2006 Goodfellow Records
2. Sores Will Weep
3. Fragments Of Character MP3
4. They (As In Them)
5. Burning These Days
When a record label re-releases a band's self-released record it generally suggests a handful of things to me. When that label happens to be Goodfellow Records, who seem to have a good ear for talent, it certainly verifies to me the assumption that the material was just too good not to be heard. It also generally means that no matter how good the songs themselves are, the recording will generally be a bit lacking. Such is the case with Null, which manages to sound remarkably accomplished in spite of a recording befitting the limited budget of an unsigned band.
The fact that Intronaut are talented isn't particularly surprising, considering that these guys are all accomplished musicians individually, including members of Exhumed and Uphill Battle, but talent doesn't necessarily guarantee good songwriting, and that's where Intronaut becomes more than the sum of its parts. Fans of Uphill Battle should remember the powerful drumming of Danny Walker and with Intronaut, his drumming comes clearly into the forefront. While part of that might have to do with the disc's slightly unorthodox mix, it definitely doesn't hurt them any. Walker is able to effortlessly insert creative fills and rolls into any pattern without being overly flashy or impeding on the song's natural rhythm. It's a fine balance of restraint and skill that I'd love to hear more drummers utilize.
Meanwhile, the guitar and vocal work of Sacha Dunable and Leon del Muerte is nearly every bit as spot on as Walker's percussion. The interplay between the two, both instrumentally and vocally, is commendable. Most of the songs consist of mid to up-tempo, discordant, sludgy metal with occasional lighter moments that provide rest from the disc's otherwise relentless style. I suppose the pace of most of these songs could be compared to Coalesce or Mastodon, but Intronaut definitely has their own style of writing and performing that sets them apart from these bands.
One of my only complaints about the record is the relative lack of a true bass presence on Null. I say "relative" because while you can definitely hear it most of the time, in comparison to the guitar and percussion work, the bass seems unimpressive. It's certainly competent and accents the songs nicely, but I just expected a bit more from Joe Lester, whose background apparently lies in jazz, funk and traditional Indian music. Perhaps Intronaut intends on remedying this on their upcoming full length. It just seems that the potential is there for some truly brilliant bass playing within Intronaut's experimental sound.
Bottom Line: While Null didn't completely blow me away, I was definitely impressed. It's reassuring that despite limited resources, a talented group of individuals can still make a great record and that some well-established independent record labels are still committed to releasing quality music when they hear it, rather than shamelessly grasping for cash. I have a feeling that once the full-length comes out, we'll all be hearing a lot more about Intronaut.