By: Asher G. Alexander
Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 13/11/2015
Label: Century Media Records
The interspersed samples are delightfully odd, and give a welcome (often comical) break to the up-down-all-around prog fest that this album really is. There are so many sections that break out into something completely unexpected, leaving you extremely satisfied
“The Directions Of The Last Thing” CD//DD//LP track listing:
01. Fast Worms (06:58)
02. Digital Gerrymandering (08:08)
03. The Pleasant Surprise (04:02)
04. The Unlikely Event Of A Water Landing (08:07)
05. Sul Ponticello (07:34)
06. The Direction Of Last Things (05:18)
The last 9 years have been a lesson in underground success for LA prog-metalers Intronaut. Preparing to release their 5th album “The Directions Of The Last Thing” on November 13th, the latest offering serves up brutal riffs, ethereal jazz and more syncopation than you can throw a stick at.
Many reading this will not have heard Intronaut, after all, they are often banded under the taboo genre of djent. What a lot of people don’t realise however is that their association with the genre barely scratches the surface of their musical stylings. In fact, at most they will have a djenty riff every other song, often thrown in the mix to raise the dynamic range from calm to heavy. I think they get this label because they have toured with many of the big names in djent, like Animals As Leaders and TesseracT, however people aren’t really aware of the fact that they have toured with just as many metal bands in other sub-genres, like Tool and Red Fang. They are most certainly a well-seasoned live outfit.
Intronauts first few releases definitely had more of the polyrhythmic instrumental work found on djent records, but with each consecutive album they have moved their sound in a prog rock/ metal direction. Their work is also heavily influenced by sludge bands like
Isis, especially vocally. Singer/ guitarist/ luthier/ man of multiple talents Sacha Dunable has an extremely similar timbre in his clean singing voice to Aaron Turner, and with the addition of cleverly placed harmonies Dunable manages to pull off the groany sustained notes with incredible finesse, conveying huge amounts of emotions. Speaking in terms of vocals, “The Directions Of The Last Thing” is a welcome return to Intronauts more extreme roots, evenly balancing growls and cleans perfectly slotting into their given instrumental background.
Where the arrangements are concerned, this album feels like quite a defining moment for them. Each song represents their musical direction very well, taking elements from all aspects of their compositional skills from jazz in strange polymeters to huge riffs. The only gripe I have is with some of the more “metal” segments relying too much on rhythm as opposed to melody. By doing this (and quite often) in later parts if the album, you start thinking “Hey, didn’t I hear this riff two songs ago?”
That would probably be my only gripe with the record. As a whole, the album is super cool. The interspersed samples are delightfully odd, and give a welcome (often comical) break to the up-down-all-around prog fest that this album really is. There are so many sections that break out into something completely unexpected, leaving you extremely satisfied and thinking “Damn that was prog-ariffic!”, and I haven’t even talked about the mix yet!
Well, the mix to my ears is nearly perfect. The levels of each instrument are great, nothing bleeds over each other. Everything is given plenty of space to breath, so that when it goes from section to section, the lead instrument (be it bass, guitar, drums OR vocals) are perfectly placed in the stereo mix so that you instantly take notice of it. The dynamic range of each instrument sits really well, for example, when guitars go from clean to distorted or vice versa, they never feel harsh or unbalanced in comparison to the previous section. All of these points are a huge step up from previous releases.
Overall I would highly recommend this album to people, especially the sceptics, just so they can see how wrong they are!