[30th October 2012]
02. Mata Hari
It’s simple: if you run out of time, you die. This is a world where time is currency, and while the anticipation of an extremely postponed review of Justin Timberlake’s 2011 movie In Time are undoubtedly off the charts, let’s slam the brakes on right now. We’ve got time, and if the aforementioned premise of “time is currency” is accepted, then spending a little over 20 minutes to listen to the sophomore EP from Toronto based instrumental outfit Intervals is one of the best investments you could make. By mixing an impressive level of virtuosity with more hooks than you’ll know what to do with, and all against an electronic inspired soundscape, Intervals bring a much fuller and complete listening experience with In Time as opposed to their 2011 EP, The Space Between.
The idea of standing out from the crowd may be something that bands of all forms of music think about, but it’s a whole other beast to try and tackle as an instrumental band. In order to be successful within this difficult realm, a band has to find a voice without having a vocalist. This statement may seem rather obvious but should, by no means, ever be overlooked. While a band like Animals As Leaders found their voice through the borderline illegal technical guitar-raping abilities of Tosin Abasi, it’s safe to say that with The Space Between and now In Time Intervals have found their voice through the balancing act of technicality and accessibility.
This balancing act is precisely what makes In Time a great listen for both casual and attentive listeners alike. The featured guitar solo work of Aaron Marshall will be enough to tickle the fancy of any progressive metal fan, while the djenty beats and melodic riffs will be certain to make any listener start bobbing their head. What’s also great about the more technical aspects of In Time is that whilst the showy parts are tastefully showy, nothing is overdone. They show a very sound technical prowess, but what is impressive it that Intervals clearly realize that groove is – for the most part – more important than wank. Opening pair “Alchemy” and “Mata Hari” release a barrage of chugtastic riffage that set a great tone to start off the EP. The middle track – the appropriately titled “Tapestry” – ties and weaves together the aggressiveness of the first two tracks with the more chilled, melodic nature of the final two tracks “Momento” and “Epiphany.”
Despite the barrage of great things this EP has going for it, the potential is somewhat stifled by the djent association. The impressive virtuosity/many hooks/electronic themed soundscape descriptors should sound familiar, because bands like Animals As Leaders have been establishing themselves in this area for the past three years (hats off to you, Meshuggah’s Obzen). The oversaturation of this genre in recent years is what ultimately makes In Time sound strangely familiar. This doesn’t ruin the album by any means, but it will remind you of some djent-inspired band out there that you’ve heard before. For this, Intervals receive a small slap on the wrist.
With In Time though, they have created a fuller sound, moving forward from their previous EP, and that is to be lauded. The balancing act between crafty solo guitar sections, melodic riffs and beats, and an electronic backdrop has paid off, and despite some minor faults, if this progression from The Space Between is any sign of what lies ahead, Intervals are a band you’ll want to keep on your radar. A full length release can’t come soon enough.