With five tracks and a duration of 40 minutes, Intonate don’t mess around on Severed Within. No stupid intros or interludes, no wasted space, just well-thought-out, creative death metal. Let’s dive in.
Intonate’s sound is a mixture of a few different styles and ideas, all pulled together with skill and confidence. The technical and the progressive labels are the obvious ones here. The latter, especially when combined with dark melody and/or malignant riffing, keeps the former in check. The melodies and menacing rhythm guitars are enriched by a curious brew of dark dissonance and old-school death metal, and everything is coated in the sort of deep atmosphere that’s definitely lesser-found in death metal.
The music is very layered, and surprisingly atmospheric and emotive in places. These five soundscapes may be cold and dark, but they’re rich in texture and mood. The dark atmosphere and the air of threat that’s crafted on this album is impressive, especially when these qualities are delivered in a death metal framework, and conjured up by skilled songwriting and structure, rather than gimmicks or cheap effects. Intonate manage to simultaneously sound heavy and aggressive, while also staying focused on mood and grim feeling. There’s a dark grandeur to parts of these songs, notable for not only how effective it is, but also for how rare this sort of thing is outside of black metal.
All of the above is thrown into one delicious cocktail and has resulted in some hideously tasty music being created. I can hear elements of a wide range of bands in Intonate’s sound such as Gorguts, Opeth, Cryptopsy, Ulcerate, Mastodon, Warning, and countless others; many of them only in snatches here and there. All of them may inform, but none of them command; Intonate are in charge of their own sound, and Severed Within sounds damn good.
Severed Within is a triumph of malevolent death metal. It has its own dark voice, and manages to incorporate a lot of non-standard and individual elements in its sound that are not typically found in death metal, yet achieves all of this within what is essentially a death metal framework. Hugely impressive and hugely enjoyable, Severed Within is the sort of album I love discovering.
Make sure you spend some quality time with this one.