Intronaut - Habitual LevitationsIntronaut

Habitual Levitations (Instilling Words With Tones)

01. Killing Birds With Stones
02. The Welding
03. Steps
04. Sore Sight For Eyes
05. Milk Leg
06. Harmonomicon
07. Eventual
08. Blood From A Stone
09. The Way Down

[03/19/13]
[Century Media Records]

Intronaut are one of the most interesting progressive metal/post-metal bands out there. Best described as a mix of all the right aspects of Neurosis and Isis, these four dudes wowed everyone back in 2010 with Valley Of Smoke, and ever since then have hopped on countless big-name tours, with the most recent being a Meshuggah/Animals As Leaders tour, which was basically prog heaven. But when a band has such a stellar album, it makes the amount of pressure put on the band rise tremendously. Would they be able to top their best work? Would they succeed or would they fail? After may listens to their newest album, Habitual levitations (Instilling Words With Tones) the answer is simple: they have surpassed everything they have ever done.

The band’s signature blend of metal and psychedelic rock are more apparent than ever, helping them blur the line between the two, allowing them to become one entity. The album mostly abandons the screaming of Sacha Dunable, but makes room for his cleans and Dave Timnick’s stellar harmonization. The band has not only improved their voices, but found a way to work it into many parts on this album, which is no easy feat. Listening to ‘Harmonomicon’, the opening vocal lines bring forth memories of Alice In Chains, in the days when harmonized vocals were used frequently. The lyrics on this album, penned by Dave, also contain some very memorable vocal lines, a favorite being “I wanted to look away” in the mid-section of ‘Sore Sight For Eyes,’ which is one of the heavier songs on the album. ‘Blood From A Stone’ contains some of the best lyrics the band have ever written, and it’s a beautiful song that’s simply bass and clean guitars, which the band pull of really well. It’d be pretty cool to see some of these songs played acoustically, actually, which would suit the music quite well.

These heavy songs, however, blend in with very down-tempo, almost hypnotic songs flawlessly. Surprisingly, while Intronaut have gone somewhat lighter on this album, it still feels like Intronaut. One thing that was really pleasant was how they left the rhythm section. Joe Lester’s bass is just as loud as it was on their last record, and Danny’s drums are perfectly mixed, enabling you to hear every little accent and ghost note over those intricate rhythmic parts that present themselves in songs such as ‘Milk Leg’ and ‘The Way Down’, the latter of which opens with this beautiful drum piece accompanied by some gorgeous atmosphere courtesy of the guitars and bass. It’s worth noticing that each player has also found a way to create a common musical ground where each player uses each other positively to create lush soundscapes, which only increases the sense of euphoria whilst listening to this record.

Some may be a bit critical, however. This album is nearly absent of those screams heard in songs such as ‘Australopithecus’, and that may dishearten a lot of fans, many of whom may have gotten into this band initially from their heavier material. The lack of screams, however, is compensated for by the beautiful vocal interplay of Dave and Sacha, the former of who even has some standout moments on this record. After seeing them live, it’s no surprise that both vocalists are extremely talented, but this type of vocal work is something that has seemed absent from metal music lately, which only make what these guys are doing that much more special. In defense of the band, when answering a question about how their new album will sound, they clearly stated “It sounds like Intronaut”, and though the metal has taken a backseat to more progressive rock, this review may have sounded a lot different had it been the other way around. The only gripe that anybody would possibly be able to muster about this album is the end of the album’s closing track, which has various sounds looped and distorted for nearly three minutes, which could have been replaced with an instrumental outro or even a slow fade-out of the song, but it’s a minor blemish in a beautiful piece of art.

Intronaut’s new album is the perfect example of what the word “progressive” should mean: progress. This band has come a long way since their debut LP Void, and if you listen to their discography you will hear the difference. The band has risen from the ground of post-metal and sludge and risen to ever-increasing heights in progressive rock, and it shouldn’t be any other way. Make no mistake: Habitual Levitations is as good as Intronaut have ever been, and if they can keep progressing like they have, there’s no reason for them not to become one of the biggest names in progressive music.

Intronaut – Habitual Levitations (Instilling Words With Tones) gets…

4.5/5

– SS

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