Review Summary: With the help of their fast paced energy and ability to iron out common progressive music shortcomings, Intronaut easily overcome their familiar sound here.
At this point in time, it’s quite difficult for an artist to create something that’s both innovative and original. As many bands continue to release music of an already established genre, listeners have no choice but to accept the music for what it is more often than not. If it’s not going to be original, the trouble happens to be making it engaging enough to grip the listener from beginning to end. In Intronaut’s case, their newest progressive metal outing completely nails it, with the help of a little influence from Tool and many others. Even though it’s nothing traditionally new, they nonetheless excite due to their energetic passion, impressive harsh vocals and ability to overcome the genre’s shortcomings. Rest assured that The Direction of Last Things
consistently gets the blood pumping.
As stated before, the band made sure to iron out some common flaws that exist within the progressive scene in general. This includes meandering song lengths and its tendency to favor flash over substance. As far as this album goes, those flaws are kept to a healthy minimum. Of course, flash over substance does pop up every now and then, but the band easily overcomes that aspect with impressive energy and gripping songwriting. With “Fast Worms,” the band shows off everything they’ve got in a refreshingly appropriate running time. The harsh vocals hit hard, the drums ferociously pound away and the brilliant guitar and bass riffs satisfy, all without the song overstaying its welcome. “Digital Gerrymandering” functions in a similar manner, with it showcasing beautiful harmonies among the intensity, adding in an extra amount of substantial emotion. Judging from these two tracks, it’s clear that the band possesses tons of fast paced energy at their disposal, which easily reveals itself to be quite refreshing.
The album's best tracks easily exist in the first half, but the album has its fair share of gems in the second half as well, with “The Unlikely Event of a Water Landing” and “Sul Ponticello” giving the listener a chance to take a breather for a bit. The former offers a more eerie take on their softer side, as gentle yet sinister guitar riffs drive the song. Though it begins like this and features some harsh vocals along the way, throughout its run it exists as one of the more beautiful tracks on the album due to its emotional ending. It focuses more of their energy on their more atmospheric side. “Sul Ponticello” continues the dynamic trends set by “The Unlikely Event of a Water Landing,” except the difference is that it’s even more engaging and compelling. Showcasing their atmospheric side even more here, the guitar sounds truly epic and their engrossing musicianship gives off the sound of powerful determination. “City Hymnal” also gives off that vibe and closes out the album on an absolutely satisfying note. Aided by fantastic drumming, exemplary harmonies and well executed bass work, everything comes to a breathtaking close as everything reaches a soaring climax. This track alone showcases how well the band balances their technical side and emotional side with ease.
Though undoubtedly a bit top heavy and nothing new, Intronaut reveal the ability to keep an already well established style of music quite fresh. Their fantastic technical ability and fast paced energy sucks the listener in so much that anyone could forgive these small shortcomings. The band uses their apparent influences to great affect here and rarely get caught up in their own musicianship. Even the best bands of the genre have a tendency to fall victim to this gripe unfortunately. They show off their skills without becoming annoying or indulgent which is exceptionally admirable. If one is willing to look past a fair bit of familiarity, The Direction of Last Things
proves to be quite the passionate experience and shouldn’t be passed up.