I discovered Intervals through Bandcamp in 2011. After listening to a few minutes of “Sonar”, I frantically scoured their page for the digital download button like it was the last copy and essential to my survival. The Space Between EP had everything I had grown to savour in progressive metal: original song structure, erratic time signature changes and polyrhythms that require multiple listens to understand. The lack of conventional vocals really focused the listener’s attention on the depth of the music. At the time, I was only aware of a few other comparable bands that challenged the virtue of musicianship in a mature context that wasn’t limited by genre, fads or expectations outside their own.
Now, these similarly-minded and skilled bands, like Animals As Leaders, Scale The Summit or Trioscapes, were all American. They are bands that are composed of musicians so virtuoso within their respective instruments, that each individual could easily carry three other mediocre fill-ins and still find mainstream success. It is with this niche understanding that is required to appreciate how much hometown pride it gave me that Intervals are from Toronto.
Their new album A Voice Within came out March 4th. Unlike The Space Between and their second EP In Time, the new album features Mike Semesky as vocalist/bassist. The direct consequence of this seems to have affected their song structures, which now accommodate for the addition of vocals by reverting to a traditional Verse/Chorus/Bridge pattern. This may be somewhat disheartening, but it is necessary due to the clean, melodic delivery of Mr. Semesky. His vocals are commendable, considering this means a nonstop struggle to remain in pitch against the hurricane of sweeps and solos.
From front to end, the entire album has a sonder feeling thanks to the subtlety of the drum- and bass-dominated segments, as heard in the middle section of “The Escape” or the snazzy opening of “The Voice Within”, all the while retaining a playful sort of heaviness in “Siren Sound”. My personal favorites were “Atlas Hour” and “The Voice Within”.
All in all, this album is a great jumping off point for those who are looking for heavy alternative music that is more layered in its musicianship and delivery than anything on the radio, or the upper crust of the underground.
To give some context, back when I worked in a restaurant I used to spin The Space Between and In Time–and it ruined the atmosphere of the work environment! The reason for this is because it’s not bad music; instead, for those uninitiated in music with a lack of a conventional song structure or singing, there is nothing to get hooked on right away.
Get initiated on this band right away!
Check out Intervals!
Author: Alex Slakva