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Intronaut Back in India for Bangalore Open Air 2020

The American mind-bending metallers released their latest album ‘Fluid Existential Inversions’ on February 28th

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Anurag Tagat Mar 09, 2020

American metallers Intronaut. Photo: Courtesy of Metal Blade

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When Intronaut were in India in 2017, performing at Indian Institute of Science’s annual festival Pravega in Bengaluru, they encountered a busted amplifier very soon into their set. Guitarist-vocalist Sacha Dunable recounts with a slight laugh over the phone from Los Angeles, “That was unfortunate.”

The first time that the American metallers set foot in India, it was just about a decade ago, when they performed at the Great Indian Rock festival shows in 2009. Things didn’t go as swimmingly that time around either, considering “one of the other bands blew the guitar amp up,” according to Dunable. “I had to play through a keyboard amplifier. Hopefully, that doesn’t happen again this time.”

They’re slated to perform at metal festival Bangalore Open Air on March 21st, just weeks after releasing their latest album Fluid Existential Inversions via Metal Blade. Dunable recounts, however, that their previous Bengaluru show was amongst the last they played before taking a year-long break. Dunable hints that it was mostly burnout. “I think going and doing these one-off shows [like India] is really fun, but like sometimes we would do touring where you’re literally not at home for two months. It’s just hard to keep doing that over and over again.”

Intronaut frontman Sacha Dunable at IISC Pravega 2017 in Bengaluru. Photo: Aditi Rai

Most of 2017 and 2018 was a break period for the band. “Everybody had, I think, been around each other for too long. Nobody was really feeling it,” Dunable says. The bright side was that as people in their late 30s, they were finding new freedoms. The frontman adds, “It was honestly very nice to not have band practice three nights a week. And we could think, ‘I’ll go on vacation. I’ll plan a vacation three months from now, because I know I don’t have to be on tour, right then, you know?’”

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By mid-2018, however, Intronaut saw tumultuous times as drummer Danny Walker was accused for domestic abuse and fired from the band. While Walker refuted the charges, the band’s stand was clear. The drummer had worked on a few songs for what would become Fluid Existential Inversions by then, but the band reworked it with drummer Alex Rüdinger (part of death metallers The Faceless and alt-metal supergroup Good Tiger). The nine-track record also features contributions from guitarist-composer Ben Sharp aka Cloudkicker, who previously teamed up with Intronaut for his live debut in 2014. Dunable says about a track called “The Cull,” which features Sharp’s contribution, “We’ve talked about collaborating on some kind of music, whether it was Intronaut or Cloudkicker or something else. Then I think the riff that he wrote and some of that music that he wrote, I think was sort of originally gonna be used. But then I just sort of asked if I could use his stuff for the Intronaut record and he said yes.”

The track, along with their roaring lead single “Cubensis” and “Pangloss,” were part of early writing sessions. On the whole Fluid Existential Inversions presents Intronaut at their thunderous best yet again, from bubbling melodies to sludgy riffage and seemingly incalculable drum work. In addition to a few expected references to psychoactive substances (their video for “Cubensis” involves dolphins, gore and slime straight out of a bad trip), Intronaut remain one of the heaviest and mind-boggling bands in metal.

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For their live shows, including the Bangalore Open Air performance, Intronaut has teamed up with drummer Matt Lynch, the current drummer in experimental metal frontrunners Cynic. Dunable says of Lynch, “He’s been in a few other projects that are really technical and progressive and he’s one of the best drummers out there. I think he’s slightly undiscovered or just sort of under-appreciated just because I think he hasn’t been in a real full-time band kind of situation yet. He’s going to be one of the top guys for sure.” The setlist in Bengaluru includes “a lot of the new record” but also some older material.

Dunable jokes about their travel time being longer than the amount of time they’ll spend in India, but since it’s the third time, they’re fairly comfortable. The frontman adds, “It doesn’t feel that foreign, you know, aside from a lot of obvious stuff, I guess. We’re really excited.”

Intronaut perform at Bangalore Open Air at Ramada, Yelahanka on March 21st. Get tickets here. Stream ‘Fluid Existential Inversions’ below. 

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