After a debut album and two EPs under their belt the members of INTRONAUT were only getting warmed up it seems. Another member change with Dave Timnick taking over guitar duties after the departure of Leon del Muerte seems to have been the necessary ingredient to grant INTRONAUT that magical prestidigitation to whip up and unleash their absolute wildest and most experimental album of their career. PREHISTORICISMS continues their reputation as an intellectual extreme metal band that seamlessly blends together elements of post-rock, psychedelia and crushing sludge metal brutality all laid out in the most satisfying of musical deliveries of the ages. This is the album that even made the critics go gaga and publications such as Decibel, Metal Maniacs, Outburn, Revolver and so on praised INTRONAUT as the next best thing and after hearing this musical masterpiece it isn’t too overly difficult to understand why.
The band goes about their usual business as before intermingling placid post-rock segments that once the listener is lured into a state of hypnotic bliss is sonically assaulted with catchy brutal riffs that sustain long enough to establish their dominance only to have the false sense of security shattered by unpredictable time signature changes that wend and wind the compositions through highly progressive head bangin' territory. While all the members are brilliant on their respective instruments, it’s worthy of mentioning the above and beyond the call of duty of fretless bass player Joe Lester who infuses the sound with the technical jazz fusion aspects. Equally vital to the new technical achievements is former Jane’s Addiction engineer Josh Newell, who blends together the seamless transitions between the soft and silky contemplative parts and the hardcore brutality by smoothing out any potential awkwardness between the contradictory styles on display.
While PREHISTORICISMS is undeniably the sound of INTRONAUT, the band went for broke and evolved every aspect of their sound to the next level. The compositions have been crafted carefully as to retain their signature sludge bombast all wrapped up with creative uses of slide guitar, fretless bass, highly technical drumming and ambient jazz-infused soundscapes. Timnick’s riffing style is top notch with its fuzzed fury graciously fusing with Sacha Dunable's aggressively screamed vocals with an emphasis on lyrical intellectualisms and concepts of the most primitive and atavistic aspects of the human experience. As mentioned, what really sets this release apart from its predecessors isn’t the excellent musicianship that is present on all of their material but rather the infusion of the jangly post-rock and jazz-infused technicalities. While throughout the majority of the album we are treated to brutal jarring dissonant orotundity, on the final track “The Reptilian Brain (Sleep, Eat, Shit, Fight, Fuck)” we are treated to a five part suite that begins like an Indian raga with sitars and tribal drums and slowly evolves into a 16 minute plus progressive behemoth that develops into a sludge metal monster that satisfies on all musical levels.
Not only is this my favorite INTRONAUT album but this is one of my favorite albums of all time. This is not only a desert isle pick but one that takes many of my disparate musical interests and throws them all together. The success lies not in the fact that these elements are all included but rather in how well crafted their inclusions are and how meticulously placed together in a logical sequence they exist while still finding improvisational space to deliver jarring surprises when least expected. The heavy down-tuned guitars and fretless bass work together in harmony while the percussion takes the listener on an exotic counter-journey. The rhythms, tones, timbres and tempos are all sorted out in a way as to allow the psychedelic and the sludge to not only coexist but to play together and dance the night away. This is highly recommended for anyone who craves mass quantities of intelligent design stamped upon every musical measure and imbued with exemplary musical maestrohood.