4 out of 5
Label: digital (Bandcamp release)
Produced by: ?
Holy banana poopin’ all-stars: thank Christ that the world keeps producing, like, exactly the music I want to hear.
After recently getting off a 5ive kick – particularly Hesperus, which is all full-throttle rawk – I was like, ‘man, I wonder what guitarist Ben Carr is up to,’ and lo and behold he was up to Intrcptr, paired with Pelican’s Larry Herweg on drums, this making my little instrumental metal heart swoon. Herweg is – not exactly unsung – but generally not the focus of Pelican praise, when the subtleties and patience he brings to that band’s backbone is a huge defining element. However, as the group has somewhat wandered away from the heavy heavy stuff on their past few releases, they no longer feature as much in my frequent playlist… so bringing Herweg back into the noisy fold with Carr was derned exciting.
And promise fulfilled: Intrcptr is definitely more 5ive-ish than Pelican, but the dynamic is different; a little more laid-back in its grooves versus 5ive’s explosiveness. Which doesn’t undercut that rawk a single iota, mind you. The short build-up of Nightrider to the riff-tastic clatter of Sandstorms is heart-stopping; the disc’s central track, Ruby, is a brilliant piece of tension and release. The final two tracks blend together somewhat (accounting for the star docking), but make for a compelling listen back to back regardless.
Digital only is sort of a bummer for those of us who like physical content, but I’d have no problem paying for this twice. If you miss Pelican’s older Hydra Head stuff and / or got tired waiting for a 5ive follow up, don’t even preview this release – just purchase.