Intronaut Prehistoricisms

Intronaut Prehistoricisms
Along with Mouth of the Architect and the Ocean, Los Angeles-based Intronaut are the best exponents of the post-core subgenre. Losing founding guitarist Leon Del Muerte might prove fatal for any other band but Intronaut bounce back with even more intelligent, tech-tinged prog metal, making Prehistoricisms their finest hour yet. "The Literal Black Cloud” takes its cues from Opeth, its doom-y foundation resplendent with melodic breaks and complex fingerings. The Mastodon-like "Cavernous Den of Shame” has amazing bass/drum interplay, with shimmering guitar washes like Boston’s Junius, thanks to electric/acoustic bassist Joe Lester, who owes much to King Crimson’s Tony Levin, and drummer of the year Danny Walker, metal’s new Neil Peart. A graphing calculator is required to chart the course of the six-minute title track, while Lester and Walker switch to Levin/Bozzio mode in "Any Port” for astonishing stretches of organic rhythm exercises, ending with an extended upper-tom solo like a jazzy Neurosis. "Sundial” has passages of coruscating Cave In-like guitars but the 16-minute behemoth "The Reptilian Brain” steals the album’s spotlight. Subdivided into five suites, it begins with ethno-ambient tones unheard since Trial of the Bow then zigzags fluidly across Gordian Knot-blazed paths, highlighting each instrument at its peak performance. More vibrant than ever, Intronaut enter the second phase of their soon-to-be-storied career with Prehistoricisms, easily another year-end best pick.

Your previous release, The Challenger, marked the end of one phase of Intronaut, with Leon’s departure. But was he holding the band back from true prog greatness?
Guitarist Sacha Dunable: I wouldn’t ever say Leon held us back from anything; he was 25 percent of the creative input for the band. So when he left, Dave [Timnick] filled that gap up with his own contributions and we made this record. Leon brought more of a "heavy” approach and Dave, being new, pretty much wanted to complement the more laidback, prog-y approach the rest of us, in one way or another, have.

Obviously David is a capable musician. What new ideas does he bring to the Intronaut table?
Dave has always been more of a drummer. In fact, he hadn’t played guitar in a band in maybe ten years before Intronaut, but he’s incredibly musical and has an amazing ear for melody, harmony and especially rhythm. He’s good at splitting hairs on time signatures and harmonies while we’re writing, which definitely made us all get our acts together as well.

Why did you get Josh Newell to produce the album? His production isn’t overly metal.
Josh has been a friend for years and he just happens to work at a studio in L.A. where all these big mainstream people have recorded. We tried to keep everything on this album in the family, so to speak, from artwork to the production. He’s a metal head and knows what we want and we don’t feel bad when we yell at him. (Century Media)