Review: Intentional Trainwreck “Smokestack of Souls”

Review: Intentional Trainwreck “Smokestack of Souls”

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In the beginning of June American progressive metal band Intentional Trainwreck has released independently their sophomore album “Smokestack of Souls”. And after six years of silence their music has undergone some significant changes, focusing more on free structural ideas and experimental moves, but nonetheless trying to stay in the realm of progressive music.

Intentional Trainwreck isn’t one of the regular prog metal bands, their music is technical and unique, no doubt about that, but it is also complicated, dissonant and mixed with various extreme stylistic hints. And their progressive rock/metal isn’t based on old school principles, taking inspiration from art/progressive rock of the 1970s; it rather aims to alternative rock and hardcore scene with grungy sound of dirty 1990s. Their music is absolutely pure in its original visions, but with distinct homage to such monsters as Pantera (with their juicy guitar work) or Mastodon (with their southern sound and experimental and catchy melodies). And though the technical level of their mastery is undisputed, the music is also simple in a multitude of ordinary and classical ways, but everything is mixed and layered so intricately, that sometimes the melodies lose their tunes, but compositional patterns turn into chaotic frenzy.

The alt. rock elements persecute this record pretty insistently, but not in a charming way, at some point they make it more contemporary, but in an old school way, this kind of modern rock was in its prime some 25 years ago. The blues and stoner rock traces are also common for “Smokestack of Souls”, alluring on traditional southern American fusion sound (“Basilisk’s Gaze”). The heavy metal straightforwardness and other strict and traditional musical designs even out the chaotic disarray, but not for a very long time (“Charismatic Agenda”). But thrash/speed metal elements on the tracks “Hangman” or “Kamikaze Tom” make this release heavier, as well as occasional growls. Retro vibes of “Baby Sheep Ain’t Got No Teeth” confront post/math rock modern spirit of “That Awful Feeling”. But romantic lines and acoustic and ambient elements of the longest composition “Family And Friends” prove again and again an independent and exceptional musical attitude of Intentional Trainwreck.

The musical skills of these strange Americans are spotless; everything is performed without a complaint, however, their bizarre tendency for abrupt endings creates more chaotic approach. The low and a bit clingy bass guitar lines can be heard everywhere, and drum solos are also not that rare, but the most technical and peculiar miracles creates the guitar work – from math rock to primitive classical pieces. Truly this music is out of ordinary even within instrumental parts, but the singing lines, often not very harmonious with the melodies provide extra emotions and atmospheric vibrations without perfect order or strict rules.

“Smokestack Of Souls” isn’t too confident record or full of emotional outbursts, like the graphic black and white cover art, the album isn’t filled with vivid and luminous colors; and boiling in this semi-darkness, it fumes this smoke of souls, never turning back or asking for advice. This album lacks integrity and harmonic perception, but the experimental side wins over everything material or commercial, leaning to a domain of art without restrictions.

Release date: June 5th, 2021

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