Review By Mike Paradine
Label: Divebomb Records
Release Date: 16th October 2015
1. State Of The Union
2. Fight No More
3. Die Trying
4. On Gossamer Wings
5. Pillar Of Fire
6. Mourn For Her
7. The Vicious Circle
10. Inner Sanctum
11. Dazed & Confused
12. Too Late, But Not Forgotten
From DiveBomb Records we have the sophomore record from San Luis Obispo, California a band called INTRINSIC. The interesting part of this is that the album was originally recorded between 1991 and 1192 which should give us a first person glance into the sound of that time. As the tastes of the music industry were changing at the time, INRINSIC decided not to release their recording and had it sit on a shelf since then. The band re-mixed the original material and after almost 25 years, the CD will finally see the light of day.
After listening to the album, the one thing to immediately point out is the musicianship of these guys. For the most part vocalist, Lee Dehmer has a style and texture of Bruce Dickinson. While he doesn’t sound like or copy Maiden‘s front man, Lee does bring out some of his phrasing and tonal quality. Guitarist Michael Mellinger and Garrett Craddock can shred with the best of them but more importantly know where to place melodic guitar parts. The rhythm section of Mike McLaughlin on bass and drummer Chris Binns not only hold the ship together but also their playing style also stands out on their own. All in the all, from these recording the band knew their craft and knew it well. These guys know their shit.
Now for the music.. The first five songs mix together the best of metal and thrash with intensity and power. While the first song, “’State of the Union’, doesn’t necessarily bring out the best vocal performance, the next three more than make up for it. The higher range and screams that Lee reaches for in the first song seem a little weak and a bit whiney, whereas on the next three, he is forceful and more self confident. ‘On Gossamer Wings’ has my vote for favorite song which reminds me of something from metal band ATTACKER but just beating out ‘Pillars of Fire’ which in some parts, has an ANTHRAX feel to it. These songs just have great performances and a great sounding music that gets your adrenaline running.
As it seems this train is running at full speed, from track 6 and on is where the wheels fall off. Not from the musicianship standpoint but for the disconnected style of music. ‘Mourn for Her’ has that guitar sound and feel that immediately brings to mind some of Steve Vai’s playing of the second David Lee Roth album, “Skyscraper”. Melodic, mystical, and very well done but this has no reference to the first half of the album at all. ‘Vicious Circle’ is even further off the stream as it contains rap/singing, similar to that heard in the KISS song ‘All Hells Breakin’Loose’…I’m totally turned off on the style of vocalization and is really destroying the feel of this album. Now what the hell is going in the next song, ‘Denial’? It starts out with Mr. Big type vocal harmonies, which then leads into a grungy Alice In Chains style singing and guitar tone. But it’s not over, in the middle it transforms into a Kings X style jam which is really, really cool. The band should have gotten rid of the vocal parts and kept it as an instrumental. A semi progressive groove instrumental that has the listener’s attention, ‘Yikes’ again is a song that has no bearing to the beginning of this album. Great, just great performance from the band but now I’m totally thrown off at this point. In the next song we are taking back to the Alice In Chains reference once more but with the Steve Vai guitars in ‘Inner Sanctum’. And out of nowhere comes a cover of Led Zeppelins ‘Dazed and Confused’….why, why, why? A bit too late but at least with ‘Too Late but Not Forgotten’ we go back to thrash that has its roots in Anthrax. To throw in the kitchen sink, how about some Frank Zappa….well that’s the feel I get when listening to ‘Cannabis Saliva’ and that’s all I’m gonna say about this. I’m totally lost and disillusioned right now.
INTRINSIC is a very, very talented band that has to decide what road to take in the future. Either dive into the powerful, thrash metal that starts this album off or the arty, semi-progressive Kings X style that finishes off the album. They have a great sound, great songwriting and each member knows their craft well. But this album has to be the most disconnected CD I’ve ever come across. With too many styles of music on this CD, it’s like listening to two completely different bands. But whichever way, the band decides to take, they can’t go wrong.
Rating – 6/10
Lee Dehmer – Vocals
Garrett Craddock – Guitar and Vocals
Michael Mellinger – Guitar
Mike McLaughlin – Bass
Chris Binns – Drums