The Direction of Last Things
(Century Media Records)
When I first heard rumblings that Intronaut’s new album, The Direction of Last Things, was going to be the heaviest release the band had put out in quite some time, I was a bit worried. Being an Intronaut fan since the Prehistoricisms days, I have seen the band grow and evolve in so many different ways, and my mind had settled on the definition of what I had thought an Intronaut album should sound like. I had grown to love the more mellow, droney side of Intronaut, and thought that if the band was going to go back to their heavier sound, we’d be losing the more atmospheric touches done so well on Valley of Smoke and Habitual Levitations. Boy, was I wrong, because The Direction of Last Things ended up to be a terrific culmination of everything that makes Intronaut great.
Direction sets the tone for the album immediately. The opening track, “Fast Worms,” establishes the return of Intronaut’s more aggressive side, welcoming back screams, polyrhythms, and even clean vocals in the first minute of the track alone. The song soon morphs into an array of the band’s signature sounds—call and response play between the guitars, slow, instrumental, jazzy grooves, and even those clever, uniquely constructed chords we’ve come to expect from prior releases.
Through the course of the album, not only will you head bang to some surprisingly crushing riffs, you’ll get also get lost in some of the most beautiful and powerful atmospheric sections the band has done to date. The incredible duo of harmonizing cleans vocals of guitarists Sacha Dunable and Dave Timnick paint some truly remarkable moods, as evident on “City Hymnal,” “Digital Gerrymandering,” and “Sul Ponticello.”
The musicianship shown on this album is absolutely astounding each step of the way. The pair that make up my favorite rhythm section in modern metal, bassist Joe Lester and drummer Danny Walker, still shine as brightly as ever. Lester has gotten more modest since the days of Prehistoricisms, but not in any way does that take away from his performance. The bass lines still flourish with counter melodies, chords, and walks, though they’re more complimentary now than show stealing. Walker, however, is as relentless as ever, demonstrating his prowess in intricacies throughout every mood on the album. Seriously, this guy never stops. The articulations, fills, and tricks are just as much fun to listen to as they are to watch live.
What steals the show in Direction, however, is the consistently creative and imaginative guitar work carefully crafted on each track. Dunable and Timnick push the band farther than they’ve ever gone on every end of the spectrum. The heavy parts are heavier, the weird parts are weirder, and there are more technical riffs on this album than I can remember from any other release. The album’s title track’s main riff seriously goes down as one of my all-time favorites from this group.
From start to finish, The Direction of Last Things is simply a triumph. Its constantly changing tones, mathematical rhythms, and carefully constructed songs are stronger than they ever have been. These songs are in your face, they’re unpredictable, they’re hypnotic, and you’ll enjoy every step of the way. This one is going to stay in my rotation for a long, long, time. (Ivan Torres)