I was not immediately taken with Intrinsic as I was Exoplanet. Even after several listens, I’m still telling myself don’t worry it’ll grow on you. My slight disappointment stems from the fact that I was essentially expecting Exoplanet part two, and that’s not what Intrinsic is, not in the least. As a matter of fact Intrinsic is almost an entirely different genre (Can I call it Ambidjence?). With Exoplanet the band found a perfect balance between Vildhjarta like ambience and Born Of Osiris esque progressive deathcore. Exoplanet is the bowl of soup Goldilocks wanted, and Intrinsic, dare I say is the bowl of soup that had too much of something else in it.
Now, yes that may have been a harsh opening, and no I don’t hate this album, I might just be still getting over not having my expectations met. The focus of this band has shifted, and the vast majority of this album is focused on being less brutal, and far more ambient, which can be good, and is well executed on this album, but as someone who absolutely loved Exoplanet I do miss the heavier aspects of that album. The weird thing too is that I absolutely love ambience. Sigur Ros is one of my favorite bands, Vildhjarta’s Masstaden is fantastic because of the mixture of ambience and Meshuggah influence, and the ambient parts of Exoplanet were amazing. But maybe the mixture is imbalanced a bit on this or something. It’s hard to put my finger on it.
The Ambient portions of Exoplanet were catchier and more memorable in my opinion, for instance the clean vocals are my favorite part of ‘Primal Directive’, but this album doesn’t have the catchy parts. The Clean vocals on this also seem to get drowned out often, like on ‘Dreaming Schematics’, you can barely make out what he’s saying under the crunchy guitars, drums and keyboards.
Now there are definitely still some Exoplanet like portions of this album, some of my favorites being ‘Sequential Visions’ and the heavier part of ‘Cortical’ or 'Geocentric Confusion', but as I’ve said overall the focus is on the more ambient portions of the album. One thing though that does benefit from this overall focus of more ambient progressive aspects is the lead guitar. The solo’s on this album are particularly great and found pretty often. Oh, and the bass guitar definitely gets more attention during the ambience, such as the end of ‘Anatomy Anomalies’.
Overall Intrinsic is a good album and well worth your listening time, but it’s not what I expected it to be. I’m still telling myself it’ll grow on me more, and hoping that will be true, but as of writing this It’s definitely not better than Exoplanet in my opinion.
If you have Spotify you can stream almost the whole album ('Anatomy Anomalies' can't be streamed for some reason.) here now, otherwise the album officially comes out tomorrow, so you can just buy it!
The Contortionist - Intrinsic