Released: 2013, Century Media Records
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson
If there's such a thing as a metal jam band, Intronaut would be it. Their free-form mish-mash of stoner psychedelia, prog rock, jazz and occasionally jarring metal sounds like it would be more at home at Bonnaroo than, say, Ozzfest, recalling Primus at times – though without the inherent nuttiness.
This is especially true on the L.A.-based quartet's fourth full-length, which places even more emphasis on jammy sensibilities with its sprawling spaciness, long, ethereal asides and chill overall vibe. Much - no, make that all - of the death metal tinges of the band's previous efforts, most notably in the vocals, is absent. Instead, Habitual Levitations has a meditative quality and easy-going pace – though Danny Walker's agile and off-kilter drumming is really quite awesome, especially on the opening minutes of “Milk Leg” and throughout the trippy closer “The Way Down” – that never feels hostile or threatening.
Which is really too bad, because Intronaut's earlier work never let you get too comfortable – at the very least, guitarist/vocalists Sasha Dunable and Dave Timnick were apt to start screaming at any moment. Here, the vocals often flow in a wash of measured harmonies and never bark, much less bite.
The crunching opening riffs of “Sight For Sore Eyes” and the stampeding conclusion to “The Welding” show the band haven't forsaken metal completely. “Eventual” even opens as it if wants to be Sabbath's “Children of the Grave,” and has a welcome riffy punch to it, but fails to see it through to the end. Indeed the “metal” here is measured more in moments than entire songs.
So if you're looking to get your ass kicked, best find something other than Habitual Levitations. But if burning one and losing yourself in something that is at times mind-warping, and at others mind-numbing, then fire away.