Birthed from the loins of Los Angeles, California, Intronaut is a band as outlandish and unconventional as the land in which the group hails from. From 2004 and onward, Intronaut has maintained a quirky and unidentifiable patchwork quilt of genre-hopping Metal. The release of their first album, titled Null and Void, respectively, marked the beginning of their path.
Over the years they have released two EPs and five albums ranging from 2010’s Valley of Smoke to 2015’s The Direction of Last Things, which hit #7 on the US Hard Rock chart. Always crossing genres, their current sound is often marked by intense rhythm and heavy portions that transition into atmospheric Jazz tones. Now Intronaut continue their fascinating evolution on their newest album, Fluid Existential Inversions, which releases on Friday, February 28th, 2020, via Metal Blade Records.
So how does Fluid Existential Inversions hold up against the band’s previous five albums? As standard practice, they teamed once more teamed up Producer Josh Newell, but also called on Kurt Ballou (Converge, High On Fire) in mixing, a factor which makes for a slightly different sound.
Consisting of nine tracks, it all starts with “Cubensis” which plays with mechanical rhythms and patterns overlaid with rapid fretwork, creating a hypnotic, peculiar charm throughout its many twists and turns. This is before the synthetic hums of “The Cull” rise into a chugging guitar riff with drums that will bounce right out of your headphones. Milder than its predecessor, but also undeniably atmospheric, the track often takes long intervals to immerse you deep into the audioscapes found within.
Then “Contrapasso” whips out grinding and gritty guitar riffs for a spectacular flow of intensity and bright vibrations. Meanwhile, there is a haunting foreshadowing to the opening melody of “Speaking of Orbs” that travels between its keys and guitar, and the percussion is crisp and unyielding, which creates a charming contrast to the harmony-laden vocals. Next, there isn’t a moment to spare in “Check Your Misfortune” as the tempo moves swiftly ahead with tense vocals that yell out the lyrics, all this as the guitars cavort around one another in a ballet of raindrop-like notes and a childish glee in melody.
Overall, Fluid Existential Inversions is a textured masterpiece, allowing one piece to crackle and another to whir. The effects throughout flatter every time, whether it be the tranquil layovers of guitars with reverb or the wonderfully distorted synths. Thus, with their newest album, Intronaut twists all expectations; their own bizarre approach to Metal still exists but with utterly new genre change-ups and sonorous risks unlike before. In this, the beginnings of many of the tracks are subverted by the end, creating a rabid intrigue to discover what lies just around every corner. That is why Cryptic Rock gives Fluid Existential Inversions 4 of 5 stars.