2/23/2007 - Review by: Etiam
Intronaut - Void - 2006 - Goodfellow Records
From a strictly musical standpoint, Intronaut is nearly immaculate. Bass, guitar, and drums all carry their own weight and more, supporting one another and each taking a turn at the forefront, demonstrating the clear skill and varied inspirations of each member. The press material makes a point to highlight not only the bands these guys have been in (as is standard practice), but also the genres they played, death, grind, doom, world, and jazz.
Such claims are often just promotional bloviating, but Intronaut explicitly put to the test each of these claims throughout ‘Void’. Blessedly, they are not so crass as to attempt each genre listed above in its original full-fledged form. They instead adapt the characteristics of their divers experiences to compliment or constitute (it’s difficult to decide) the common root of Intronaut’s sound. Any given song on ‘Void’ may include the vast riffs of doom, the frenetic drumming of grind, or the pentatonic, scalar motion of funk/jazz. This last aspect in particular is quite striking; although all the musicians put on a tour de force, so to speak, it is Joe Lester’s independent bass lines that pull ‘Void’ together into a serious and cohesive progressive work.
So combined, each influence imbues the others with a distinctive, ineffable quality that has made Intronaut such a quick underground sensation. In these brief 40 minutes, ‘Void’ touches significantly upon Between the Buried and Me, Cult of Luna, Rush, Kayo Dot, Beecher, and more. Try that one on for size.
As progressive as Intronaut are, it should be noted that they remain a band centered around a foundation of ‘core’ oriented music, with quasi-metalcore breakdowns and with hardcore-friendly chords and vocals appearing in most of ‘Void’s songs. That being said, none of these techniques is used in its traditional sense, and never is it predictable. Intronaut, alongside Beecher mentioned above, is one of the most unusual hardcore-related acts you are likely to hear, this year or any other. Do not discount this simply because of what some might consider untoward associations.
If there is any shortcoming to be found in this startling concoction, it would be the vocals of Leon del Muerte (also the bassist, ex-Exhumed). His guitar talent is a strong asset to Intronaut, but his voice is simply too monotonous and amateurish for an outfit as progressive as this one (the situation is nearly the same as Ephel Duath’s, actually). Aside from simply being undeveloped, his voice exacerbates Intronaut’s already strong ties to hardcore music. This in itself is no bad thing, but del Muerte’s style is more appropriate for the tough-guy slam-dancing crowd than the thoughtful audiophiles Intronaut should instead be courting.
This is still their first release, though, and clearly, there is no shortage of inspiration in this group’s collective creative mind. As of yet, the product is slightly less than the sum of its parts, with most songs falling just short of memorable, but a few tweaks here and there will land Intronaut on many critics’ list of new favorites.
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