Progressive Metal is one genre that keeps throwing surprises at you no matter how many times you have listened to a record in its entirety and wondered “Sweet damn, what can be better than this?” (Animals as Leaders? DispersE?). Likewise happened with yours truly, when I happened to think that Intervals are playing to their strengths in their sophomore EP, “In Time” given how many crazy layers of guitaring I sat and gaped at. “A Voice Within” takes the band in the right direction from a musicianship aspect.
“Ephemeral” had been on regular replays long since before the album released. Exhibiting more than just the sum-of-parts of their new role alterations, “Ephemeral” is just the right kind of track that would make any new enthusiast want to dig deeper into what “A Voice Within” has to offer. Imagine August Burns Red transforming from the Messengers era to their current multi-faceted Progressive Metalcore which went so far as to feature some flamenco guitar-work; tracks like “Moment Marauder” and “The Self Surrendered” are somewhat of an extension of that template, while still managing to retain their instrumental-era goodies, which is again in turn demonstrated in the dreamy and blissful back-to-back numbers, “Breathe” and “The Escape”.
Given how much I have started enjoying longer and longer guitar passages these days “A Voice Within” holds plenty of repeat value for me as there is much to be learned in terms of balance the band maintained in between the new front man and the (erstwhile? No Way) forefront of the music, the crazy brainchild of amazing musicians the likes of Anup Sastry and Aaron Marshall. Although the guitars are what mesmerized me the most on the record, “A Voice Within” also capitalizes on the bass-work too, and needless to say the proverbial “rumble from down under” does justice to the instrumental segments.
“Out-of-the-box” would be the right phrase to describe the band once you move towards the last half of the album. The melodic feels have long been replaced with frantic-paced hooks and riffs. The vocals are delivered often in a measured-softly sung fashion, which leave plenty of time to let your mind catch up with all that has been going on the instrumental front. The title track rounds off the album in the best possible way, replicating the same dreamy guitar-work meets articulately delivered vocals. Of course, it goes without saying, there is no sign of monotony for the band has aced where most bands these days do not: Making every track NOT sound like each other!
Maybe I’m just going overboard with the catchiness thingie but there is no denying Intervals have unearthed the best possible dimension to their future material. Melding the crazy, technical guitar-work with the melodic quality that one can usually associate with a good solid Hard Rock numbers soaring yet measured vocal lines: I guess this says it best, Mike Semesky’s potential as a musician had barely scratched the surface with his previous bands.
Joining the line-up, as the toast of Modern Progressive Metal, along with contemporaries such as DispersE, Wide Eyes and Means End, intervals have just cemented their place as a serious player to always keep an eye on and to expect exciting compositions from. This time I finish an Intervals record believing the band has something even better and mould-breaking up its sleeve that it’s going to unleash in the next album.