Intervals - In Time
Canada isn’t a place I’ve ever been to, but media representation has led me to believe it is a land of snow, ice, snow, trees, lakes, rare and often dangerous animals, and snow. This doesn’t sound much like a place which could brew up a band as cosmopolitan, tech-savvy and generally nice as Intervals, who hail from Toronto, Ontario! Having created a fair racket with their debut EP, ‘The Space Between’, last December, I was intrigued to hear what they’d come up with this time round with their new release ‘In Time’.
The opening of an album is key to its appeal, as this is the first and main chance for the artist to grab its audience and let them know what they want to convey with their creations. The first track of ‘In Time’ is called ‘Alchemy’; however, I personally would have chosen a different name: ‘Binary’. Alchemy is something I would associate with a failed experiment, a dead end in science, a pointless experiment that spiraled far out of control. Binary, on the other hand, is the language of information, a way of quantifying the uniqueness of a particular message. The best thing about binary language is that it’s very adaptable and simple: you only need re-arrange two integers and you’re away! That is what I believe makes Intervals’ songwriting so engaging: the melodies are brilliantly simple and communicative, the rhythmic grooves flow unhindered by a need to rush: in short, the songs feel extremely natural and show clearly that we have in Aaron Marshall a songwriter and composer of some talent! The start to the release could be called tentative, but I think that it eases the listener into the release the way a good opener should, heightening the suspense before the first of many killer riffs falls into place. The glitchy electronic flickers are reminiscent of the spearheads of the sound pioneered by many in the instrumental djent community, such as Bulb or Animals As Leaders, but they don’t feel like they’re there purely for the sake of it: this is a professional piece of modern metal, and it has a shiny gloss to it that ‘The Space Between’ fell slightly short on. The production is just that much better than before: the drums are more rounded in their sound, not at all tinny and over-compressed, giving more weight to the mix, and the guitars still have the really warm, embracing tone that only some djent artists, such as Sithu Aye, have got right.
As far as consistency goes, the EP is a very solid release from start to finish. Each song has a great melodic theme that is recycled and re-used to brilliant effect, each song has a couple of huge riffs that let you think “yep, that would floor a live audience”. ‘Mata Kari’ is a great example of this consistency: direction is maintained throughout the song, the main motif has that catchiness and ease which all great melodies have, and the riffs are subtly altered here and there as if as to keep you from drifting off into an ethereal dimension within the music. However, the standout song for me, by a long shot, was ‘Tapestry’. The opening chord progression really tugged at the innermost reaches of my soul, and the heartwrenchingly brilliant opening guitar solo, underlain with broken chords, had an all-encompassing beauty that seemed to stop time itself. Then, at 1:45, when the real groove breaks on the shoreline, it has the gravitas of one of those enormous 30 ft waves that are tamed by the best surfers. An instrumental song of the calibre of ‘Tapestry’ and hard to pull off, but Intervals have ridden this one perfectly, with some help in the form of an inspired solo by none other than Olly Steele of Monuments.
It’s been almost a year since ‘The Space Between’, and Intervals certainly haven’t wasted this time. The intervening 10 months have been spent honing their craft as songwriters, building a strong fanbase, and making good their preparations for a future as a strong presence in the djent scene. This is not a release of the originality or creative genius that other modern metal artists such as Hypno5e, The Korea or The HAARP Machine have produced thus far in 2012, but it does show a strong sense of direction and a maturity and clarity of sound. Don't miss out on this one.
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