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INTRONAUT

Experimental/Post Metal • United States


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Intronaut biography
INTRONAUT is a progressive metal band from California, US, formed in 2004 by drummer Danny WALKER and guitarist Sacha DUNABLE. They started exchanging songwriting ideas and recording when Leon Del MUERTE joined the band on guitars and vocals. They had a good chemistry, but the band wasn't complete until bassist Joe LESTER joined the group. INTRONAUT recorded their demo, "Null", and started playing in small crowds and sold their demo in their shows. They sent some copies to different record companies and Goodfellow Records signed them. "Null" got re-released in 2006 and exposed the band to a wider audience. It got positive responses from many fans and critics so they started writing for their full length album, "Void", which was released in the same year. The album was a step forward and improvement from their debut EP. "Void" got a lot of critical acclaim from the media and showed a great start for a promising band.

INTRONAUT's sound is a combination of different musical backgrounds. Danny WALKER was a member of a grindcore band UPHILL BATTLE; Sacha DUNABLE is a member of the doom metal band Anubis Rising; Leon Del Muerte was a member of the death metal band IMPALED and the technical metal band EXHUMED; and Joe LESTER, while not being a member of any band prior to INTRONAUT, he has an extended knowledge on Jazz, Funk, traditional Indian music and a bachelors degree in music. Traces of past influences can be heard throughout INTRONAUT's music, but still never sounding derivative or wearing their influences in their sleeves.

The band released their critically acclaimed sophomore album, "Prehistoricisms", in 2008 and followed it up with "Valley Of Smoke" in 2010. INTRONAUT comes highly recommended for fans of sludge, technical, progressive, jazz, death metal.


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The Direction of Last ThingsThe Direction of Last Things
Century Media 2015
Audio CD$10.63
$10.62 (used)
VoidVoid
Goodfellow Records 2006
Audio CD$9.97
$7.78 (used)
Habitual Levitations (Instilling Words With Tones)Habitual Levitations (Instilling Words With Tones)
Century Media 2013
Audio CD$10.17
$3.98 (used)
Valley Of SmokeValley Of Smoke
Century Media 2012
Audio CD$10.39
$5.55 (used)
PrehistoricismsPrehistoricisms
Century Media 2012
Audio CD$6.00
$5.98 (used)
NullNull
EP
Goodfellow Records 2006
Audio CD$20.35
$19.95 (used)
The ChallengerThe Challenger
TRANSLATION LOSS 2007
Audio CD$6.00
$6.71 (used)
Challenger by INTRONAUT (2007-10-30)Challenger by INTRONAUT (2007-10-30)
Translation Loss
Audio CD$34.88
Challenger by Translation LossChallenger by Translation Loss
Translation Loss
Audio CD$36.38
Direction of Last Things by Century MediaDirection of Last Things by Century Media
Century Media
Audio CD$48.96
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INTRONAUT discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

INTRONAUT top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.89 | 18 ratings
Void
2006
4.01 | 72 ratings
Prehistoricisms
2008
3.78 | 56 ratings
Valley of Smoke
2010
3.89 | 34 ratings
Habitual Levitations (Instilling Words With Tones)
2013
4.02 | 50 ratings
The Direction of Last Things
2015

INTRONAUT Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

INTRONAUT Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

INTRONAUT Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

INTRONAUT Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.02 | 4 ratings
Null
2006
3.02 | 5 ratings
The Challenger
2007

INTRONAUT Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Direction of Last Things by INTRONAUT album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.02 | 50 ratings

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The Direction of Last Things
Intronaut Experimental/Post Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "The Direction Of Last Things" is the 5th full-length studio album by US progressive metal act Intronaut. The album was released through Century Media Records in November 2015. It's the successor to "Habitual Levitations (Instilling Words With Tones)" from 2013.

Stylistically Intronaut have taken a slight step back to their heavier past and reintroduce harsh shouting hardcore vocals. A feature which was almost completely missing from their sound on the predecessor. Most vocals on the album are still mellow ethereal clean singing though (I'm often reminded of Paul Masvidal from Cynic). The instrumental part of the band's music is still rooted in an adventurous playing rhythm section. Both drummer Danny Walker and bassist Joe Lester are very busy and quite inventive. The same can be said about the two guitarists/vocalists. The technical level of playing on this album is simply through the roof. There are strong jazz/fusion leanings in the music, but also sludge, post rock, mathcore, and progressive metal elements. The many styles combined it's pretty hard to make a valid description of the band's music, but atmospheric and technically well played progressive metal isn't an all wrong label.

The material on the 7 track, 46:03 minutes long album is well written, intriguing, and consistent in both style and quality. The combination of heavier hard edged parts and atmospheric mellow sections works well for the band. Even at their most aggressive and busy Intronaut have a sophisticated calm to their delivery, which means the music on "The Direction Of Last Things" is sometimes closer to rock than it is to metal. Artists like A Perfect Circle, Tool, and late era-Cynic are valid references.

"The Direction Of Last Things" is a very well produced album, featuring a clear, organic, and powerful sounding production, which fits well with the atmospheric music. So that combined with the brilliant musicianship and the adventurous songwriting, make for an intriguing listen and a high quality release. That's of course no surprise if you're familiar with Intronaut's preceeding releases, but it's still worthy of praise that they can continue to keep the quality level of their output as high as they do here. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

 Null by INTRONAUT album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2006
3.02 | 4 ratings

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Null
Intronaut Experimental/Post Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

3 stars Originally this came out as their first demo titled "NULL - Demonstration Extended Play Compact Disc" that was recorded and released in 2005, but the band managed to impress the ears of the good folks at Goodfellow Records and this was repackaged, given a real album cover and released simply as NULL which became their very first release as an EP. The demo only had four tracks but an additional fifth track "Burning These Days" was included on the EP.

NULL shows just how much INTRONAUT have changed over the course of a decade, however much of their progressive take on the world of sludge metal is quite in tact on this first output. NULL reminds me a lot of the earliest Mastodon releases where their music is much more aggressive and fueled with adrenaline with fewer slower jazzy passages slipped into the mix but not totally devoid thereof either. For the most part Sacha Dunable's vocals are growly and remind me a lot of Luc Lemay from Gorguts at this stage with very, very little clean vocals to be heard. The band are already adept at playing extremely complex riffs that form their signature melodic dissonance as Leon Del Muerte and Dunable deliver highly distorted and aggressive guitar riffs backed up by equally hardcore bass techniques of Joe Lester. Danny Walker has mastered the sludge metal drum sound but on this one he plays more aggressively and all the tracks are of a much higher tempo than much of the albums that follow. The time sigs and progressiveness is already in full play.

If you're already an INTRONAUT fan don't miss this debut EP for it's as entertaining as any of the lot but it is true that the intricacies and complex song structures that they would really develop on "Prehistorians" are not quite so characteristic of their sound at this stage. This is a band that wants to blow the roof off the house pumping out fast and furious sludge metal without much of the atmospheric touches that they successfully weave into their overall trademark brand of sludge. While i wouldn't call this their most essential offering i do find it one that i can't live without and a highly enjoyable form of sonic torturous eardrum bombardment.

3.5 rounded down

 The Direction of Last Things by INTRONAUT album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.02 | 50 ratings

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The Direction of Last Things
Intronaut Experimental/Post Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

5 stars Since their debut on the progressive metal scene in 2006 with "Void," INTRONAUT have only upped their game incrementally ever since pumping out one amazing album after another pleasing us progressive rock fiends who haven't outgrown the extreme metal that sustains us. To the chagrin of some of us when an extreme metal band gets too soft, which was the case on "Habitial Levitations" where vocalist Sacha Dunable eschewed the growly extreme madness that makes extreme metal, well? extreme, is usually a sign that a band is on its way on the downside. Just something about shouted, growly and guttural vocals on top of highly distorted and anarchic sounding instrumentation just gives it that extra oomph.

Fears were being raised of going "Opeth" on that album that perhaps the band was toning things down a bit. Perhaps members were having babies, perhaps knitting sweaters for their wives, taking up home brewing or simply joining local cricket clubs. Well any such fears have been erased on their 2015 release THE DIRECTION OF LAST THINGS. Right from the very first glance of blackened birds swirling into the void reminds us of past glories that bring their magnum opus "Prehistoricisms" immediately to mind. The band was back to prove that they have indeed carved out their own brand of progressive atmospheric sludge metal and with this latest release they certainly have done so.

On THE DIRECTION OF LAST THINGS the band really takes all the best aspects of the past and borrows liberally from some of their influences and inserting them into their heavy distorted progressive madness that manages to combine totally new sonicscapes to escape within. Between the odd time signatures of the guitars of Dave Timnick and Sacha Dunable as well as the jazz-infused drumming talents of Danny Walker interacting on seemingly different worlds but threading it all together and the fretless bass maestrohood of Joe Lester, INTRONAUT simply has hit upon a sound and style all their own and with this latest release they only cement that sentiment into an already earned status placing them in the leagues of the influences heard on this album including the likes of Messhugah, Mastodon, Alice In Chains, Oceansize, Tool, Between The Buried And Me and beyond. However this band is certainly more than the sum of their influences thrown into a blender and randomly spewed out.

The beauty of INTRONAUT is how well they can cut and past and perfectly blend a furious storm of dissonance with various forms of abstract melodic development. They really know how to take the model of the structure of verse / chorus / verse / bridge / chorus thing and magnify that principle and into a much more complex mathematical equation, so while they are clearly in experimental mode they pay attention to keeping some sort of mental tracking system that takes patterns and repeats ideas enough as not to lose one's bearings, however this is indeed complex music and an acquired taste that demands multiple listens to fully comprehend.

What really strikes me more than anything about this album is how well the songs are constructed. They really take the listener on an interesting ride keeping all the past INTRONAUT styles and instrumentation in tact but utilizing an abundance of riffing, vocal styles, pulverizing drumming and atmospheres just dripping in aggression, melancholy and extra-dimensional prowess. The production is also extraordinary as every little sound is animated and allowed to fulfill its potential. It always amazes me at some of the negative reviews and ratings that go with the instant gratification process that music has in general garnered over the decades. This album is one that does not bring that happy joy joy feel upon first listen although it is not without its hooks and addictive qualities, rather it is one of those albums that ratchets up the listener's senses upon repeated listening. I'm finding this to be so much more satisfying upon repeated bombardments of my senses! While i understand this is truly a progressive metal band in the truest sense of the meaning, i don't find superficial exposure to be adequate in the eternal art of "getting it". This is music that took years to put together. Music that is to be worked for is some of the most satisfying music i have found and this definitely falls into that camp for even as an INTRONAUT fan i've had to pay special attention to the details.

This is highly recommended for all the obvious sludge metal freaks who like Isis, Mastodon, Baroness, Neurosis and beyond but there are many progressive aspects i am hearing that bring Enslaved, Gorguts, Alice In Chains, Tool and even Meshuggah to mind. Well worth the price of admission and one that only gets better the more you listen to it, at least that has been the case for me. Perhaps not quite as perfect as "Prehistoricisms" but definitely a close second in their discography for me and one that i am convinced will only garner more attention over the time as these days we are inundated with so much music that it's impossible to digest it all. What a wonderful problem to have!

4.5 but rounded UP!

 The Challenger by INTRONAUT album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2007
3.02 | 5 ratings

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The Challenger
Intronaut Experimental/Post Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

3 stars THE CHALLENGER is the third overall release and second EP by the progressive post sludge metal band INTRONAUT that is sandwiched between their first full debut "Void" and their second full album "Prehistorians." Although this is an EP it clocks in at a full 50 minutes. It is essentially a mix of three new tracks, five live cuts from "Null" and "Void," a truncated remix of "Burning These Days" from "Null" and an untitled bonus in the form of a stupid and irritating sound check but thankfully is at the end of the album so i can just simply *ignore* it :)

The three new tracks: "The Challenger","Whittler Of Fortune" and "Deep Architecture" pretty much see INTRONAUT continuing the sound set forth on their debut album "Void," however they seemed to have upped the aggression and downed the progressiveness. These tracks are more geared towards aggressive sludge metal with a post-metal type of atmosphere. While the progressive aspects have been toned down they certainly didn't go away and there are plenty of angular rhythms, technical drumming displays and deathened, anguished vocals to be heard.

The live tracks are fairly well done showing the band churning out some seriously muddy and hostile sounding post-sludgery. Since these tracks are taken from their first two releases they are more straight forward sludge meets post-metal sounding like a mix of maybe The Ocean meets Isis or Pelican. The production is actually nice for a live recording and the highlight of these tracks is the eerie mix of guitar sounds. While one guitarist churns out the rhythmic backbone of the songs, the other is creating strange atmospheric embellishments and when it comes to the solos they sound more like something off a freaky psychedelic Krautock album from the 70s then anything to be heard in metal. This EP is also the last for guitarist Leon del Muerte.

The remix for "Burning These Days" is a nice no-nonsense burst of spastic drumming, highly distorted jangly guitars and occasional sampling effects that add interesting mood dynamics. It has an interesting high speed volume fade in / out ending. The only track that is a waste of time is number 10 which is a sound check of the mic and drums with some profanities thrown in. Boring! This is not a stellar release by INTRONAUT but it was never intended to be. It's just a nice package of extra goodies for fans. While this may not be in the top leagues of their discography is certainly a worthy addition if you already dig their unique progressive sludgy post metal. The new tracks are certainly as good as anything on their debut and the live set is a nice sampling of their live capabilities. 3.5 rounded down

 Void by INTRONAUT album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.89 | 18 ratings

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Void
Intronaut Experimental/Post Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars INTRONAUT is an extreme metal band from Los Angeles that formed in 2004 when former members of Anubis Rising, Exhumed, Uphill Battle and Impaled coalesced their respected talents into a new musical entity. The result is that INTRONAUT is one of those amazing technical adept bands that has done what few bands successfully pull off, that is take different aspects of music and fuse them together to make a cohesive whole resulting in a seemingly new species in the process. VOID is their debut full-length release after their EP "Null." INTRONAUT chose its name to describe the inner traveler that encourages the listener to explore the inner mind and creates music that is both contemplative and designed to stimulate the listener's technical leanings simultaneously. INTRONAUT has created sounds familiar yet somehow different by fusing together aspects of the death, sludge and post aspects of metal all the while steering it into progressive territory that rewards the demanding listener multifold.

Even upon first listen, this album struck me as a progressive extreme metal band that blurred the lines of various types of metal. VOID begins sounding a lot like a Kayo Dot album especially the dissonant chord jangles of "Dowsing Anemone With Copper Tongue," but this is just a misleading intro as the music soon becomes aggressive and technical with deathened, tortured vocals that are scary enough to even separate a mother grizzly bear from her defenseless newborn cubs. Although there are a few different sounds going on on VOID, i find the general metal sound to be a kind of hybrid between the tech death of Gorguts with the progressive sludge of Neurosis but the Kayo Dot sound of some kind of alternate tuning system does ring true as well. The vocals are definitely in the death metal camp but the aggressive guitars and bass are clearly going for the sludge metal effect that can immediately bring The Ocean to mind. This is however dressed up in some of the most complex time signatures, jazzy drumming patterns and progressive polyrhythmic weavings that can remind one of compositions by more sophisticated bands like Cynic, Atheist or the aforementioned Kayo Dot.

This is not music for the faint at heart. This is hardcore music in every way showing no mercy with relentless pummeling angular rhythms, highly dissonant jangling of the strings (Sacha Dunable and Leon del Muerte on guitars with Joe Lester on bass) and an energetic, yet perpetually stimulating percussion (by Danny Walker) and vocals that would drive the insane to commit unthinkable crimes like run for political office in the USA. This is music that takes a few listens to sink in. Upon first encounter it will sound totally bizarre and off but the flow of the compositions actually makes sense once you can wrap your head around the whole thing. It is not as alienating as Gorguts' "Obscura" but a bit harder swallow than any of Neurosis' albums.

While not as accomplished in the perfection department as the stunning followup "Prehistoricisms" this debut album has more than enough intricacies and surprises to please the intellectual metalhead who lives for twists and turns that not only shock and surprise but also provide a smorgasbord of different hooks and dissonant melodies that can be deciphered. This is an excellent debut from INTRONAUT. If you already love Neurosis,The Ocean or Gorguts and want to take that arena of sludgy deathened metal even further then INTRONAUT will satisfy all those desires and no better place to get your feet wet than with their debut VOID. INTRONAUT is a totally under the radar band that IMHO deserves a whole lot more recognition because their talent is immeasurable. An acquired taste for sure, but one that i personally have acquired and savored ever since.

 Null by INTRONAUT album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2006
3.02 | 4 ratings

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Null
Intronaut Experimental/Post Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars "Null" is an EP release by US progressive sludge/mathcore act Intronaut. It's their debut release. The EP was released through Goodfellow Records in February 2006.

The music on the 5 track, 28:25 minutes long EP is progressive sludge. The delivery is very convincing and especially the rhythm section of bassist Joe Lester and drummer Danny Walker are really skilled and deliver some impressive playing along the way. The vocals are raw and shouting and there's even a semi-growling nature about a few of the vocal parts. They generally feature a nice bite. It's Intronaut's well balanced songwriting where they both emphasize heavy angular riffing and more atmospheric parts that's the band's finest asset though. They are a really heavy and occasionally raw bunch, but they are still rather sophisticated for the genre. Their occasional jazzy leanings add an even more interesting dimension to an already great release.

The sound production is powerful and raw. It's professional sounding and suits the music well. So you get a strong sound prodution, excellent musicianship, and adventurous songwriting on "Null" and it's hard to say anything else than that this is a quality release. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

 Habitual Levitations (Instilling Words With Tones) by INTRONAUT album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.89 | 34 ratings

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Habitual Levitations (Instilling Words With Tones)
Intronaut Experimental/Post Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "Habitual Levitations (Instilling Words With Tones)" is the 4th full-length studio album by US progressive sludge/mathcore act Intronaut. The album was released through Century Media Records in March 2013.

The music on the album is a pretty original sounding progressive metal with sludge and mathcore elements. Itīs hard to tag correctly but in my book thatīs only a strength. There is a strong rythmic foundation in the music which lends heavily from jazz. Both bassist Joe Lester and drummer Danny Walker are incredibly skilled. The off-beat snare drum hits and the cymbal work are charming as hell as are the adventurous bass playing. Upon this strong rythmic foundation the two guitarists play both heavy riffs and atmospheric parts. The vocals are usually ethereal/mellow in nature and more seldom semi-raw. The tracks are well balanced between heavy angular riffing (check out those powerful riffs in "Steps") and more smooth atmospheric sections. The latter usually with clean guitars and a semi-jazzy touch. Overall there is a pleasant organic sound to the music which is both due to the professional and well sounding production and to the way the music is played. The music is delivered with feeling, skill and a nice human touch. Sometimes itīs almost too laid back in nature, but the adventurous and powerful playing always ensure that the music is never too stoned.

Iīd mention acts like Cynic, Baroness, Helmet and Tool as references at various points on the album, but Intronaut have crafted quite a unique sound on "Habitual Levitations (Instilling Words With Tones)" and deserve to be judged on their own. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

 Prehistoricisms by INTRONAUT album cover Studio Album, 2008
4.01 | 72 ratings

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Prehistoricisms
Intronaut Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Whereas most post-metal bands look to the textures of bands such as Godspeed You Black Emperor or Mogwai for the post-rock side of their sound, Intronaut on Prehistoricism look more to jazzier and more complex groups such as Tortoise or the more math rock-inclined post-rock groups. This is a true asset, because it allows them to craft near-seamless transitions between these sections and the crushing jazz-influenced technical death metal that forms the other half of the whole. Overall, the album widens the horizons of both the post-metal and technical death metal genres and captures the band in very form indeed, and I'd recommend it to anyone interested in progressive or technically complex metal.
 Valley of Smoke by INTRONAUT album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.78 | 56 ratings

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Valley of Smoke
Intronaut Experimental/Post Metal

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.

 Valley of Smoke by INTRONAUT album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.78 | 56 ratings

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Valley of Smoke
Intronaut Experimental/Post Metal

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.

Thanks to chamberry for the artist addition. and to NotAProghead for the last updates

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