The Direction of Last Things

Written by: MIN on 30/12/2015 18:34:43

The word “progressive” is often labeled on many forward-thinking bands, but is it rarely as factual as on American band Intronaut. Having just released their fifth album (fourth through Century Media), “The Direction of Last Things”, one can’t help but wonder: Will they further their sound in another direction or go back to an old one? Through every release, the band have slightly altered their sound, but here they mix all of the key-elements of those together – and the result is nothing less than marvelous. “The Direction of Last Things” combines the band’s fast and aggressive feats with their more melodic and harmonious side, creating the best and most dynamic album Intronaut has released yet.

On the album-opener and first single, “Fast Worms”, the band quickly sets the pace with a crushing polyrhythmic riff accompanied by a playful and thick layer of bass and drums, and it’s hard to tell just how many times the rhythm changes throughout the first few minutes of the song. Suddenly, you’re thrown into a jazzy middle-section which lasts a few minutes, just to be hammered down by another mastodontic guitar riff for the remaining 60 seconds. The drumming by Danny Walker is impeccable and Joe Lester’s bass-playing is adventurous as hell. It’s hard to find a better backbone for a band than the one present on this album, and the sheer force of the many different riffs showcased by Sacha Dunable and Dave Timnick is unbelievable.

The next song, “Digital Gerrymandering”, is just as varied, but has a completely different feel to it: It relies a lot more on the atmosphere created by the band, but it still contains more time-changes than you can count on both hands. The vocals are much more harmonized than the aggressive approach found on the former song, and you can’t help but think of the classic progressive rock bands of the 70s such as Yes and Camel when listening to it. This atmosphere is present throughout the entirety of the album (more emphasized on some songs than others), and it’s especially prominent on the record’s centerpiece “The Unlikely Event of a Water Landing”. The first half of the song is created by slow riffs and soft vocals that utilize a much harsher sound which suddenly explodes in an excellent throaty growl accompanied by crushing riffs. By the second half of the song, the soundscape changes, and a slow momentum makes way for an incredible bassline which is complemented by a drum-pattern trotting along nicely while still having room to play. Shortly after, a melodic guitar solo haunts the very atmosphere of the song, creating one of the most beautiful soundscapes this reviewer has heard in a few years. “The Unlikely Event of a Water Landing” manages to keep the sound of the album, explore it, and suddenly make something new and unique.

But don’t think that it’s all Mr. Nice Guy from here on out: “Sul Ponticello” is just as (if not even more) schizophrenic as the previous songs. It sets off nicely with pummeling drums, and guitar and bass riffs as gigantic as a skyscraper; within three minutes it manages to change pace from the deepest of hell to lightly treading the clouds. The second to last song, the title-track, is the second shortest one on the album, so what it lacks in number of time-changes, it makes up for in speed. The song underlines that, despite being able to flesh out every song they make, the band is able to have a more direct approach in terms of song-writing. The song is highly reliant on drumming while the two guitars have the ability to both burst out at each their moment, but also stay intertwined – just another testament of the band’s skill and diversity.

Every member of the band has amazing talent, whether it’s creating polyrhythmic and monstrous riffs, fast and playful basslines, organic and pummeling drum-patterns, or harsh growls and beautiful harmonies. But not only are all of them able to stand out on their own, they’re also able to complement each other when playing together, without sounding like a hotchpotch of different styles. Instead, it’s like a gigantic vortex that sucks in all the creativeness of every member and churns out the best possible result. “The Direction of Last Things” is an incredibly diverse and accomplished release, and it’s the best record I’ve heard all year. Although some songs are definitely bigger highlights than others, there are no weak ones, yet clocking in at 46 minutes, it’s also the band’s shortest album to date.


Download: Fast Worms, The Unlikely Event of a Water Landing, Sul Ponticello
For The Fans Of: Tool, Mastodon, The Ocean

Release date 13.11.2015
Century Media

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