RIYLAnimals as Leaders
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I never thought it would have to be me to do it, but even I will begrudgingly admit that “djent” is getting a bit old by the end of 2012. The problem is not that every band who claims to have some sonic lineage to Meshuggah or Periphery is inherently bad; it is that there are so damn many of these groups, especially with the rise of stream-for-free sites like Bandcamp. However, Canada’s Intervals is a bands that is on the rise at the perfect time.
The band could lazily be lumped in with the ambidjent movement, as these Canucks featured down-tuned, high-gain guitar interplay while eschewing vocals. To be completely fair, the band’s first EP, The Space Between, did little to differentiate the band from the metric boatloads of instrumental bedroom projects that rose in the wake of Misha “Bulb” Mansoor. Sure, there were nifty riffs and interesting passages, but when we fast-forward to 2012, it has all become a bit stale by now. A band needs to do a bit more to attract attention.
Thankfully, these Canadians are a step ahead of a wise old soul from the Midwest, as In Time finds the band (must resist urge to make time puns…) one step ahead of the hoard. One listen to the group's second EP is enough to woo most casual fans of modern progressive metal. There is more going on than Periphery worship, and that alone may be the band’s saving grace. In Time is much more progressive than technical, as songs weave in and out of moods. “Alchemy” and “Mata-Hari” are more straight-forward thrashers, bowing at the almighty riff altar, while “Tapestry” and “Momento” exude a progressive post-hardcore style that is certainly welcome amidst the high-gain.
What really sets the EP apart from the standard ambidjent affair is the attention to melody. Too often instrumental bands feel weighed down by a lack of vocals, but Intervals' music is the type that sounds perfectly content going solo. I am sure someone like Dan Tompkins would serve the band well, but as the EP stands, there is an ample amount of melody with the guitar work alone. There are leads, solos, and riffs galore. Calling an instrumental album “catchy” seems a bit off, but “Tapestry” will happily weave itself into the tapestry of your mind.
Overall, this is not quite a perfect distillation of the djent sound, but Intervals has certainly delivered a highly enjoyable slice of progressive metal. Because of the songwriting ability these Canucks clearly have, it is evident that the band could be setting up the stage for bigger things with their future full-length debut. For now, the band has released a successful second EP at the right time.