A Voice Within review by Intervals

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  • Released: Mar 4, 2014
  • Sound: 8
  • Lyrics: 6
  • Overall Impression: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 7 Good
  • Users' score: 9.2 (35 votes)
Intervals: A Voice Within
2

Sound — 8
Intervals are an independent, Canadian prog metal band that began as a purely instrumental outfit. Between 2011 and 2013 they released two instrumental EPs which were well received. In 2013, they recruited Mike Semesky - formerly of The HAARP Machine and the current vocalist of Raunchy amongst numerous other bands - as their bassist before he eventually switched to the role of vocalist after experimenting with demos. "A Voice Within" is their debut full-length LP, and as an album it makes for an intriguing listen. 

Produced by Jordan Valeriote (who has produced for bands such as Silverstein and Counterparts in the past), the album sounds fairly good; although there are some moments in which the instruments could sound less audibly claustrophobic. It's not perfect, but it's certainly not terrible.

Vocally, "A Voice Within" solely utilises clean vocals - perhaps a breath of fresh air for some considering the arguable oversaturation of growls and screams within the genre. Semesky's vocals are beyond adequate and at times, he soars, particularly on tracks such as "The Self Surrendered."

Intervals' instrumental pedigree is what brings the record to higher ground, however. Throughout, the drums and riffs alike are excellent, and the album is littered with some astounding lead sections and the occasional intriguing solo. While the band does not currently have an official bassist, the recorded bass provided by Valeriote and guitarist Aaron Marshall shines, particularly on the track "Moment Marauder." As an album, some tracks also channel other genres such as the post-rock style outro found in "Atlas Hour" and they additionally dwell upon their former; purely instrumental sound, in the brief instrumental interlude, "Breathe."

Lyrics — 6
Lyrically, the album is not as strong. Thematically there is nothing particularly interesting or poignant about what Semesky is singing; the content is adequate yet not quite as compelling as it could be, as demonstrated by this extract from track "The Escape":

"Breathe this in and let this dose be of reality
To the world as you were truly meant to perceive it
Infinite shades of reason and truth
Of fulfillment and identity, of vices and virtues"

"A Voice Within" demonstrates that Semesky's vocals are certainly practiced and at times, admirable. It is evident that his voice fits the instrumentals well.

Overall Impression — 7
Intervals' debut LP shines in its well-crafted instrumental sections; and its variation of fast-paced and djent-imbued progressive metal is admirable overall. Tracks such as "Siren Sound" and "Moment Marauder" show the capability of the band as a whole and their potential to delve further into a perhaps stronger sophomore record in the future. Lyrically and thematically the album could be improved upon in some areas - but happily, instrumentally speaking the music does indeed measure up to the band's prior releases.

19 comments sorted by best / new / date

    iammclovin
    Absolutely in love with this album, I enjoyed their instrumental work but the addition of Mike brought a very welcome added dimension to the band. While this might have scaled back some of the leads I can hear that there is still some very interesting guitar work going on in the background and Aaron posted something about one of the riffs being the most challenging to play that he has written.
    Shavyi
    I don't understand all the critics about the vocals. I think they are really refreshing and original : no screams, no high pitched highs (...), but a strong medium range. I like it. Maybe they should make the instrumental version available, but I guess the purpose of adding a vocalist was to make the bands sound more alive when performing live.
    The Spoon
    I enjoy some of what I've heard from this album, and I definitely need to dive into it before I make any definitive claims, but I feel like the instrumental work became less interesting so they could write songs to accommodate a vocalist and slightly more predictable song structure. This is by no means a complaint or telling the band how they should do things, just an observation. Upon first listen, it just seems like the new music blends in with whatever else is out there. Still need to give it a much more thorough listen though.
    ProgFripp74
    The space between was a good ep for what is was, particularly the track inertia, it had some great leads and a some good riffs. With A voice within the main issue I have is the vocalist, I'm not saying he's bad in his phrasing or writing but he just has a voice that sounds so generic in tone, there's nothing there to make me think this is the vocalist of Intervals, he's just a vocalist.
    LightxGrenade
    It took a bit of time for the vocals to grow on me but I ended up liking them quite a bit and as for the guitar lacking as many leads, Aaron and Co. have improved technically in every album so while there isn't as much of that it's still very interesting and challenging stuff. Having learned a Sonar and Still Winning and then purchasing the tab book for In Time made me appreciate even more how well written each song is from a guitar aspect and just how challenging it'll probably be to cover.
    Silver Blues
    "In Time" was the record that really got me into this kind of prog metal, and I will love Intervals forever for it. I was excited for this record, and I'm not disappointed. As many, I haven't heard enough of it to really make a statement about it, but I do like it a lot. Favorite song as of yet is Atlas Hour. I wasn't super thrilled about the addition of vocals, especially following the amazing performances that were their EPs, but they're actually quite good. All in all, good job IMO. I'll be buying it.
    Mahoru
    Also, I have to add that they work really well live too. I went to see them without even knowing they had added vocals and I was pleasantly surprised. Intervals were good enough as an instrumental band, but Mike's addition has helped them expand their sound a lot and improve their live presence. And they're really cool guys out of the stage, that's always welcome.
    Drapte
    Best album of 2014 so far. Guys have serious chops, once they mature a bit with their composition more we will be all scared for our lives. Overall I give this album a 10/10 though.
    Substructure
    Inverals previous release, "In Time" was awesome! Definitely one of my favorite instrumental albums. So I'm sure this will be just as great if not better, now that there's vocals :o
    BuriedAlive7x
    The five songs on "In Time" were all perfect! This new release is pretty weak, vocals are average... should've stayed instrumental.
    maowcat
    Only thing that ruined this album for me was the lyrics, really weak and although i like some of the content it felt pretty repetitive, sounds like poetic teen angst much like periphery at times. With that being said his vocal melodies were spot and really fit at times, siren sound, moment marauder, and ephemeral are my favourites overall. Gaurantee their next album will be stellar as the instrumentals are already tight. 8.5/10