October 2, 2021

The lottery of reviewing is that, for the most part, you do not know what is coming up next until you press play and the sound starts to hit you. Smetimes, the words come easy and at other times less so. Step forward Intentional Trainwreck a group that is ostensibly progressive metal but, in truth, it is something far more complex and ambitious that most prog metal bands you typically come across.

Let’s actually start with a few simple facts with the band being formed in Baltimore in the US in 2013 or 2015 as the publicity concerning the band seems very much at odds with itself. The band is a most ambitious power trio having being formed by Pete Lesko (guitar and vocals) and Patrick Gaffney (drums) with bassist Mike Galway being described as a guest bassist but then so is Tony Prevara and then there is the guest vocalist Richard David, this is a band that likes to mess with your mind!

The debut album, The Accident, was released in 2014 which makes the publicity claim that the band formed in 2015 a little strange to say the least! It has taken some seven years for the second album to see the light of day but this is no real surprise given the complex nature of the music that the band assaults you with. The music has an aggressive and intense groove with the band coming across as a hybrid of Gentle Giant, Spock’s Beard, Echolyn, Devin Townsend and Mastodon so we get hard, heavy and chunky riffs, complex time signatures and an intensity that is off the scale.

The band delights in shaking up expectations and flying off at tangents and you just start to feel that you are in control of what is happening and away they go again. There is a great deal of jazz fusion and freeform in their sound but all is given a progressive metal make over which sounds bizarre (which it quite often is) but it really does work it its own way. This is not an album for a casual listen or just for putting on for a little mood music because you have to make a commitment to the band and the album before even pressing play. However, if you enter with the right frame of mind and are pretty flexible then you will find much here to reward you.

The guitars are wailing, the vocals are mainly clean but occasionally slip into death metal growls and the time changes are constant and challenging but if you like the true progressiveness of Gentle Giant and Echolyn but with a metal twist then this is going to amaze you. Beware though, you may need to put the cat out and possible even your other half before you can settle down and listen to the 55-minutes of mayhem that Intentional Trainwreck have put together. Take a listen to the magical 13-minute closing track Family And Friends which calls to mind Devin Townsend at his most gargantuan, great stuff.

They may be mad or total geniuses and I’ll leave that for you to decide but this is one band that you simply cannot ignore. Put on your seatbelt and give it a listen as it is simply breath taking.

Smokestack Of Souls

  1. Basilisk’s Gaze (4:37)
  2. That Awful Feeling (5:16)
  3. Charismatic Agenda (4:00)
  4. Phaedrus (6:28)
  5. Baby Sheep Ain’t Got No Teeth (6:56)
  6. Hangman (feat Richard David) (4:36)
  7. Clocks Of Doom (2:49)
  8. Kamikaze Tom (5:26)
  9. Family And Friends (13:07)