Valley Of Smoke
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Valley of Smoke
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Very few bands can effectively mix intelligence with intensity like Southern California's INTRONAUT, who essentially walks a fine line between psychedelic brutality, captivating hooks and devastating yet unpredictable time changes. This is the essence of thinking man's metal and something so refreshing that it should serve as a vicious wake up call to masses forcing the entire genre to take notice. INTRONAUT took metal in a new direction with their Century Media debut, Prehistoricisms, but their sophomore offering, Valley of Smoke, will quickly solidify them as genre visionaries. This stellar new album, which Decibel Magazine praises as "One of the most anticipated albums of 2010" was once again produced by the acclaimed Josh Newell (Jane's Addiction). In 2010, INTRONAUT look to surprise the genre with an effort that will keep people on their toes wondering just what is going to hit them next.
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What's different about this release is, when I first listened to it, I was a little disappointed. I felt like Intronaut had tried to take too large a step all at once and had lost me along the way. The drums were a little too perfect and sterile, the "melodic" vocals weren't bad, but maybe a little unnecessary, and things were maybe getting a little too ambient.
But I kept listening. There was plenty to love and little to diss, so I stuck with it. And somewhere around the 10th listen or so, BAM! All at once it made perfect sense and I found myself wondering, "What the hell were you hearing before???"
This record easily surpasses Prehistoricisms. It may take you a little longer to "get it," but I know once it clicked in my head, this became the hands-down favorite. Those "too perfect drums" are ridiculously fantastic, inventive, not at all sterile, and as a drummer myself, I'm not easily impressed. This guy is the star of the show. Couple that with an equally stellar bass player and you have what may be the greatest rhythm section of all time (ok, that might be an exaggeration).
In any event, my advice is, if you don't dig it at first, but can see potential in it, give it some time. Gestation can be a very rewarding thing.