As a listener, there is more than one way you might envision in your mind’s eye the wondrous musical excursion of Intercepting Pattern‘s debut album The Encounter. Perhaps you’ll think of being aboard a spacecraft traversing the solar system, or tunneling through a wormhole to locations vastly beyond our home system. Or maybe you’ll conclude that the trip isn’t bounded by any dimension of “reality”, extraterrestrial or not. There is, after all, a track named for the prince of demons. Or perhaps you’ll think of being suspended in the transitional state between wakefulness and sleep, experiencing lucid dreams or bizarre hallucinations (there’s another track named for that state of threshold consciousness).
I thought of all those things, but also remembered two other things. One of those memories was Rod Serling‘s repeated introduction to his famous TV series (I’ll come to the other memory at the end of this introduction to our premiere of the album):
“There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call… the Twilight Zone.”
To give your own imagination the freest rein, and the fullest opportunity to take you where it will, listen to The Encounter from beginning to end, which is what the band intended you to do. They composed it as a single experience, and its mind-bending power is much greater when heard that way.
The people behind The Encounter have well-established metal pedigrees, coming as they do from such bands as Defeated Sanity, Infecting the Swarm, and Cerebric Turmoil. And they haven’t left metal behind on this album, but their influences are far-ranging. They make ample use of futuristic, Meshuggah-like polyrhythms and cybernetic grooves, and here and there they deploy the vocal contributions of Daniel Sander (Stone Dust Engine, session work for Fountainhead and Strength Of Will), who comes for your throat with ripping snarls, vicious barks, and the ability to carry a raw, savage cry to dramatic lengths.
But the album is also an immersion in prog and jazz fusion, with all instrumentalists taking repeated opportunities to mesmerize and bewilder the listener. Much of the soloing is tuned to the tones of a saxophone, though it’s not always clear whether we’re hearing keyboards or guitar. Jazz-fusion stylings and proggy adventures also come to the forefront in many of the bass and drum performances. And never far away, as you travel through the album, synth layers and passages gleam like starshine and create periods of mysterious astral drift and celestial wonder, while other bits of skittering, warbling, and pulsating electronics generate unnerving effects.
The music delivers a panoply of changing sensations as it ebbs and flows — and as it changes course without warning. The music jolts and jars, locks your body into irresistible movement, becomes eerie and disturbing, reaches heights of freaked-out extravagance, spins your mind through engrossing labyrinths, and hypnotizes in spellbinding fashion. Over and over again, it’s also a joyful experience to hear these talented musicians operating at a high level of skill, and giving themselves the freedom to go exploring at the same time.
Who are these people, who created such a mind-bending trip? They are:
Marte Auer – guitars, synths (Cerebric Turmoil)
Clemens Engert – bass (Cerebric Turmoil, Infecting The Swarm, session for Orphalis)
Lille Gruber – drums (Defeated Sanity, session for Ingurgitating Oblivion, etc.)
We mentioned vocalist Daniel Snyder earlier, and Jimmy Pitts (Eternity’s End, Eynomia, NorthTale, NYN, The Fractured Dimension) gets credit for a guest keyboard solo on “Fuga Finalis”. The cover artwork for The Encounter was created by ex-Dark Tranquillity guitarist Niklas Sundin.
The album will be released by Rising Nemesis Records on September 4th, and is available for pre-order now.
So, please set aside a half hour and give yourself fully over to this experience. (Below the album stream, I’ve added the other memory that came to mind after I heard the album, an excerpt from an essay by Judith Thurman (here) about the poet Alice Oswald — the excerpt is about a way of writing, but seemed apt in the case of this music too).
“Anyone who has tried to write an artful sentence knows that it involves fastening the known to the unknown by some mysterious process that takes place ‘at the roots of thinking,’ where the brain wrests an idea from an inchoate mass of sensory data and encodes it in parts of speech that another mind can decrypt. Pedestrian language bears few traces of the staggering richness and particularity that are lost in the transaction. The work of visionary poets like Rimbaud or Gérard de Nerval, or of modernists, like Pound in the late “Cantos,” who write at the edge of intelligibility, gives you a glimpse of what it signifies ‘to be almost actual’ while refusing to simulate reality. Oswald belongs to their lineage, and she writes at that edge, too.”