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Intonate – Severed Within Award winner

Severed Within
by Thomas Kumke at 05 April 2021, 4:41 PM

INTONATE were formed in 2013 and they are from Montreal, Canada. Prior to 2013 they were active as DEATHLEHEM. INTONATE play progressive technical Death Metal with lyrical themes covering history and philosophy. “Severed Within” is the band’s second full-length album. It was mixed and mastered at Roarrr Studios in Montreal by Hugues Deslauriers who also did the recording of the debut album. “Severed Within” was released by Pennsylvania label Willowtip Records which has a number of Death Metal and Grindcore bands among their roster. The album has a length of around 40 minutes.

Severed Within” is a special album in more than one way: it is apparent that, with a total playing time of 40 minutes for five songs, there are at least some songs with a remarkable length, More importantly, INTONATE create an unique sound, mixing the classical Death Metal formula with progressive, Doom, and blackened elements. Overall, “Severed Within” is a Death Metal album, but with a complex layering around. It starts with “Sever” which is mostly a mid-tempo affair with occasional outbursts in speed. The guitar riffs are dark and aggressive with gloomy lead guitar sequences throughout. The growling vocals range from the medium to low end of the gutturals. “Sever” has a few chaotic parts where the instruments let all hell break loose. “Within” starts a bit more structured in a head-banging rhythm with catchy guitar riffs. However, it does not take long until the clean rhythm becomes blurred and another chaotic part with twists and distorted lead guitar sequences take over. INTONATE do not rush things. They take their time to create a unique atmosphere with a multi-layered mix of guitars, bass, drums, and growling vocals. The second part of “Within” starts with a down-tempo and doom-laden part slowly transitioning into a faster and more blackened approach. I do not know how they did it, but INTONATE reach the finish line with a version of the starting guitar riffing of “Within”.

There are two songs with almost 10 minutes each on the album. “Yearn” has a number of different rhythms and parts. It starts with an extended slow lead guitar-driven intro followed by a more aggressive and chaotic part including blast-beat sections, distorted lead guitars and brutal growling vocals, occasionally intensified by backing vocal screams. One of the highlights of “Yearn” is the lead guitar solo within another doomy framework at slow tempo which transitions back into the more instrumental and blackened part of the song. INTONATE very smartly create here an atmospheric layering which is dark, evil, and straight from hell and continues until the song slowly fades out. “Yearn” is was released as video by the label and the YouTube kink below.

Wander” continues with the darkness at a slow tempo with a focus on doomy riffing, double-bass sections, crunching bass lines, tremolo picking, and low growling vocals. The guitar textures are maintained for most parts of the song, there is only a short break at slightly higher tempo halfway through the song. “Prolong” is the other song with almost 10 minutes duration. Just when you think, it does not get darker, INTONATE prove you wrong: after a mid-tempo interlude at the beginning, the main riffing of “Prolong” is blood-freezing and is maintained throughout the song. The lead guitar sections contribute to the darkness as well, and there are eruptions of murderous frenzy combining flesh-ripping lead guitars, hammering blast-beats, ear-deafening screams in between playing an outstanding finale.

Severed Within” is a Death Metal album that is very complex and multi-layered. It combines a number of subgenres which makes the album challenging to listen to but very special and unique. The darkness in sound on the album is extraordinary, the song structures are complex, and the technical level of guitars, bass, and drums is very sophisticated. “Severed Within” might be an album not every Death Metal fan will dig into, but those who do will not let it go. The complexity and layering of the sound is evidence of great songwriting. The album is very well produced. INTONATE deliver not only an upgrade on their previous album, they set the bar very high with “Severed Within”. The album should be part of the collection of a wide range of Death Metal fans.

Songwriting:  10
Musicianship:  9
Memorability:  9
Production:  9

4 Star Rating

1. Sever
2. Within
3. Yearn
4. Wander
5. Prolong
Nicola Nucciarone – Vocals, Guitars
Ulysses Fiorito – Guitars
Dominic Nucciarone – Drums
Jean-Philippe Matte – Bass
Record Label: Willowtip Records


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