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VALLEY OF SMOKE

Intronaut

Experimental/Post Metal


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Intronaut Valley of Smoke album cover
3.77 | 47 ratings | 3 reviews | 34% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection


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Studio Album, released in 2010

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Elegy (6:36)
2. Above (6:10)
3. Miasma (7:51)
4. Sunderance (3:29)
5. Core Relations (6:39)
6. Below (4:22)
7. Valley of Smoke (8:34)
8. Past Tense (5:56)
9. Vernon (4:12) - european bonus track

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians


- Sacha Dunable / vocal, guitars
- Dave Timnick / vocal, guitars
- Joe Lester / bass
- Danny Walker / drums

Guest star:
- Justin Chancellor

Releases information

Released on October 12th by Century Media

Thanks to Wolf Spider for the addition
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Valley of SmokeValley of Smoke
Century Media 2010
Audio CD$8.21
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INTRONAUT Valley of Smoke ratings distribution


3.77
(47 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(34%)
34%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(32%)
32%
Good, but non-essential (28%)
28%
Collectors/fans only (2%)
2%
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)
4%

INTRONAUT Valley of Smoke reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
3 stars Valley Of Smoke is Intronaut's third album already. The Americans had created a recognizable sound on their preceding alums, akin to Mastodon and Baroness but more progressive, with a notable dissonant sound, jazzy accents and prominent fretless bass, and - if you ask me - more interesting songs.

All these elements are still intact but the sound has expanded by the addition of melodic vocals and a more spacious sound where rich jazzy chords often prevail over riffs. It makes the music more intriguing but also more demanding. It's still accessible but a couple of listens are indispensable.

The clean vocals consist of long held tones, chants if you like, that create a sort of intoxicating effect; they can be a bit monotonous sometimes, but due to the variation in instrumentation and the clever structure of the songs, the album remains an entertaining listen throughout. The dreamy instrumental title track and the vocal Core Relations are representative tracks and a recommended listen for fans of either fusion, rock, prog or metal.

Based on a couple of listens, I still have a preference for their more direct and uncompromising Prehistoricisms album, but Valley Of Smoke is a grower and definitely a clever piece of metal from a band that wants to move forward with each release. It will perhaps not bode well for their (almost non-existent) popularity, but it is sure good for their street-cred. A varied, rich and modern metal album. 3.5 stars

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Send comments to Bonnek (BETA) | Report this review (#353460) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Review by Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars 'Valley Of Smoke' - Intronaut (9/10)

Despite still being a fairly underground genre, the world of post-metal has been slowly, but surely picking up speed over the past decade. While bands like Neurosis and Isis have reached near-mainstream success in metal, there are still legions of bands that remain obscure to the general listening public. Despite being one of the chief acts of the post-metal scene, such is the case of Los Angeles sludge quartet Intronaut. With 2008's 'Prehistoricisms,' they were instantly put on the map for their keen, powerful yet intelligent sound. Now, 2010's 'Valley Of Smoke' shows the band developing their sound to incorporate more of a jazz influence into their sludgy, distorted mix of post-metal. Through incredible performance, good songwriting and their best production values yet, Intronaut has crafted an excellent album.

When hearing Intronaut and their sound, I am reminded of a wide range of bands, from the riff-loving, ballsy heaviness of Bison B.C, to the subtle, beautiful aesthetics of many of post- rock's giants. What comes out is a sound that is a perfect marriage of two highly contrasting sounds, and instead of comparing and switching between the two, instead manages to fuse the two into a very fresh sound for progressive metal. In terms of style, one of the biggest things to mention about 'Valley Of Smoke' in particular is it's jazz-heavy influence. While the most 'in-your-face' aspect of the music may be the sludgy metal tone of the riffs, the guitars may often also use plenty of jazz-derived chords, at times even playing jazz chords through distortion; the result is a heavy yet intellectual experience.

While the songwriting on 'Valley Of Smoke' is very commendable, it would be nothing without a passionate performance from the musicians. Unlike many bands, Intronaut manages to balance each member's presence equally, so that a listener can hear the bassist's contribution just as much as the drummer, or experimental guitar work. With that being said, the album is mixed perfectly, and allows the listener to hear these tracks through the perfect lens. Of special note is the beautifully intricate drum work of Danny Walker, which never seems to be content with a simplistic beat, and the clean vocalist on the album, whose droning baritone works perfectly for the band's existing style. As an added bonus, the musical talents of Tool bassist Justin Chancellor are also heard, whose distinct tone can be heard in the album's title track.

The album's only real flaw comes in the last two tracks, with the epic title track 'Valley Of Smoke' and the close 'Past Tense.' While 'Valley Of Smoke' builds very nicely (beginning with some tribal percussion before building into a crushing riff), it does feel as if it overstays it's welcome by a minute or two, and while 'Past Tense' is as good a song as any other on the album, it feels awkward to have a typical Intronaut song follow such an involved instrumental epic.

While I had not heard the music of Intronaut in detail before 'Valley of Smoke', I am very impressed by the band's ethereal, yet crunchy approach to progressive metal. While the genre of post-metal is still underground even in the metal world, bands like Intronaut are evidently taking the reigns from the genre's previous giants and carrying the torch forward with pride. 'Valley Of Smoke' is one of the best performances of the year, and a sure contender to bless many year-end lists.

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Send comments to Conor Fynes (BETA) | Report this review (#368921) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, December 31, 2010

Review by Negoba
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars More Post-Metal Plus Pleasure

If one was to mix Baroness' Blue Record and Ihsahn's After, the result would sound alot like Intronaut's Valley of Smoke. Mixing just the right amount of raw guts and heady musicianship, the band immediately grabs the listener with a smart but no-BS attitude and takes off. Intronaut is deceptively complex, packing many musical ideas in the music so seamlessly that it's easy to think of the music as just a fancy form of stoner rock. Alas, I was roughly disabused of this notion when I brought the album out for the first time in many months while I was running. I thought the upbeat vibe would be a good motivator, but the numerous time changes and mood shifts were actually distracting from my need for a consistent rhythm and energy.

Jazzy post-rock elements like the beginning of "Core Relations" fit perfectally with grinding metal riffs of "Above." The harmony vocals (I think the intervals used are what remind me so much of Ihsahn, along with rhythmic feel) are the dominant lead element, but harsh vocals take center stage much of the time as well. Odd time signatures, double bass, all the typical prog metal trappings are here...except the wankery. Guitars really are textural here and if anything the only instruments that get to show off are bass and drums. But when the rhythm moves to the fore, always it is with a groove, highlighting a mood or a feel. The overall feel is this a much more visceral, living, organic music than most prog-metal.

While each song has a few new sonic ideas, the entire album does have a little bit of samey- ness to it. There really aren't specific melodic ideas that stick with me to say which song is which. Most of the tunes are mid-tempo. The harmony vocals, though pretty, don't vary a lot. I guess that's several ways of expressing the same idea, need I repeat myself? Joking aside, this is something that both the Baroness and Ihsahn records excelled in that is lacking here.

I've personally labeled a group of bands "Post-Metal Plus" that not only draw on stoner and sludge groove and emotion but also a more elaborate sense of composition and musicianship from prog. Intronaut fits firmly in this category along with bands like Grayceon and Giant Squid. Certainly fans of those bands will enjoy Valley of Smoke, which was one of the better metal releases of a weak 2010. I would have probably given this album 4 stars when it first came out, but with some much stronger competition in 2011, including genre-mate Grayceon, "Good, but non-essential" seems appropriate. 3.5 stars.

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Send comments to Negoba (BETA) | Report this review (#463458) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, June 17, 2011

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