Intensus is the project founded by multi instrumentalist Eli Litwin. His so far prolific musical career has seen him play in many bands but this could be the most interesting yet, This album was created by Eli recording improvised drum tracks in a single take, and then building songs around them before bringing in some guest vocalists to add their own mark to them. A bold and brave project, but does it work?
The album opens with the instrumental ‘Eskia Tu Daemonia’ (featuring Alex Nagle on guitar) before the ‘The Intense (feat. Evan Moore)’ and ‘New York, Yeah Scranton (feat. Jerry Jones)’ give you a taste of how the next three quarters of an hour of your life will sound. ‘Colon Cleanse Your Sins’ has elements of long missed British band Sikth with the almost schizophrenic approach to the song. The blastbeats and deep guttural vocals of The Number Twelve Looks Like You’s Jesse Korman work well alongside the less extreme moments.
‘Outlast Robinsum’ is the first track to feature vocals from Between The Buried And Me’s Tommy Rogers, probably the most widely known of the additional musicians on here, and hopefully his inclusion, along with A Life Once Losts’s Robert Meadows will convince fans of these bands to check this out.
The majority of the songs here are short one or two minute bursts with only the six and a half minutes of ‘Anomaly Detected: Supernova Remnant N 63A’, which starts and finishes of as heavy down-tuned sludgefest with a chilled out, almost polar opposite calmer middle section. The nine minute album closer ‘I’m A Wisdom’ (Tommy Roger’s second appearance on the album) is again inclusive of some slower moments, but keeps up the brutal intensity of the album.
There are hints here of bands like the aforementioned Sikth, The Dillinger Escape Plan and Mr. Bungle on this self-titled debut, but the very way this album was put together makes a little bit special. The idea of having different vocalists, and having no vocalist on two consecutive tracks, worked really well, as it doesn’t allow you to settle into any particular pattern or style. I also think the way the songs have been put together when improvised has allowed each of the longer songs to develop.
Overall, there are sixteen tracks that make up the 47 minute running time. It is uneasy listening, but in a good way. Intensus is not going to be to everyone’s taste, but there are several very good moments. News that a follow up is already in the process of being put together is excellent, and it has also given me new bands to check out after hearing some of the guests on here.