Album – A Voice Within
Genre – Progressive Metal
Rating – 10/10
Intervals are a progressive metal band from Toronto. They have been releasing music since 2011, beginning with their debut EP “The Space Between” which was followed by their second EP “In Time” a year later. Both releases were strictly instrumental, naturally making their 2014 full length record “A Voice Within” being the first release to feature vocals.
‘A Voice Within’ is quite a fitting title for the 2014 full-length record by the groove-oriented progressive metal group, Intervals. Not only is this their first release with vocals (coming from the smooth voice of Mike Semesky, previously of The HAARP Machine), but it expands on the foundation laid down by the previous two EPs. Absolutely devastating riffs complimenting intense, soaring melodies and complex drum patterns, this time with the aforementioned vocals and much longer tracks that expand on the group’s progressive nature. Taking the leap from being a strictly instrumental band proved to be in their favor, as Mike’s relatively higher register compliments the melodies very well and doesn’t take away any of the edge.
One of this album’s biggest strengths is that it is both incredibly original and quite accessible as well. Catchy choruses and leads that are sure to put any listener in a trance, there truly are some delicious moments to be found here. Even the fantastic opener, ‘Ephemeral’, starts the album off on an extremely high note as it ensnares the listener with some interesting distorted riffs during the verses, an almost tear-jerking solo, a perfectly timed clean passage that serves as a small reprieve from the intensity preceding it, and a gigantic chorus that will beckon any listener to join for the journey that follows. The aforementioned clean passage does a fantastic job of using a dual-track of Mike’s voice by placing one in the front of the mix and leaving the other to feel more distant.
Tracks such as ‘Moment Marauder’, ‘Automation’, and ‘The Escape’ follow quite similar formulas but there is enough variety in A Voice Within to keep each song feeling fresh and memorable. ‘Siren Sound’, being the most reminiscent of early Intervals, features some of the most heavy passages on this album. The dichotomy of accessible appeal and crushing intensity is displayed almost flawlessly on this track. It only falters as it begins to feel a bit repetitive towards the end, but that is just before a nostalgic treat arrives, as an atmospheric guitar layer takes us back to the chorus’ lead-work that was heard in Ephemeral. Being that ‘Siren Sound’ is the second to last track, it is almost a way of saying “look how far we have come” which is a very interesting note on part of the band.
‘The Self Surrendered’, ‘Atlas Hour’, and ‘A Voice Within’ (all exceeding seven minutes in length) display a very progressive edge to this record, as the tracks do not fall flat or get stale. They actually manage to fly by, as the many points of these songs that are worth noting make them quite entertaining. The syncopated passages in ‘The Self Surrendered’, the drum and bass patterns and atmospheric passage in ‘Atlas Hour’, and the many surprising twists in ‘A Voice Within’ demonstrate what Intervals are truly capable of in terms of taking a listener by surprise.
A Voice Within does not disappoint by any means, and this can mostly be attributed to the already impressive first half and the increasingly amazing second half. Complex drum and rhythm-work are generally expected from any technical/progressive metal band, but this album ever-so-slightly throws a curveball with its insanely catchy choruses and leads that will make you cry. Intervals have released their most ambitious effort to date, and it is a solid piece at that. They have crafted a very impressive and original album that might take many listeners by surprise.