Intervals
A Voice Within


4.5
superb

Review

by Daniel Davis USER (32 Reviews)
March 4th, 2014 | 121 replies | 17,158 views


Release Date: 03/04/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Intervals add vocals to their successful melodic metal formula, and still manage to retain the personality of their previous releases.

18 of 19 thought this review was well written

Intervals was known in the progressive metal world for being one of those rare instrumental bands that wasn't purely focused on technical ability - rather, just catchy riffs and soulful leads by lead guitarist Aaron Marshall designed to replace the role of a vocalist. The band had always been open to taking on a singer, but simply never felt the need to add one. However, there is a certain plateau that can be reached with instrumental music in terms of popularity, and it's unlikely that its appeal will stretch beyond a niche market (bands like Animals As Leaders prove that this is possible, but they are the exception and not the rule). Therefore, when Mike Semesky, former vocalist of Vestascension and The HAARP Machine, joined on bass toward the end of last year, suspicions arose that he would also become the bands' vocalist and help them establish themselves as a more popular band by breaking free of the boundaries imposed on bands playing exclusively instrumental music. These suspicions were confirmed alongside the band's announcement of their fittingly titled debut album, A Voice Within. Hang up any worries about the transformation of the band, because AVW is a smart, catchy album that fuses the guitar focused style of their previous EPs with neatly integrated vocals, with some surprises thrown in along the way.

The first track, "Ephemeral", is written expressly with vocals in mind, with the trademark melodic guitar leads reserved to the solo and the opening/closing of the track, leaving the huge hook to the man with the mic. It immediately establishes the prominence of the vocals on the album; where some of the other tracks are dense with guitar work and relegate the vocals to a less important role, this one carries the whole of its melody on Semesky's talented pipes. Those worried about the preservation of the unique riff style the band had will be put at ease by tracks like "Automaton" and "Siren Sound", which are laden with expertly layered guitar melodies and frantic noodling respectively. Heaviness takes a back seat in favor of the more melodic side of the band; you're just as likely to get a guitar riff stuck in your head as you are a vocal part. "Moment Marauder" is the most surprising track, featuring more deliberate pacing and more emphasis on jazzy bass and vocals. It's the only track of its kind here, but it shows a side of the band more welcome to experiment with elements that aren't exclusively guitar driven. Purists will be relieved that none of the band's original instrumental work is reworked with vocals on the album; all the material here is brand new.

Mike Semesky is a great choice for a vocalist, and chooses to use exclusively singing for the band. It's unclear whether this choice was made to support the group's push toward an even more melodic sound, or was the force behind it. Regardless, this was a good decision, as his clean vocals are much better than his screaming with past bands. His lyrics fit the music well but are largely uninteresting, aside from a clever throwback to the titles of the band's previous EPs in the chorus of the title track. At best, his vocals bring out the beauty of the melodies in the track; at worst, they simply blend into the background and let the more interesting guitarwork take over. The mix reflects this, placing slightly more emphasis on the guitars. It's a shame not to see more tracks like "Ephemeral" that take advantage of Mike's powerful vocals, but then again, it's great that the guitar melodies don't have to suffer because of the new guy. Because of this interplay between vocals and guitars, A Voice Within is a very dense album, and it will require multiple listens to most of the tracks before you figure out completely what's going on and the melodies click.

With A Voice Within, Intervals prove they not only work as a band with vocals, but can use them to improve their sound and become a tighter entity. They haven't quite figured out the best way to use them yet, and it's hard not to miss the more frantic nature of the band's music back when they didn't have to worry about how vocals would fit in, but AVW is a mature first step into a larger world, and a satisfying debut LP from one of the most promising bands of their genre.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
paradox1216
March 4th 2014



445 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Full album stream here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZcVZ3OL4YE4&list=PLuj-WzKNCr7-dlJ3aczGvuvkfQz3odPK7

I've had this for a while now and I manage to be more impressed every time I listen. I was underwhelmed at first but it really grew. I wrote this a while back, so hopefully the review holds up still ^_^

Digging: He Is Legend - Heavy Fruit

SitarHero
March 4th 2014



4645 Comments


Good review. Pos. I guess I know what I'm listening to today.

demon of surveillance
March 4th 2014



814 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Not giving it 100% attention but listening to it right now, it sounds pretty good except for the fact the songs are mostly vocals-based. Semesky is a great vocalist too, he doesn't have as much skill or range but the timbre of his voice reminds me of Greg Puciato a bit.

Digging: Master's Hammer - Ritual

NonApplicable
March 4th 2014



1945 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

He is actually an incredibly talented vocalist. I've enjoyed his uploads on Youtube where he executes pop music extremely well. He also did a LOT of harsh vocals on The Haarp Machine but he unfortunately doesn't employ any here.

Digging: Wovenwar - Wovenwar

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
March 4th 2014



6986 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Just got this, quite solid. Not quite sure on a rating yet but soon-ish.

SitarHero
March 4th 2014



4645 Comments


I don't know about the vocals on this record. It doesn't often add enough to the music.

SticksmanTheBored
March 4th 2014



206 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

A friend of mine told me to give this a spin because "it fucking rules" and it's like "the best album
of 2010-post".
Just finished listening to the opener, was kinda dull but that chorus hook is cool.

This will prob end up on a 3-3.5 for me.

SticksmanTheBored
March 4th 2014



206 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Damn, second track does have this interesting sort of "jam session" with a fucking groovy bass line at the end.

T5Cx
March 4th 2014



64 Comments


I wish they had taken more of an *Ancients/*shels approach with the vocals; using them to help the music along rather than being a focal point.

SticksmanTheBored
March 4th 2014



206 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Yeah, this sounds too metalcore-ish to me on some points, but it does have it's strengths, like the grooves in some songs, they're pretty great, especially on second track. I'll give this a 3 for now, let's see if it grows on or off me.

MO
March 4th 2014



18412 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

lol I opened for this fucking band. we were very out of place at that show.

not digging the vocals on this ugh

Digging: Immolation - Dawn of Possession

pepster50
March 4th 2014



328 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

This album is great !

Kalopsia
March 4th 2014



929 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

kudos to the band for making a huge switch like this, they obviously knew it would make a lot of fans nervous and/or angry. i really think they pulled it off though.

and hey, it's their first album with vocals. from here on out i can imagine they'll balance their two eras out more smoothly on future albums.


very solid album, i dig it

SticksmanTheBored
March 4th 2014



206 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I have to share my agreement with MO. The vocals are overproduced and sound a little whiny. And having in mind that a Progressive Metal record should be guided by the instrumental section, every song's composition is meant for the vocals here. This vocalist just doesn't have the potential to carry an entire record. That's what lowered my opinion in some great band's albums, like The Ocean's output last year, Pelagial.

Progger6009
March 4th 2014



1081 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great record, Great Review! I can dig the vocals, usually they make this music seem very acsessible and that is appealing to me. Have a pos'

Digging: Darkest Hour - Darkest Hour

pepster50
March 4th 2014



328 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I don't really think song are structures around vocals really at all. Except for the "Ephemeral" which is just too catchy to deny. Every band member shines in this album.

SticksmanTheBored
March 4th 2014



206 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

pepster, man, The Self Surrendered does revolve around the vocals a lot, as does basically the entire album. Atlas Hour, one of my favorites from this, is an exception, the song breaks free from the vocals on it's second half, it's great to hear that. And that Moment Marauder bass on the final part of the song is bliss. Well, guess I'm bumping this to a 3.5, but still, it had potential to be better and these guys show more promise than this album does.

climactic
March 4th 2014



18575 Comments


probably a hard 2.8

paradox1216
March 4th 2014



445 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

The Self Surrendered (my favorite track on this, which I probably should have mentioned ) is the track I feel like does the mix the best, between a vocal focus and a guitar focus.

@STB you're right that Mike has a limited range, but I feel like that lets the rest of the band pick up his slack and makes him more of an equal as opposed to the focus. I don't really feel like they make him carry the whole album like you suggest. Same thing with The Ocean's album - Luic to me feels like just another instrument and not the focus, as it should be. I also don't really think they're overproduced - any sort of imperfection in the vocal performance would throw off the technical vibe they're going for

However, that part you're talking about in Atlas Hour was originally supposed to carry a song all its own - Aaron had posted demos of a heavier version of it. I think it works great in the context they have it in, but my one regret about this album is that I didn't get to hear that heavier side of the band here

climactic
March 4th 2014



18575 Comments


oh man i cant stand this : ( sucks because i really dig their 2 EPs and they are really talented....

theres absolutely nothing separating these guys from the wave of melodic djenty modern prog-type stuff now. vocals are
not nearly interesting or good enough to be featured as much as they are imo.

would have greatly preferred dominant harsh vox, more sparse cleans, or an atmospheric approach to the cleans a la
tesseract or uneven structure



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