Friday, December 14, 2012

Intervals - In Time (EP) (2012)

Time is a funny thing, isn't it? Some bands take years to write and record new music, often leaving their fans in a seemingly endless purgatory of back catalog and YouTube videos. Others manage to churn out disc after disc of mediocre material, without ever stopping to realize they are alienating the people who pay for their work. If only there was a way to do both; keep the music fresh and evolving, without taking forever to make it happen. Just ask Intervals, an djent band from Canada. Only ten months after their debut EP, "The Space Between," hit the airwaves, the band are back with another attempt at instrumental glory. And despite the short span from disc to disc, Aaron Marshall and company are showing everyone that time is just a unit of measure, not a boundary. The five tracks of "In Time" are proof.

With a series of eerie effects, "Alchemy" builds from nothing into something. A wealth of electronic beats get progressively louder before launching into a full fledged metal assault. With two guitars, it allows the band ample opportunity to create texture with dense chugging, while also leaving room for some wild solo work, something they do with gusto. As an intro track, it works to perfection. As you move from one to the next, the longer and more intricate "Mata Hari," it is easier to detect the delicate level of balance the band are working with. Minus a vocalist, it puts extra pressure on the leads to carry through verse and chorus section. The versatility the band displays in accomplishing this here is extraordinary, showing great maturity in both the writing and execution. Sure, there are still moments where blitzes of chords and rattling drums seem to hinder the momentum created in the melodies, but it manages to even itself out by tracks end. As you move just past the three minute mark, there is a passage of true genius, bringing the heavy and sublime together in one small chunk. A deftly played solo takes you to the finish, tying you in knots along the way.

Unlike their previous effort, track length does not have an adverse affect on the writing process, something made very clear on "Tapestry." The guitar melody that dominates the first two minutes is as good, if not better, than any vocal would have been. Even the more basic chugging pieces are done to perfection, seeing the guitars lock in step with the kick drums and bass in a sledge hammer of sound and fury. Even electronic touch adds another dimension to it all, showing off the seemingly limitless ceiling. Through every moment of the five minute plus track, there is never a note or snare out of place. Taking on a far more assertive tempo, "Momento" is one step away from a power metal instrumental. It carries all of the atmospheric quality that more experienced bands search for, without compromising the perfectly fine tuned mix. each layer helps to elevate the one above it, while also supporting the one below it. Even the more simple segments come together in a beautiful harmony. For those unfamiliar or unsatisfied thus far, "Epiphany" may be exactly what the name implies. One part djent masterpiece, one part virtuosic metal, the track is the poster child for what this style could evolve into. Guitars take on the vocal role, as well as maintaining their grip on the lead melody. It is all so smooth, while still managing to give the impressive of being rough around the edges.

For a band who took a mere ten months between EPs, Intervals have taken a huge leap forward from one offering to the next. Each and every fault on the first EP was not only corrected, but perfected here. Rather than be content to wallow in the cesspool of mediocre djent bands from across the globe, they elected to separate themselves from the pack in a profound way.I am not sure if there is a story to be told in the titles of their discs, but it seems evident in listening to these five tracks that "In Time" is a warning to metal fans the world over. If you haven't yet been won over by the immense riffs and intricately constructed songs of Intervals, you will be... in time.


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