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Interloper – Search Party Award winner

Search Party
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 18 July 2021, 5:10 AM

The momentum of INTERLOPER can’t be understated as they’ve quickly returned to present their debut, full length album “Search Party” via Nuclear Blast Records. The development of these progressive pioneers has not been an instant nor mundane process to say the least. On the contrary, it has procured particular expertise in creating endless layers of transcendent sound. Initially set as the title of one of the album’s most vibrant tracks, it quickly became obvious that the feel of the song could speak for the entire record. The album contains ten studio tracks and one cover.

“Pathkeeper” opens the album. It begins with a fast heavy pace and some seriously tricky guitar work. The vocals are harmonized at first in the chorus, and guitar layers keep being added. Some harsh vocals lead into the chorus, which is catchy and rich in sound. “Bound to Fail” opens with some meter shifting, and some melodies that are easy to grasp. From there, harsh vocals and heavy rhythms take over. This song has a combination of heavier elements with some lighter, ambient, and melodic ones. Like PERIPHERY, the band has a mastery of their instruments, but choose to let the melody shine.

“Moonlight” begins with some heavy, technical elements, with dreamy vocals. The juxtaposition of the two styles is marked by some masterful songwriting. In the chorus, they develop these rich layers that resonate with the listener, and Aaron Stechauner is a beast on the drum kit. Not to be outdone, guitarist Andrew Virruenta showcases his prowess on the axe. “Dreamlands” opens with some mellow tones and smooth vocals, leading to a charge of lead guitars a-la NOVELISTS. I can see why the band is signed to Nuclear Blast records, because they are the full and real deal. The heavier element are tense and rigid, but they always let the melody take center stage, and as a fellow lover of melody over all else, I appreciate that.

“Drift” features the heavier and more aggressive side of the album, with intense, tough rhythms and Progressive elements in the forefront. But the harmonized vocals in the chorus are so damn catchy. “Search Party” begins with some lighter tones in the guitars, but no less energy. It is hunkering down to strike. The effortless and straightforward melodies are good enough for radio play, though I doubt the album will ever see the light of the Top 40, and it’s a real shame. “The Wishing Well” is more of an example of the pure speed, power, and might that the band possesses, yet those harmonies remain perhaps the best part of the album. The rhythms are so tight here that you could not squeeze a dime between them.

“Idle Years” is one of the finer examples of intelligent songwriting on the album. It breaths in the opening sequence, but the instruments still produce that tenacious, rugged sound. What we have here is attention to the development of consonance, and refrain. “Cheshire” is another track that breathes so well in the opening, you forget you are listening to Metal. The raucous sound comes fairly soon thereafter, but not at the expense of the melody. It’s almost…pretty, and memorable for sure. Towards the end, it does pick up with some more power, but the vocal harmonies are what hold my attention most.

“Baring Teeth” is about what you would expect based on the title of the song…a quick four-minute attack where the beast not only bares his teeth, but he shreds through your flesh like razor blades slicing from all over. Still the best part of the song, besides those head-stomping guitar strikes, are the vocal harmonies. The cover of DURAN DURAN’s “Rio” shows the lighter side of the band, and again the focus on melody. This was a major radio hit in the 1980’s, and something that only a band with a sense of melody would take on, and not come off as cheesy. It’s pretty close to the original, but with some more lead guitar layers and a slightly heavier sound.

Where has this band been all my life. As a self-proclaimed Progressive Metal head, I am embarrassed to say that this is the first that I have heard of them. As I mentioned above, these guys are the real deal standard in Progressive Metal today. There is something for all fans of Progressive Music here…turn-on-a-dime meter changes, adept and intelligent songwriting, deep, dark passages of hate, and melodies that shimmer with all the gloss of pure gold and gems, found with vibrant colors deep in a river gorge in a parallel universe. What is perhaps most amazing about the album is that the outstanding level of musicianship is very evident, but the band prefers to construct elegant and memorable songs, rather than just wanking all over the canvas, which they clearly could do. Not to mention that each track has its own identity, something that is very hard to accomplish through eleven tracks. This is a contender for Album Of The Year for me, for sure…a straight “ten” across the boards.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

1. Pathkeeper
2. Bound to Fall
3. Moonlight
4. Dreamlands
5. Drift
6. Search Party
7. The Wishing Well
8. Idle Years
9. Cheshire
10. Baring Teeth
11. Rio (Duran Duran Cover)
Miles Dimitri Baker – Guitar
Andrew Virrueta – Guitar/Vocals
Aaron Stechauner – Drums
Record Label: Nuclear Blast Records


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Edited 24 September 2021

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