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Intentional Trainwreck – Smokestack of Souls

Intentional Trainwreck
Smokestack of Souls
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 06 June 2021, 7:52 AM

INTENTIONAL TRAINWRECK comes from the bowels of the Baltimore suburbs, the conductive force is on a Heavy Progressive track to derail your expectations…Progressive metal that pushes the boundaries of time signatures, tempos, keys, into a nebulous area of space and time designed to enthrall the listener with sounds great and small, purple and green, nefarious and righteous. The band believes that all passengers are entitled to purchase a ticket at their nearest musical voyage station. Welcome aboard, this train only stops at its final destination. The album contains nine tracks.

“Basilisk’s Gaze” leads off the album. I’m quite unsure what to make of the style here. It almost sound like Hardcore combined with Alternative Metal, with some Progressive elements. There are definitely some heavy elements here but the vocals are mostly shouted. “That Awful Feeling” features more of the same sounds. There are more Progressive elements here, along with some harsh vocals, but it’s a unique and odd mix of sounds. The guitar solo shows the band has skills, but I still find the sound odd.

“Charismatic Agenda” is a shorter and slower song. There is an odd disconnect between the key of the vocals and the key of the instruments. I like the audible bass notes, but not the dissonance in the guitars. “Phaedrus” begins with some thick bass guitar notes, and some eerie leads. The vocals are mostly sung here, as the rhythm guitars build some more dissonance. The spoken words are even odder. They clearly want to have fun with their music. Think of SCATTERBRAIN.

“Baby Sheep Ain’t got no Teeth” opens with some harmonic vocals sung a capella. From there, a disturbing riff develops over a bed of thick bass guitars. The harsh vocal moments really do not work for me. That disconnect between the vocal key and the instruments is stronger here as well. “Hangman” begins with a heavy and weighted riff and fast picked guitar parts. From there, the song just gets weirder. Again, the members are very good at their prospective instruments, as is the singer. “Clocks of Doom” is a short, three-minutes of heavy instrumentation and vocals. Pig squeals abound, and they play with the meter like a seasoned Progressive Metal band.

“Kamikaze Tom” begins with the sound of a plane swooping in and out. The instruments are so well played that it makes the music that much harder to enjoy. The death vocals don’t work for me her either. “Family and Friends” is a beastly, thirteen-minute closing track. It opens with the sounds of the night forest. The melodies here are actually quite beautiful, and it seems the band is closing on a more straightforward note. But, after the half-way mark, it turns dark and dissonant. A thunderstorm comes in, and birds chirp, and it closes with some heavy bass and drums.

Overall, the album was just too strange for me. The band is clearly talented, but is there room for schtick in today’s metal scene? Maybe there is, and I should just take the band for the fun that they are clearly trying to have. But, even leaving that aside, the music is just too dissonant, and lacks clear melodies, one thing that I usually have to have in my music. I don’t know, give it a try for yourself and make up your own mind.

Songwriting: 3
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 2
Production: 8

2 Star Rating

1. Basilisk’s Gaze
2. That Awful Feeling
3. Charismatic Agenda
4. Phaedrus
5. Baby Sheep Ain’t got no Teeth
6. Hangman
7. Clocks of Doom
8. Kamikaze Tom
9. Family and Friends
Pete Lesko – Vocals, Guitars
Patrick Gaffney – Drums


Mike Galway, Tony Prevara – Bass
Richard David – Vocals
Record Label: Independent


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