INTRONAUT — Prehistoricisms (review)

INTRONAUT — Prehistoricisms album cover Album · 2008 · Atmospheric Sludge Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
5/5 ·
It has taken a while to absorb the dense sound of this band. Intronaut sits vocally close to Neurosis, a band that I deeply admire but find hard to get into as well. As usual, it helped to let the album rest for a while and to give it another spin a few months later.

The music is truly unique, an eclectic blend of stoner doom, post metal, jazz progressions and constantly varying tempos and time signatures. Especially the fretless bass and drums are highly captivating and should please all fans of fusion. The rest needs time: the guitars wade through dense chromatic chords and the vocals won't be your preferred option for a romantic night. They are the only element in the music that could be tagged slightly 'extreme' although they are not aggressive, rather heavy, morose and nihilistic. They might be off-putting to sensitive ears but they are not obtrusive and used sparingly.

The nature of the music is rarely violent though, it’s heavy yes, but it’s mainly experimental and, if that matters to you, it’s truly progressive. Yes you can rest assured; the songs aren’t a typical succession of metal riffs. In fact, there are hardly any metal riffs at all, it’s a developing stream of themes, repeated in different tonalities, in constant flux and - well yes – progressing. In fact, there is very little here that you could call metal, especially given how organically this music sounds and flows, which isn’t really a feature of metal. Name it heavy fusion if you like.

It would be hard, but also unnecessary to pick out highlights. This is an album to experience in one sitting. If the vocals put you off, you can have a try at the 16 minute instrumental closing track. It starts with a 5-minute kraut exploration, goes into fusion and culminates with a very dissonant take on Tool and modern King Crimson. So it sums up what these guys are up to in one strong piece. Other songs like Prehistoricisms reveal some Bauhaus and Sonic Youth flavours in the guitar playing next to the prominent Voivod influences.

For once I’m not surprised at the raving reception this album got. This is original and highly challenging music that defies any categorization and deserves 5 stars easily.
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