234)
Chart.
3.8
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other reviews of this album
Alex Newton (4.5)
Fearless as ever, Intronaut put forth their most accessible effort yet without sacrificing their tra...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Omaha
Staff Reviewer
March 23rd 2013



10069 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3 | Sound Off

"Milk Leg" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RJEW2PHyspE
"The Welding" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZR7Oyipnuk

That's right, I made a Grimes comparison to a post-metal group! Sue me!

Digging: The Contortionist - Language

Cygnatti
March 23rd 2013



21350 Comments


nice score omaha! JT > this agreed!

kitsch
March 23rd 2013



5107 Comments


i absolutely loved prehistoricisms, but when they stopped the harsh vocals i couldnt take it. i hate the tough guy grungy clean singing, makes me think of radioplay rock. valley of smoke was ruined by this for me so i guess i'll just stick with their first album. its a shame cause prehistoricisms is one of the few metal albums i legit enjoy

climactic
March 23rd 2013



18714 Comments


nice review, agree about the singing, but its more like a 3.5 or 3.6 for me. love dem clean instrumental parts

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
March 23rd 2013



10069 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3 | Sound Off

JT is really growing off me Chipmunk, so we'll have to see...

Yeah Kitsch, there are definitely radioplay rock comparisons to be made. There are at least some tracks here, though, that use the vocals well. "Eventual" is one that comes to mind for me, so you should at least check that one out. =]

Thanks buddy! Yeah, the stretch between Milk Leg and Harminomonicon (or whatever the hell its called) is pure gold.

Yazz_Flute
March 23rd 2013



18770 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I like this more than Valley of Smoke personally; The Welding, Sore Sight For Eyes, and Eventual are excellent tracks. Prehistoricisms is still my favorite, though.

Digging: Eskaton - 4 Visions

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
March 23rd 2013



10069 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3 | Sound Off

Maybe I should check out Prehistoricisms...

Yazz_Flute
March 23rd 2013



18770 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Prehistoricisms utilizes harsh vocals much more than clean vocals, as opposed to this one and Valley of Smoke. Their debut is also pretty good.

SputnikSweetheart
March 23rd 2013



187 Comments


Really nice review but I'm pretty sure this is their fourth album not third, just saying.


Insurrection
Contributing Reviewer
March 23rd 2013



20793 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Agreed completely though this is more of a high 3.5 for me. Great review

Digging: Interpol - El Pintor

laddermaster
March 23rd 2013



25 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

The album is enjoyable but I do agree the clean
singing alone is disappointing to say the
least. I prefer valley of smoke and it's
combination of harsh/clean singing.
And what are they attempting with "sore sight
for the eye" and "blood from a stone"? Is it
some kind of dream metal? What a bore really..
Too many worn out riffs and lazy episodes make
this album a huge disappointment with a few
touches of genius.

wacknizzle
March 23rd 2013



12984 Comments


Yeah I wish there were actual harsh vocals like on Prehistoricisms and their earlier albums. This album has some great riffs though.

Digging: Amenra - Mass V

Yazz_Flute
March 23rd 2013



18770 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I had to let this grow on me but it's a pretty solid 4 right now.

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
March 23rd 2013



10069 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3 | Sound Off

Thanks, will correct

mindleviticus
March 23rd 2013



8220 Comments


Good review

I haven't listened to a single Intronaut album although I hear about them constantly

Insurrection
Contributing Reviewer
March 23rd 2013



20793 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This was my first intronaut album. Probably not the best place to start now that I think about it

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
March 23rd 2013



23806 Comments


that one song you linked on my wall was enough for me. nice review though!

conesmoke
March 23rd 2013



5198 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

album is fantastic. it's challenging, but rewarding.

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
March 23rd 2013



4412 Comments


Damn, I haven't heard this. Need to get on it. Sweet review, Jacob.

Digging: Shabazz Palaces - Lese Majesty

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
March 24th 2013



10069 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3 | Sound Off

Thanks guys! It's definitely a very interesting album, and pretty easy to write about once my opinion was solid. For those of you wanting to check out Intronaut, I'd go with one of their earlier albums. This seems to be a big deviation from the band's sound.



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