Intervals – The Space Between – 3.5/5
It's no secret that over the past few years we've seen a dramatic rise in the proficiency of musicians, seeming to sprout out of nowhere from the depths of obscurity and demonstrating a level of competency that used to be reserved for the virtuoso's who'd spent half their lives dedicated to perfecting their craft. “Intervals,” are another example of precisely such a band; these Canadian newcomers offering this 20 minute work for free as a means to promote themselves and indeed, that's largely how I came about it, and at first it's pretty hard not to be at least mildly impressed by the wealthy of talent on display, particularly where the guitars become concerned.
The problem I have here has nothing to do with competency, but as technical proficiency has improved there is an ever growing concern that it's taken over too much of the focus, with the actual song compositions coming second fiddle. Arguably “Behold... the Arctopus” reign supreme where what's being played matters less than playing it quickly, but I can't help but get much the same impression when listening to this, though by no means anywhere near to that extent. There's remarkably little 'down time;' bearing many similarities to “Animals as Leaders,” what element they have that's amiss here is a break from the speed for something atmospheric and melodic; something catchy that manages to sink itself into your mind. There are some synths tossed around but it never really feels like anything substantial; it never feels the sci-fi element they occasionally hint at has any real core purpose, and when breakdowns occur it plays off a little like a bad Meshuggah off cut, monotonously droning on and dragging it all out until something of note actually happens. It all just gets a bit repetitive.
Particularly when there are no vocals involved, as is the case here, the music's composition has to be filled with purpose; it needs an atmosphere to promote as in “Chimp Spanner's” work; a sense of emotion or an effective line that draws the listener in. Vocals typically do an excellent job at evoking the human part of us and engage us with the music, and without them they need to pay careful attention to making sure the rest of the band is up to scratch, which strangely enough they do seem to eventually figure out. The finalé, 'Inertia,' opening up with a gentle melody that proves that when they slow things down a bit, they aren't half bad, successfully managing to find a balance between all the instruments; the complex guitar work (and not just djent riffs), technical but never jarring drumming and the synth work in the background, though it still kicks its heels and aimless bumbles along around the mid point. Before this emerged I'd have said they were a band that arrived late to the scene and added nothing new, but if they can manage to build on this then 'Intervals' may definitely be a band to watch out for in the near future.
Over the years this has grown into my own personal project, reviewing the artists that I discover and interest me. If you wish to see more of my work, particularly my more metal-orientated material, you can find me as a regular contributor for the online magazine
Posted by T. Bawden Wednesday, 22 February 2012