I hate the name “Djent”. I actually hate names given to types of music full stop, however we all use them in conversations to distinguish between styles because the media that reports on music also use them.
All the bands that fall into this “Djent” category are just metal bands with a progressive technical edge. (Yeah I know, more names for types of music).
To me the difference between a good band and a bad band is the song. Regardless of how virtuoso the members are in each group and how great they can play, if they can’t write a good song then what is the point.
I don’t mind Periphery and I never got into Animals As Leaders. However, TesseracT, The Kindred (formerly known as Today I Caught The Plague) and Intervals are my top three at this point in time. Some might say what about Protest The Hero. Well for that band, they are already in the Hall Of Gods, so let’s leave it at that.
Intervals began as an outlet for founder and guitarist Aaron Marshall to create music under. As with all musicians, no band is forever, and Marshall had just parted ways with a band that he was in for many years with his high school peers. Musical break ups are always difficult and as Marshall was trying to figure out what to do next, a friend of his convinced him to shoot a video of him playing one of his newer songs. That track led to Marshall meeting Anup Sastry who would end up being the drummer of the band.
Instead of touring and building an audience, Marshall and Anup built it up online. The first piece of music officially released is an instrumental EP called “The Space Between” in 2011. In the liner notes of this EP, the band expressed that they were open to a vocalist. In 2012, came another instrumental EP called “In Time”. All self released.
Then in 2014 came the album, “A Voice Within”. The big difference here is that as the title suggests, there are vocals on the album and really good clean tone ones at that. Mike Semesky (Ex-The HAARP MACHINE) who played live bass was introduced as the vocalist. The album explores the idea of self-discovery and refers to a person’s inner self and staying true to who they are. They composed three songs by locking themselves in a home studio. They collaborated on the others through file sharing. That’s the modern music business.
It’s a typical DIY attitude. No label involved, no middle men. It is a direct to fan connection. In an interview with “The Wellz Street Journal” from October 24, 20132013 this is what Marshall had to say about it;
We’re really into the DIY approach, for now. Direct support from our fans has been the number one reason we’ve been able to tour and sustain the band. We couldn’t be more grateful for that, so maintaining a direct rapport with our supporters is important to us. We’re not ruling anything out, but we’ve always approached things with that mindset, as opposed to rushing into a deal with anyone. I think it’s much better to be cautious and make the right moves in today’s music industry, as there appears to be more wrong ones to make, than the right ones.
“Ephemeral” kicks off the album. It’s only fitting that a song with title that means “nothing lasts forever” starts off the album. Co-guitarist, Lukas Guyader described the songs meaning in an interview on February 28, 2014 by The Wellz Street Journal;
“The meaning of ‘Ephemeral’ is something that is fleeting. We’re referring to the moments that pass by in day-to-day life, and how you have to make the most of those, even though they are exactly that – fleeting.”
The music might seem disconnected however as the song progresses, you just get it and understand it.
“Say goodbye to the world as we knew it
To the eyes that couldn’t see”
That’s right, time marches forward and it doesn’t break for no one. The chorus is a combination of twisting melodies and syncopated riffs, all topped with a captivating voice.
“It is our duty to live while we can”
Perfect lyric. If you are on cruise control, you need to shake it up because you never know when your time is up.
“Automaton” is by far my personal favourite.
There is a problem in the music business right now that any artist which is not mainstream is almost forgotten on arrival. That is the power of the ones that control the narrative. They only talk about the ones that will give them clicks.
With a title that more or less describes a person who acts mechanically or leads a routine monotonous life, the music underlying the song is chaotic and unpredictable. Nothing like the title suggests.
It’s all about the riff, with that syncopated poly rhythms and perfectly executed technical arpeggios.
The gears pulling forward
Always falling into place
This battle I know is over
Despite the effort and the haste
I always connect to songs that have a “slave to the grind” kind of vibe. I saw my father and my grandfather do the grind each day as they set up a family and a life in a new country. I swore that I would not be like them and when I realised that I was, I switched off the cruise control and shook things up a little bit. However, in time, despite the effort and the haste, as the song lyrics state, the gears start pulling forward and I am back in the same place, doing the grind. And I repeat all the above steps again.
“The Self Surrendered” is both striking and transcending especially from about the 4 minute mark when it goes into this clean tone jazz fusion post rock section. Intervals are not about the single, but the body of work.
The self surrendered are after all
Minds reduced to marionettes
Forever performing on our stage
A common theme of dancing like marionettes to the symphony of destruction.
“Breathe” is just brilliant. The song opens up with arpeggio lines that sound like rain drops. It’s an instrumental, it only goes for about 2 minutes and it acts as an intro to the more frantic song called “The Escape”. But it’s two minutes without any filler. Quality all the way.
With “Atlas Hour” Intervals scores a hit that lives in our head space and that’s the most important one.
Through functional dependency
We endure conformity
A greater purpose will be served
Within this life and the next
“A Voice Within” is a song that can cross over into the mainstream. It has all the elements of being unique enough to be rooted in technical metal, mainstream rock and (cough, cough) pop rock.
In time we all will hear what resonates from within
The voice that we must find and embrace to guide us
To feel, to see, to create, to dream
It is our duty to live while we can
And as quickly as Mike Semesky came in as vocalist, he was gone and the band is currently a three-piece with the original crew from 2011. The announcement said that the remaining three members are looking for a new vocalist that can dedicate themselves to Intervals. Maybe, dedication played a part in the departure of Semesky.