Canadian destroyers Intonate add ample pressure to molten death on brutal ‘Severed Within’

Over the weekend, I got to see “Godzilla vs Kong” in a real theater, socially distanced with some friends in a hall we rented. I didn’t give a single fuck about any plot because, PLOT?! No, I wanted to see two legendary titans fight it out on a gigantic movie screen as all the amazing, wonderful stupidity played out before me. Then, after the movie ended, I realized I knew the ideal soundtrack for the film.

Canadian pounders Intonate are ready to unleash their second record “Severed Within,” and it dawned on me that the five behemoth tracks on this record would be perfect to hear as these two monsters destroyed a city as they brawled over everything. Their style of technical death metal falls more along the lines of, say, Ulcerate, in that it’s spectacularly, brilliantly played, but it does remember to level you under its might. The band—vocalist/guitarist Nicola Nucciarone, guitarist Ulysses Fiorito, bassist Jean-Philippe Matte, drummer Dominic Nucciarone—is locked and nightmarishly focused on this 40-minute beast, a record that is so satisfyingly heavy, you’ll smile through the pain.

“Sever” rips into your chest right away, just crushing with the atmosphere trying to eek its way in. Gruff vocals smear as the power becomes insurmountable early, though the acoustic strains underneath the chaos makes it feel like some delicacy is possible. Things begin to hammer all over again, the growls kill, and the track ends in a pile of rubble. “Within” punches away with beastly vocals and thunderous guitars working you up into a lather. The drums pulverize while the playing feels like it’s toying with you, being cagey as hell and stomping guts. Deep lurching growls boil, cosmic noise spreads throughout the universe, and the roars crush as the song comes to a ferocious finish.

“Yearn” runs 9:43, the longest track on the record, and it unloads in a monstrous burst that feels like a ton of bricks being poured on top of you. Pressure builds as the savagery continues, wailing away as the humidity builds, and the soloing soars, feeling slightly mournful along the way. The playing continues to cake mud in the gears as the underneath simmers in doom, growls rip sanity apart, and the track rumbles into oblivion. “Wander” has winds whipping as the guitars awaken, and then the band drills, with the growls getting even more vicious as the guitars turn moodier. The bass snarls as the playing gets tricky and warping, pounding away until it catches fire and burns off. “Prolong” ends the record, a 9:36-long smasher beginning with the guitars churning and leaving your head spinning. The bass thickens and lurches while the playing hammers away, with a noise cloud collecting over everything. Moments feel like a fever dream before things come unglued, every single muscle is torn apart, and dissonant hell collects, churning until it’s swallowed by silence.

Intonate might lean toward the more technical side of death metal, but it’s never at the expense of the heart of the music on “Severed Within.” This record feels like a physical challenge, and even at just five tracks, it’s one hell of a workout. The entire experience is like what it might be like after you were trapped under a slag pile, finding breathing nearly impossible as you slowly black out forever.

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