As a progressive metal band that incorporates everything from world music rhythm and jazzy voicings to post-rock atmosphere and brutal instrument tones, it’s a safe bet to say the members of this Los Angeles-based quartet know their way around their instruments of choice. As a progressive metal band that knows the value of giving listeners something to connect with beyond technical flash and finger twisting rudiments played at ridiculous tempos and configurations, Intronaut know when to rein in the virtuosic spotlight when embarking along the path of creating material that those outside of the elitist circle of musicians can comprehend. That is to say, Intronaut is probably able to play circles around most bands, but would rather focus their attention on composing listenable slabs of luxurious metal instead of buying a billboard in the center of town that screams “Look at us, motherfuckers!”
The Direction of Last Things, their latest and fifth full-length, continues to take that philosophy to heart. A multi-faceted song like “Digital Gerrymandering” has all manner of polyrhythmic pattering and chromatic sludge kicking around in the background, but the result is actually one of the most memorable tracks the band have inducted into their discography at the hand of guitars that bounce between a gigantic hooky chorus and playful sequences that should be a staple of the playlists of those who considered themselves Tool fans. “Fast Worms” is propelled at the hand of a furious volley between melodic, floating space melodies and a massive, lurching pull-off riff that’ll move your body and whatever mechanisms your body employs in order to hum along with robust melodies and appreciate jazzbo diversions.
Although he’s gotten noticeably better at creating and matching vocals lines to riffs (“The Pleasant Surprise”), vocalist/guitarist Sascha Dunable’s clean vocal still has its fair share of shaky moments and he often lets loose with the occasional phrasing head scratcher. Otherwise, the musicianship continues its prodigious bent across the board, but whilst remaining understated and tasteful.
Whether you pay dedicated attention to the wicked and brief fills by drummer Danny Walker and bassist Joe Lester in the swaying second half of “Sui Ponticello” and “City Hymnal”s epic-sounding outro or just appreciate how they work solidly within the broader context, it’s clear that Intronaut has managed to keep things steeped in a progressively conglomerate world, with multi-tentacled compositions that highlight the objective skill of their advanced playing abilities but, more importantly, their subjective ability at conjuring material that keeps the band’s collective butthole of self-indulgence from opening up and swallowing the album whole.
01. Fast Worms
02. Digital Gerrymandering
03. The Pleasant Surprise
04. The Unlikely Event Of A Water Landing
05. Sul Ponticello
06. The Direction Of Last Things
07. City Hymnal
Run Time: 46:02
Release Date: November 13, 2015
Check out the song “Fast Worms” here.