posted on 10/2008 By:
Intronaut have always been a band on the peripheral for me. As impressive as their previous releases are, for some reason they haven’t stayed with me. I always felt these guys were capable of something more, that indefinable edge that truly separates a band from its peers. With Prehistoricisms, Intronaut have delivered on all that early promise and then some. The musical palette from which the band now draws is rich and diverse, and yet at the same time they’ve never sounded more focused and singular in terms of vision. This is Intronaut’s best effort to date.
After the tantalizing intro of “Primordial Soup”, Prehistoricisms kicks into gear with “The Literal Black Cloud”. The sludgy, earth-moving riffs are a devastating reminder of how much heaviness can be wrung from a single guitar string, and these are offset by beautiful aerial sections that fans of Panopticon will surely love. Intronaut have moved further away from conventional metal structures on this album, and the musical dexterity is at times dizzying. Songs like “Any Port” and the title track revel in adventurous guitar noise and intricate melodies that have a strong post-hardcore feel. But the heavy, down-tuned grooves are never far away, such as on the brutally succinct “Cavernous Den of Shame”. The masterful bass-work of Joe Lester is again the focal point of Intronaut’s songwriting and his free-flowing rhythms are truly exceptional here.
The only real misfire on Prehistoricisms is the choppy, meandering “Sundial”. It starts out fine but the unmelodic, repetitive dirge of the second half drags on a bit too long. Things are quickly rectified however with the concise rumble of “Australopithecus”, which goes out with a bassline so satisfyingly filthy it would make Shane Embury proud. Gargantuan finisher “The Reptilian Brain” is made up of four distinct sections. The meditative, Eastern-flavored opening sounds like the dawn of time, before the bass and drums patiently build up toward the inevitable explosion at the ten-minute mark. The last few minutes wind things down with a chilled-out, off-kilter jam that leaves you ready to play the album again.
Prehistoricisms is quite simply outstanding. It’s one of those rare albums that becomes an experience rather than a mere collection of songs. Intronaut have developed their sound to such an extent that comparisons to any other band or style are not only pointless but would do them a disservice. There is a great deal to digest on Prehistoricisms and new layers are revealed with each listen, so if you’re looking for something immediately satisfying then approach this album with caution. For those who ‘get’ Intronaut however, prepare to be floored. This is one of the year’s best.
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