01. Eskia Tu Daemonia (feat. Alex Nagle)
02. The Intense (feat. Evan Moore)
03. New York, Yeah Scranton (feat. Jerry Jones)
04. Colon Cleanse Your Sins (feat. Jesse Korman)
05. Trampled By Horns (feat. Chris Alfano)
06. Festering (feat. Evan Moore)
07. Outlast Robinsum (feat. Tommy Rogers)
08. Anomaly Detected: Supernova Remnant N 63A (feat. Travis Weinand & Jason Herrmann)
09. The Pit of Hands (feat. Chris Alfano)
10. Man Crusher (feat. Robert Meadows)
11. Time Killer Shitter (feat. Jesse Korman)
12. The Church Forever (feat. Jerry Jones)
13. Anomaly Reached: Supernova Remnant N 63A (feat. Travis Weinand)
14. I Gave Up (feat. Robert Meadows)
15. Axis Mundi (feat. Ruston Grosse)
16. I’m a Wisdom (feat. Tommy Rogers)

[Metal Blade]

The genre often referred to as mathcore reached its peak a few years ago and has since faded out in favor of the djent and progressive x-core scenes, it seems. Heavy-hitting pioneers such as The Dillinger Escape Plan live on in success while the copycats and fellow noisemakers either died out around them or faded into obscurity. I don’t necessarily have a problem with that either; there’s a fine line between forward thinking experimentation and needless wank, and many bands failed to even find where that line was. In the last few years, the only prominent micro-genre release that I can think of that gained any sort of notoriety was Option Paralysis—but with new Metal Blade signing Intensus, a fine return of the mathcore aesthetic is upon us.

Intensus is the solo project of Knife the Glitter’s Eli Litwin, who took to the task of crafting an album through on the spot improvisation; the frantic and stuttering drum tracks were recorded in one take from start to finish, an idea that very well could have spelled disaster from the start. With a single goal in mind to achieve a visceral and intense listening experience, Litwin then recorded guitar over his drum tracks in a similar fashion. The end result could have been a major clusterfuck of needless wank and a practice of uninteresting monotony, but that was not the case. Intensus delivers on the promise of being an intense and cacophonous experience that somehow also manages to maintain some coherency throughout.

Musically, Intensus is a special breed of esoteric avant-garde that takes dissonant mathcore and welds it together with death metal, grindcore, doom, and a touch of free-form jazz in absolute reckless abandon. Expect dehumanizing percussive guitar noise alongside huge lumbering riffs, speedy tremolo picking, and ominous atmospheric playing. Litwin even manages to break apart the chaos to craft something that is somewhat morbidly serine in “Trampled by Horns.” The music isn’t entirely random noise juxtaposed together, either; while it may be the case at times, some of the music sounds like what many band’s try to write in a pre-meditated fashion. It’s hard to tell if it’s just absolute luck or that Litwin is a genius at his craft, but it actually works remarkably well.

The album’s biggest draw seems to be the motley crew of prominent guest vocalists, who each bring their own style and touch that matches the intensity set forth by the music. Frontmen of bands such as Between the Buried and Me, A Life Once Lost, The Number Twelve Looks Like You, East of the Wall, and more pop up throughout the album to compliment the atonal music with absolutely brutal growls, throat-tearing screams, and sometimes even chaotic lyricless wails of pain and anguish akin to Anaal Nathrakh‘s Dave Hunt. Just check out the punishing closer “I’m A Wisdom” featuring BTBAM’s Tommy Rogers for a taste of how out there the vocal performances on this album can be, which features horrifying atmospherics and gagging, gurgling, and insane vocal acrobatics.

Intensus isn’t for everyone, of course. Some might find the album to be an abhorrent test of patience that is void of any substance at all, which I can’t really fault. The fact of the matter is that Intensus delivers on its intention of being an overwhelming experience of brutal catharsis and progressive musicianship, which few people may actually “get.” Those that do though will have their minds blown.

Intensus – Intensus gets…


– JR

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