Monday, 27 June 2016

Intonate – The Swerve (2016) / 83%

Orphans of Sickness

We have a long standing technical death metal tradition to respect in Québec and Intonate are the brand new soldiers of this style. Their debut album takes the flexible bass fluctuations of Beyond Creation and push it towards a more dissonant and dark direction. One thing is for sure, the four musicians were able to totally play their way through the demented infernal landscape shown on the cover art with their instrumental prowess.

It’s a bit hard to distinguish progressive death from technical death as they’re often closely related. Intonate explores a lot of sensibilities here but we’re far from the ruthless and inane technicality of Necrophagist. It’s more akin to Spawn of Possession, Obscura or even the atmospheric obscurity of Ulcerate. The lyrics written by guitarist Ulysses Fiorito are smart and often conceptual (some tracks are about the ancient Akkadian empire and the city of Uruk) or based around science fiction and philosophy. They're a good fit to the aural side of the band.

The bass is thick, played by a quasi virtuoso and we’re far from the annoying sound displayed by Dominic Lapointe on an album like The Aura. The Nucciarone brothers (Dominic on drums and Nicola on guitar/vocals ), just like the Duplantier brothers of Gojira, are one hell of a fraternal duo. The drumming is intense, precise yet subtle and the airy mastering gave it the necessary place to grow. Sure, there’s guitar solos but they don’t go overboard and become a burden to go through. While they remain a technically sound band, they still deliver loads of memorable moments such as “Retribution Waters” with the grievous harsh vocals performance of Nicola.

Some tracks are lengthy but even “Eternal Seed” and its 13 minutes doesn’t seem like a never-ending ordeal to listen to. It flows very well and even if I think it’s an exhausting style of music due to its demanding nature, I managed to listen to the album several times without being bored and helpless. All in all, Intonate’s debut album, while not totally something fresh or new is an excellent offering of intelligent spatial death metal and someone should sign these guys as soon as possible!

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