AlbumsNovember 29, 201110,379 views

Intronaut Valley of Smoke


01. Elegy 02. Above 03. Miasma 04. Sunderance 05. Core Relations 06. Below 07. Valley of Smoke 08. Past Tense
2010 Century Media Records
Our score 9

by Nick
12/21/2010

If I was crafty or had some sweet connections in the trophy-making industry, I'd consider plopping a shiny gold plastic van on an elevated wood stand with a clever title and inscription at the bottom. Maybe it would be called something like "The Always On Award" or "The Consistently Great Greatness Trophy of Honor." (Note that I've already gone out of my way to establish my deficiency in the crafty department, so I'm taking no responsibility for the quality of those prematurely delivered titles.) The moral of the story is that this award would go to the (very) few currently active bands that have not only released stellar albums, but have also always nailed their live set. In that regard, Intronaut fits the application requirements perfectly, with recent stellar performances on tours with Cynic and Helmet respectively, and remains one of the only bands I've been blown away by each and every time. Since great live musicianship tends to lead to quality records, having high expectations for Intronaut's latest, Valley of Smoke, was a pretty safe bet. And since the songwriting jump from The Challenger EP to Prehistoricisms was quite sizeable, the expectation of further innovation on the latest full-length was all but implied. The quick summary? These dudes have been obviously been hanging out with Mastodon and Cynic a lot. Valley of Smoke represents another step away from the faster, more traditionally metallic lean of Null and Void, instead furthering their role in defining modern, wankery-free progressive metal. Opening track "Elegy" is an immediate head-turner, thanks to one of the records biggest riffs and some throaty singing (a la Mastodon) that is a welcome addition to Sacha Dunable's already stellar screams. As the song backs away into yet another example of Joe Lester's always agile bass work and slowly adds subtle guitar lines, it's clear that this is Intronaut at the top of their game. More singing is woven into the mix as Valley of Smoke progresses, with "Above" and "Core Relations" showing off a new found knack for clean vocal harmonies. Experimentation reaches its apex with the title track, the eight and a half minute song marked by dueling bass lines (featuring Tool bassist Justin Chancellor as Lester's worthy opponent) and sparse, but rhythmically intensive drumming. The truth is, every Intronaut release has been exciting and sufficiently unique -- both in terms of where it sits in the metal scene and amongst the band's own back catalog. Yet even as we see the band push further and further into progressive/experimental metal world, they've never lost sight of the fact that a great riff is still invaluable. These guys are simply the poster boys for modern intelligent heavy music, be it categorized as metal or something else entirely. Bottom Line: If you plotted Intronaut's experimentalism vs. time, you'd see a rather clear, linearly increasing trend. Prehistoricisms was their first release to truly back away from metal and explore more subdued instrumentation, but with the help of their introduction of well-executed clean vocals and an increased tendency to explore sweeping song structures and dynamic shifts, this new record continues to push those genre limits. Valley of Smoke is truly Intronaut's progressive magnum opus.

19 comments

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anonymous 12/21/2010 11:15:36 AM

this came out forever ago but i agree with the review. awesome album


Brett__ 12/21/2010 11:29:11 AM

Good review, makes me want to hear it right now.


Henrock_ 12/21/2010 1:09:57 PM

Agree with this review 100%. Terrific album, still in my stereo.


shredtacular_ 12/21/2010 3:37:46 PM

I'm a f*cking idiot.


shredtacular_ 12/21/2010 3:41:55 PM

I'm easily amused!


Fart_ 12/21/2010 3:49:09 PM

9/10? f*ck you. 10/10.


arty_mcfarty_ 12/21/2010 5:00:07 PM

a good review for once! impressive!


donkinglipfroth_ 12/21/2010 5:51:52 PM

miasma is the best track


HBDad_ 12/21/2010 9:18:23 PM

Amazing album from start to finish, one of my favorites from this year easily!


onemeansquid_ 12/22/2010 1:37:29 AM

If I wanted to get In The Absence Of Truth v2.0 or a set of shitty Baroness b-sides I would've never figured i'd look for the band that released Null and Void. I can't f*cking stand this record.


jeremy_smith_ 12/22/2010 2:36:21 AM

god, my local hookah spot will NOT stop spinning this and i COULDNT be happier - hearing miasma while i shoot my rope into my buddy's beard...nirvana.


xmusicislifex_ 12/22/2010 9:09:36 AM

great review.....saw these guys live a few months back they were as tight as the album


superAIDS_ 12/22/2010 5:13:57 PM

wow, why don't you just go ahead and suck every member's dck? this record is executed well but it's too self-indulgent. Prehistoricisms was their peak. I understand these guys post on LG all the time but what the f*ck happened to unbiased journalism?


metal_bob_ 12/23/2010 11:25:56 AM

'Journalism' on Lambgoat...


gfos_ 12/26/2010 9:36:34 PM

Decent band, good review


tramptweaker69toxic_ 12/28/2010 4:07:42 AM

meh overall really


slothpiece_ 1/3/2011 7:51:45 AM

Bought this album the first second I could. Gave it a SOLID chance with several rotations. Don't like it even a little bit. I'm all for bands growing and experimenting but try and use some of that experimentation on ONE different vocal harmony. It's the same the ENTIIIIRE record. Most of these songs have a similar drum beat with random misplaced fills and have giant build ups that lead to absolutely nothing. Great band, just bummed out on this record. I can't talk myself in to liking it no matte


Intronaut_ 1/4/2011 4:14:48 PM

What an awful writing style. I can't stand reading more than 2 sentences of this garbage. I wish we would have never sent you this album to review. "If you plotted Intronaut's experimentalism vs. time, you'd see a rather clear, linearly increasing trend." Is this a serious sentence or were you just trying to write the dumbest shit of all time. Rate the album you f*cking idiot. Get some real f*cking people to review our album.


vcreationv_ 1/9/2011 3:04:44 AM

f*ck this shit