Progressive/post metal band Intronaut is a band I’ve always been meaning to listen to, but haven’t found the time in my busy schedule. After hearing of their addition to the latest Between The Buried And Me tour, I felt the need to explore this new band. If BTBAM can incorporate them into their latest tour, the very least I could do is introduce them into my life. During my obligatory research into the band, I’ve learned that Intronaut does not make the same record twice. With their earlier material sludgier and heavier and their newer material spacier and dronier, I was interested in hearing their approach on their latest album “The Direction Of Last Things.” Rumored to be the heaviest album they’ve released in years, I would argue instead that the album is an amalgamation of everything that made Intronaut who they are today.
From the opening minutes of the first track “Fast Worms,” the listener experiences the entire timeline of Intronaut’s sound, from crushing riffs, scream and clean vocals, odd time signatures, intricate guitar instrumentals, difficult sounding chords, and jazzy bass guitar arrangements. I feel I could hear every influence that had ever inspired them in this track alone, whether from their heavy debut “Null” or their newer and mellower “Habitual Levitations.” The following track “Digital Gerrymandering” again utilizes the same formula as the prior, but rather focuses more on their lighter, post metal sound. With its complicated polyrhythms and slower, drawn out instrumental sections, the track is more progressive than others on the album. Using repeated downshifting interludes, Intronaut allows their listeners to catch their breath before the song dramatically returns to its weighty choruses.
“The Direction Of Last Things” sways back and forth in intensity, equal parts harsh and clean. I enjoyed Intronaut’s course throughout the album, always grabbing my attention with its massive sound. Reminding me of bands like Mastodon and Tool, their sound pushes the boundaries of heaviness to the extreme, while incorporating the etheric soundscapes similar to The Contortionist. Those headbanging moments will truly rattle your brain, while the atmospheric moments will leave you numb. Intronaut does not compromise in their power, yielding a colossus unafraid of what direction it’s heading. The feelings produced from this album are intensified due to its superior production quality, which allows each note to be heard cleanly and effectively. Recruiting the help of fellow prog-metaller Devin Townsend might have been the smartest thing Intronaut did when recording this album. Even the sludgiest of sections are beautifully crafted and recorded, amplified by the presence of the bass guitar. This leads me to my next point…
How amazing is Joe Lester on the bass guitar? A band so heavily focused on that deep, guttural sound, it is necessary to include a top-notch bassist, and Intronaut hasn’t failed here. Lester’s delicious riffs appear in practically every song, but shine in the final two tracks “The Direction Of Last Things” and “City Hymnal.” I love to hear bass lines stand out from the rhythm sections of songs, and was not disappointed throughout this album. It’s almost like the rest of the band sets the stage for Lester to shine.
If I were to critique “The Direction Of Last Things,” my only concern would be the unrestricted nature of some of its songs. With so many tracks lasting over six minutes long, I felt some overstayed their welcome, having completed its intended purpose with a minute to spare. The remainder of space is typically filled with guitar noodling, sound effects, or even unintelligible dialogue. While some songs on the album are much more straightforward, songs like “The Unlikely Event Of A Water Landing” seem to drag on a little. If I were to have produced this album, I might have trimmed some of the fat and kept things frank.
Overall, Intronaut’s newest album “The Direction Of Last Things” is a very interesting album. With a dose of metal and a pinch of progressive, this album stands out as one of my favorites from their discography. To say it’s the best album I’ve heard this year might be a stretch, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. For fans of bands like Mastodon, Anciients, Cloudkicker, and TesseracT, please support Intronaut. You can support them by visiting their website, and by following them on Facebook and Twitter. They are currently touring with Between the Buried and Me and Native Construct, which happens to travel close to home. If you have the chance to see them live, please share your experiences below!
What did you think of Intronaut’s “The Direction Of Last Things”?