Sound: Meet Intronaut, a Post-Metal band from Los Angeles with technical chops and one of the best rhythm sections I have ever heard in a band. This band mixes Sludge Metal with beautiful clean sections that are not ISIS rip-offs, but are actual soundscapes created for drummer Danny Walker (Jesu, Murder Construct, Uphill Battle, Cinema Strange) and bassist Joe Lester (Mouth of the Architect) to completely jam all out and become the lead instruments. This band is extremely experimental and will surprise you, either with really ambient sections or with sudden fast and heavy as hell parts. Lead guitarist and singer Sasha Dunable (Anubis Rising) is able to write great original riffs that never become formulaic. Intronaut never have to depend on drum fills to advance through the song or choruses to make their point. Leon Del Muerte, rhythm guitarist, is very able to coordinate his guitar parts to Dunable's, creating sustaining dissonant and atmospheric layers of sound.
It actually seems contradictory to call the bassist and drummer the rhythm section of this band, as the mix is put out in a way that the bass can always be heard no matter what, and when it is not following Walker's drumming, it is up front and leads the band. Intronaut also puts itself very well live, Dunable and current rhythm guitarist Dave Timnick are on each opposing side of the stage, with Joe lester completely up front in the center and Walker right behind him. If you have the chance to see this band live, I demand you do so, you will certainly not be disappointed.
Void is a fantastic album but it however can drag on with a few unmemorable parts here and there that could have been improved. All the songs are in the ~6 minute range, which could have also been varied a bit in order to bring out some different approaches to songwriting and experiment a tiny bit more out of their usual method. Intronaut is certainly a band that grows on you tons and I recommend to actually listen to the music instead of putting it as background music which can be hard especially cruising the interbutts, but I trust fans of the genre to appreciate this band. // 9
Lyrics: On this album, there are Scott Kelly-like growls coming from Dunable with Muerte growling right behind. It is the signature sludgy post-metal growl for a reason, it fits the music so damned well. However, it can certainly be said that more variation would be beneficial for this band, perhaps going higher or lower in order to not be lost in the mix as it sometimes is. Vocals are clearly not the main output of this band's sound but they certainly do not diminish the overall effect on the listener.
The lyrics are hit and miss on this record, and are hardly recognizable anyways, they're not meant to be the main attraction. However, that is not to say they do not bring out some heavy memorable moments: "Gargantuan malformation, Worms through the path." on A Monolithic Vulgarity, "Monolithic blocks of ice, Stacked to the sky / But when the balance is disrupted, The iceblocks will rain down." from Iceblocks, "Nostalgic echo, Perpetually reverberates, In the teeth of all experience, We still stand." from Nostalgic Echo. These lyrics certainly fit the entire image and sound of Intronaut, which is certainly hard to put down in words but is executed well by Dunable. // 8
Overall Impression: Void (2006) is a brilliant first LP by Intronaut and is often compared to proggier second LP Prehistoricisms (2008) but both are outstanding achievements in a genre that are full of bands that can sound the same (ISIS and Neurosis soundalikes). Intronaut also have released two EPs, Null (2006) and The Challenger (2007) which are must-haves for fans of the band. Intronaut is currently working on Valley of Smoke (2010) which is set for release in October. The new song "Elegy" can be found on their myspace blog.
Void is an album that flows together very well and honestly does not have a one or two standout tracks or a lesser one. Personal favorites are most probably Nostalgic Echo, Teledildonics, A Monolithic Vulgarity and Rise To Midden. Every song is full of crushing riffs, beefy growls, jazzy lead bass, clean soundscapes, fantastic aggressive drumming, catchy guitar parts and experimental songwriting to assemble it all together.
Intronaut have come out of the underground extremely rapidly, releasing three LPs and two EPs in 4 years and have toured with sludge juggernauts Mastodon/Kylesa in 2009, aswell as metal legend Cynic in summer of 2010. They are definitely a band to look out for in the very nearby future with their new LP and other touring possibilities. They can only improve with their sound and go up as a fantastic band in this genre and beyond. // 10