Friday 12 April 2013

Intronaut - Habitual Levitations (Album Review)

Album Type : Full Length
Date Released : 18/3/2013
Label : Century Media

Habitual Levitations, album tracklisting:
1. Killing Birds With Stones (8:04)
2. The Welding (6:01)
3. Steps (5:43)
4. Sore Sight For Eyes (5:30)
5. Milk Leg (6:46)
6. Harmonomicon (6:31)
7. Eventual (6:44)
8. Blood From A Stone (3:05)
9. The Way Down (8:57)

Los Angeles post-prog masters INTRONAUT return with their 4th and most impressive full
length album to date; “Habitual Levitations“. Once again yielding thunderous, tribal drum
beats, hypnotic bass patterns, angular guitar riffs and the trance-like vocals of Sacha
Dunable, INTRONAUT pick up where they left off on 2010’s Valley of Smoke, though this
time around, see the songs a bit more refined and cultivated. The band toured heavily in
support of Valley, including a stint opening for Tool in the US, which may explain the more
polished sound. INTRONAUT has always teetered close on being a jam band. With one of
the greatest rhythm sections in music (drummer, Danny Walker and bassist, Joe Lester) it
would be hard not to just light up and see where those two take you. Experimenting on
stage, knowing exactly where each band member is going in the song and thus really
becoming one as a band is what INTRONAUT has achieved and what producers John Haddad
[Exhumed, Phobia] and Derek Donley [Bereft] managed to capture perfectly on the new
album. With a US tour supporting Meshuggah and Animals as Leaders set prior to Habitual’s
release, INTRONAUT will surely continue to mature and solidify themselves as one of the
best metal bands around.

Line up
Sacha Dunable – guitar, vocals
Joe Lester – bass
Dave Timnick – guitar, vocals, percussion
Danny Walker – drums


A largely dynamic affair, Habitual Levitations frames helter-skelter outbursts around floating peaceful moments.  Intronaut invade serene dimensions, introducing dollops of Kirby-esque chaos with odd metre timing, until all that stands falls down and all that which floats, plummets this way and that.
Polyrhythms and gusty close harmonies dominate from the outset as stoned post-metal and experimental insanity grips the listener.  Eardrums are flipped upside down as quiet contemplation engages in a power struggle with intense flashes of tough-as-nails, chest-beating skull-fuckery.  In many ways the album plays out like a Batman villain: charming, distinctive, spontaneous and totally unpredictable.  The only characteristic the album doesn’t share with a figure from the Dark Knight’s rogue gallery is that Habitual Levitations is not malformed and hideous.  In most aspects the album contains a bestial beauty, a streamlined elegance due in large part to those blow-your-hair-back vocal harmonies.
Clear your mind of all thought and expectation when approaching this record, it’s far preferable to let the band guide you through it.  Don’t expect anything to be straight forward.  Nothing comes easy.  Each song does its own thing and travels its own path.  They’re like your buddy giving you a lift from point A to point B but making a million pit stops along the way, and never in a straight line.  These drivers will have you zigging and zagging across town and back.  That’s not to say, either that the material here is slapdash or without reason or purpose.  It’s just that, while the music is directed, it’s directed by the feel and specific circumstance that each melodic fragment provides.  In other words, it’s a jigsaw puzzle.  When all the elements come together each song paints a comprehensive picture, the album itself duplicates the process on a larger scale, like a fractal.  In this way it’s more like a panoramic jigsaw puzzle than a Rubik’s cube.
Swallowed whole, this may not be the heaviest of records in the land but it’ll get your blood pumping.  Intronaut build songs up, shining a bigger spotlight on their quieter side, theoretically making those harder edged moments even heavier and even more chaotic in comparison to the softer edged moments when that heavy spotlight swings on them.  When the band really gets their asses in gear, they floor it and when it’s time to shred, their polyrhythmic leads melt faces.
Four and a half minutes into Milk Leg, perhaps the standout track on the record, the band proves that they can chug and jangle at the same time, all the while continuously churning a melodic undertow to drag the listener deeper into the record.  I can’t say I’ve heard anything like it.
When listening to this album I keep going back to Snail’s record from last year, Terminus, for a comparable, as that’s about the closest thing, sound wise, to this album.  Given that Terminus was a great record and that Habitual Levitations compares well to it, speaks greatly of Intronaut’s latest offering, I feel.
On this, their fourth full-length record, Intronaut can lay claim to the title of Pontifex Mathimus of stoned complexity.
Words by : Lucas Klaukien

As always show your support to the band. You can buy this outstanding record here and is available every where now. Thanks to Sarah Lees @ Century Media for hooking us up with this record.  Buy this record, it will blow your mind!  Below are Intronaut's European tour dates