I stumbled across Quebecois technical death metal band Intonate back in 2016 when the project's debut The Swerve slipped under the radar as a hyper-strong independent release in an otherwise super-saturated subgenre. The band's penchant for non-dork progginess and embedded (versus overt) technicality helped differentiate them and allowed existence in that oh-so important liminal space somewhere between modern and traditional. It's a good place to be.

Well, the band is back after almost five years, and damn have they ever notched up their already impressive game. Intonate's follow-up full-length Severed Within will arrive this April, and it is a supreme pleasure to re-immerse myself in this simultaneously crushing and elevating death metal. Check out an exclusive stream of the album's third (and longest) of five new songs below.

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Two things stand out about this iteration of Intonate: 1) the band's focus on middle-ground pacing and patience really helps things evolve organically, and 2) there's a veritable fuckton of music to unpack from Severed Within's dense layering. They're a death metal band that -- and don't freak out when reading this -- doesn't really rush anything at all, forgoing outright speed and aggression for the kind of headrush that surges more powerfully but less vigorously.

As a result, the listening experience here is one of calm and understanding versus sweating and fist-pumping. Well, you can still punch the air to Intonate, this is death metal after all. But there's an extremely progressive and delicate underbody to this music, almost like exposing the complicated workings of a seemingly streamlined machine. Repeat listens to Severed Within are, as a result, extremely satisfying, a tough metric to master but one that helps carry a band's sound forward a far greater distance.

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Severed Within releases April 16th, 2021 via Willowtip Records. Pre-orders launch this Friday, February 5th.