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The Challenger

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Album Review

A mixed bag comprised of three new songs, five live recordings, one remix, and one untitled secret track, 2007's obviously disjointed The Challenger may seem like an ill-advised release coming from Los Angeles' fast rising technical metal darlings Intronaut. But its genesis does have a well-grounded explanation in the previously announced departure of founding guitarist and vocalist Leon Del Muerte, whose tenure the band chose to punctuate by releasing all of their remaining collaborative material, rather than carrying it over into their next cycle of work. This, as it were, is a perfectly legitimate choice since, like all Intronaut's previous releases, The Challenger's scant virgin offerings contain music of exceedingly high grade. Of the three newly penned songs, both the rip-roaring opening title track and the more laid-back, at times mellifluously jazzy "Deep Architecture" are as engaging and imaginative as fans have come to expect from the group; but the spectacular "Whittler of Fortune" may just be the Everest of Intronaut's career thus far, spinning high-velocity melodic picking against their typically complicated metallic creations. Of the live recordings, two represent the band's debut EP, Null, and were captured at L.A.'s Mountain Bar in late 2005, while three originate from its full-length follow-up, Void, and a February 2007 show at Tempe's Clubhouse. All benefit from excellent sound quality (though a little crowd noise, if you must have that with your live music) and really shine a spotlight on Intronaut's remarkable instrumental command, even from a concert stage, and with emphasis on Danny Walker's almost superhuman drumming. As for the remix of "Burning These Days," it's more of a chop-up job than anything else, but nothing's wrong with that; leaving only the aforementioned secret track (really just leftover noises and the band sound-checking) to scatter the remnants of Intronaut Mark I into the wind — bring on Mark II.


Formed: 2004 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Metal

Years Active: '00s, '10s

First conceived in 2004, Los Angeles, California's Intronaut started out as a friendly but loose side project concocted between Anubis Rising vocalist/guitarist Sacha Dunable and then-Uphill Battle drummer Danny Walker (also ex-Exhumed). When their songwriting started to bear impressive fruit -- based upon the aggressive and progressive new sound made popular by Mastodon and, to a lesser degree, their own groups -- the duo called in fellow Exhumed guitarist/vocalist Leon del Muerte and bassist Joe...
Full bio
The Challenger, Intronaut
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  • 9,90 €
  • Genres: Rock, Music, Metal
  • Released: 30 October 2007

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