Label: Century Media
Release Date: March 19, 2013
Southern, California’s progressive metal giants, Intronaut, are set to release the band’s fourth full length album, Habitual Levitations (Instilling Words With Tones)“.
Intronaut is a forward thinking and psychedelic progressive metal band that incorporates the use of poly-rhythms, intense and haunting melodies and vocal harmonies, and the combination of several jazz elements. You may also find traits of progressive rock, psychedelic stoner rock, and ethnic rhythms hailing from that of Indian, African, and Afro-Latin origins.
Diving into this album, all I had to go with on the band’s sound was the description given to me through research and a quick peek at their 2010 album, Valley of Smoke. Valley of Smoke was definitely an album I could find myself getting into as they took a harsh and darkened approach to progressive metal unlike what you would hear from a majority of the genre.
Habitual Levitations ends up being a very solid album. The darkened introduction to the album immediately captivated me, especially as it keeps a somewhat constant ominous vibe from beginning to end. This vibe isn’t necessarily a blanket or a shroud that covers every single note. Instead, you’ll find that it is blended into the mix at the right moments. This ominousity differs from Valley of Smoke, as it comes off in a more passive manner.
Intronaut rarely becomes harsh in this work. It seems they are accentuating the psychedelic characteristics quite a bit more, or at least making them more apparent. If you dig jazz influenced metal, this album will definitely work for you. The use of melodies (sometimes with two occurring at the same time), audible and amazing bass work, and the intricate twists and turns of rhythms, Habitual Levitations does the job well of standing out.
Although a consistent album, there were still an abundance of highlights throughout that intrigued me to no end. “The Welding” is probably the heaviest track, containing the interesting use of off the wall piercing stabs of guitar. This and the contrasted playing of soaring guitar work, kept my ears on their toes. Add in the technical finish at the end and you have yourself one of my favorite pieces.
“Steps” is another example of differentiating prowess that did very well in mixing up the “intense” and calm. “Sore Sight For Eyes” came off with a different energy than others, as the instrumental work was more uplifting and just had that overall different attitude. It didn’t feel as somber.
“Eventual” is the perfect example of the psychedelic Intronaut many know them for. Completely mellowed out and trippy for any ones amusement.
Overall, I found Habitual Levitations to be quite the heavy hitter. The great production combined with excellent musicianship and songwriting pushes this album on top of many of the others released so far. The longer tracks are another positive for me, as some of these span for more than four to five minutes, which is very surprising (but also not surprising considering the genre). An album that clocks in to almost an hour is somewhat refreshing. This could steer other listeners away though.
However, I did find myself finding a few things that didn’t settle well with this. Some sections of the tracks felt like they just dragged on more than they needed to. This wasn’t helped by some of the vocal work, as they came off to be monotonous. I feel that if you’re going to be experimental and progressive, you should also consider the vocals as part of that. It is just my opinion and a small gripe, nothing to really cry over.
Check out this release, especially if you’re a prog head or looking for an album that mesmerizes the ears.