REVIEW album Old Subbacultcha Old Subbacultcha

Prog-tech metallers Intervals add vocals to the mixer with impressive results

Old Subbacultcha

Old Subbacultcha

Intervals unleash their debut full-length 'A Voice Within' on Basick Records


Having made the successful transition from solo project to fully-fledged touring unit in the space of three years, the next step for founding member Aaron Marshall and Toronto-based progressive metallers Intervals after two well-received instrumental EPs might not initially appear quite so daunting. The implementation of vocals, provided by the band’s last bassist Mike Semesky, has not only predictably imbibed the band’s music with a far greater emotional impact; it’s made them great to listen to.

The soaring introductory, syncopated thud of Ephemeral acts as a superb introduction to A Voice Within, with an addictive beat laced married to a glorious lead melody. At the same time, it acts as a sign of Intervals’ intentions; the ability to bludgeon without descending into the chaotic, repetitive rhythmic thuds employed by so many peddling a similar style. Semesky’s vocals help in that department, with not a single scream, growl or rasp to be heard and further strengthening the band’s identity. Everything, from each crisp snare drum hit from the ever-reliable Anup Sastry to each clean or distorted guitar twang hits cleanly but with ferocity.  It takes a little time for the record’s heavier moments to strike a memorable chord, the band steering clear of simple two-note chugs for more progressive, expansive attempts like the urgent, thrash-tinged Automaton. Strangely, failing to further explore that aforementioned identity is what holds A Voice Within back in some quarters. Centrepiece Breathe, an instrumental palette-cleanser features an absolutely gorgeous melody that isn’t truly explored before The Escape thuds into view. It’s an opportunity lost to expand upon some impressive groundwork that veered away from a cacophony of distorted riffs, further exacerbated by the title-track’s successful marriage of low-tuned, accented riffs and a soft, melodic break down. This, coupled with good-not-memorable entries like Moment Marauder and Breathe’s aforementioned successor doesn’t kill the nine-track effort, but it does pull it down a little. Further exploration into Intervals’ less bombastic tendencies might turn A Voice Within into a standout release in 2014, but it’s a great record regardless, and there’s surely plenty of time for further experimentation further down the line. A Voice Within remains powerful and enjoyable throughout, making their first use of vocals a shrewd, worthwhile move. 8/10 A Voice Within is out now on Basick Records, and you can get it