Intronaut - Valley of Smoke
Columns Kory's Quick Fix

Kory’s Quick Fix: Valley of Smoke – Intronaut

Back in 2011, I was a junior in high school. I smoked menthol Marlboros on my way to school and work, and I would listen to pirated Tool albums on my little Apple iPod (oooh so edgy). Tool was my favorite band and I listened to them incessantly. The following year, they went on tour, supported by a band from Los Angeles called Intronaut. To my dismay, I couldn’t afford the $200 tickets to their Dallas concert. However, I could afford to torrent Intronaut’s most recent album (at the time).

Thank Maynard I did!

Valley of Smoke – Intronaut

Similar Bands (based on this album) – Isis, Tool

Key Notes

  • Intronaut, in my opinion, is a shining example of progressive metal. Progressive metal is like if metal and jazz had a really cool baby. The genre is typified with complex time signatures and instrumental breaks. To a certain extent, other bands like Dream Theater and Messhugah have these qualities, but Intronaut is able to take those heavy, distorted rhythms and turn them into clean, smooth, reposes that blow their competition out of the water.
  • A key component to Intronaut’s sound is bassist Joe Lester and his five-string fretless bass guitar. Without frets, (the small metal bars on the neck of a guitar) he’s able to perform slides and chords unattainable by a bassist with a regular bass. You can hear the difference is this solo bass performance.
  • Sacha Dunable is simply amazing. He owns a guitar and pedal shop called Dunable Guitars and makes the instruments he and lead guitarist Dave Timnick by hand. You can watch him run down the complexity of these instruments before a concert in Melbourne here. The level of detail that goes into crafting the exact sound that they want is inspiring, and that transitions over to their music. Furthermore, you can watch a Chicago Music Exchange video of Sacha explaining the functions of their beautiful, handcrafted guitars here.

Here are a few of my favorite tracks!

  • “Elegy” – Not only was this song my ringtone for a while, it’s an excellent opening track. Strong front end with heavy vocals leading into smooth instrumentals.
  • “Sunderance” – A more fast-paced song. Good energy!
  • “Valley of Death” – Exceptionally beautiful song! Really accentuates that connection with jazz.

Check out their later albums as well! Habitual Levitations and The Direction of Last Things are phenomenal as the band explores different sounds in the progressive metal scope. Habitual Levitations features plenty of clean vocals and calmer tracks. The Direction of Last Things features a heavier album full of bangers, like their song “Fast Worms.”

Stay frosty out there!

Love, Peace, Chicken Grease,

Kory

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