Intronaut’s Habitual Levitations (Instilling Words with Tones): The MetalSucks Review
I can safely say I’m a true blue, O.G. Intronaut fan. I first got hip to the band shortly after their phenomenal debut full-length album, Void, came out in 2006. At the time, jammy progressive metal was a new-ish concept to me, and these guys were like nothing I’d ever heard before. The band’s refined yet undeniably heavy progressive sound, and exploratory yet compositional songwriting approach spoke to me in spades.
So I was initially a bit disappointed that the band’s next two albums, Prehistoricisms and Valley of Smoke (NOT a marijuana reference…? Come on now), solid as they are, veer a bit too deeply into meandering melodo-prog territory at times…at least for me, trying to get a footing in certain compositions seemed like an uphill battle.
Call those growing pains if you will (or call my opinion shite, that’s your prerogative), but in any case on Intronaut’s new album Habitual Levitations (Instilling Words With Tones), almost all traces of noodle-wankery are long gone in lieu of the deepest grooves we may hear this year. And the melodies are rich and taut throughout, with umpteen unique guitar tone choices perfectly complementing the extremely harmonious and powerful vocals. As a matter of fact, the parenthetical in the album title is pretty much the only thing here that seems a bit pretentious and unnecessary, because oh my sweet Jesus Christos, the songwriting and execution is as tight as a grade-school spicy tuna roll.
Of course we’ll always be forever dazzled by the ‘naut’s chop-heavy rhythm section of riconkuconk powerhouse “NO-HE-DIDN’T” drummer Danny Walker (in our website’s humble opinion, the third best modern metal drummer) and jazzy, I-can’t-believe-it’s-not-butter-y bassist Joe Lester (read his recent Big Bottoms interview), but this time around there are NO truly heavy vocals so guitarist/vocalists Sacha Dunable (who occasionally graces us with a MetalSucks blog column of his very own) and Dave Timnick really get to show off their pipes, and brother do they deliver! As we know, melodic vocals proved to be a vital component of Valley of Smoke, but on Habitual Levitations, save for a small handful of “aggressive” singing, screams have been left behind (okay maybe there’s ONE background vocal part that could qualify), a choice that may turn off the tr00est among us but completely tickled my fancy, since both the vocal melodies and harmonies are so strong from start to finish.
Right out of the gates the band traverses its way directly into murky thick groovesville – with some instantly infectious head-bopping sections and effective clean singing at the outset, Intronaut immediately let us know that they have matured to prog-metal royalty and are going to fully justify their recent ascension to scene stardom.
And the band instantly shows us why so many amazing tours have been flowing their way so freely for the last few years: Intronaut do something at once sharply unique and fiercely sincere – yes, the music is obviously of a technical and progressive nature, but on this album all the songs seem more purposeful and earnest than ever. Certain building moments that rise and fall from monumental crescendos to perfectly stripped down delicate tension will surely please various types of listeners. On one hand any musician would benefit from examining the band’s sound, but in another regard, these are great tunes to make out to.