Instrumental metal is a fickle creature. Too languid, and it bores the listener. Too frenetic, and it deters the listener from digesting the product. Bands who are able to walk a fine line between the indolent and the jarring are able to construct musical structures that captivate listeners.
I had the pleasure of seeing Toronto’s Intervals a couple of years ago when they opened for Protest the Hero. At the time, they had a vocalist and were promoting their album, A Voice Within. While the moment in Intervals‘ timeline with vocals was brief, it created a tumultuous rift about the direction of the band and ultimately led to guitarist Lukas Guyader and drummer Anup Sastry leaving guitarist Aaron Marshall as the sole member of the group.
Marshall is technically the only recognized member of Intervals on The Shape of Colour, however that did not stop him from recruiting other musicians to help on the new album and create a fiery jazz-infused progressive metal album. Joining Marshall in recording was Cam McLellan (bassist, Protest the Hero) and Travis Orbin (drums, Darkest Hour/Scar Symmetry) to create a core trio for the production, recording, and engineering.
The Shape of Colour vividly overcomes this fickle creature of instrumental metal. The album as a whole avoids feeling either dull or convoluted. Instead, opting to engross the listener in swirling guitar riffs and incorporating other musicians and instruments into the formula. For instance, “Fable” blends a smooth jazz saxophone (played by Leland Whitty) with Marshall’s adventurous guitars.
Overall, The Shape of Colour is a shining example in instrumental, progressive metal. Let this album serve as a beacon for the talent Aaron Marshall possesses as well as the quality of music Intervals makes no matter the personnel. It seems at times that this band gets shuffled behind their counterparts Animals as Leaders or Scale the Summit, but Marshall and whoever he recruits for the future of this group deserve your full attention.