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Intronaut - Valley of Smoke CD (album) cover

VALLEY OF SMOKE

Intronaut

 

Experimental/Post Metal

3.80 | 59 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

siLLy puPPy
4 stars The year 2008 was a good one for INTRONAUT as they signed onto a worldwide deal with Century Media Records and hit a home run with their amazingly brilliant "Prehistoricisms." The band followed up with a successful touring schedule with Kylesa and Mastodon as well as the Great Indian Rock Festival in Dehli, India. Two years later INTRONAUT followed up that album in a most unexpected way with their 2010 release VALLEY OF SMOKE. There was a new direction a-brewing and the most noticeable aspect is the toning down the overall harshness and adding heavier doses of post-rock thus creating a thick atmospheric slick of post-metal with healthy portions of sludgery on the side. The band enjoyed the luxury of a stable lineup as well and on this one sees a cameo appearance of Justin Chancellor from Tool adding a second bass on the title track.

The opening track "Elegy" belies the direction of the album as it sounds like the signature progressive post-rock infused sludge metal that the band has been conjuring up from day one, complete with progressively constructed distorted riffs, shouted vocals and jazz- infused song structures. Starting with the second track "Above" Sacha Dunable seems to leave the harsh extreme vocals behind for the most part and focuses more on a clean atmospheric approach reminding me of the clean parts on later Enslaved albums in mood and dynamics. While the shouting pops up intermittently there is much more attention paid to the lighter aspects of the band's sound. This is an approach they would even further on the following album "Habitual Levitations."

After a perfect album like "Prehistoricisms" i hardly expected a repeat in its successful formula and i'm glad INTRONAUT didn't try to simply recreate it. I have to admit that i was initially disappointed by the approach on VALLEY OF SMOKE upon first listen as they seem to be on the same trajectory as The Ocean or even Mastodon where they began their career as uncompromising heavy sludge outfits and have slowly drifted towards the more ethereal and atmospheric pastures of post-rock infused sludge metal but after a few listens this one does sink in and the progressive time signature workouts accompanied by seasoned musicians and the stellar production of Josh Newell only makes this one better after every spin. True that it will never dethrone what came before in my book but VALLEY OF SMOKE is still quite the sophisticated atmospheric sludge metal attack with lots of post-rock meanderings. Unlike "Prehistoricisms" which i can put on any time and fall into the musical ecstasy zone, VALLEY OF SMOKE requires me to be in the right mood to want to hear, but when i am this one does deliver the goods.

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |

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