Interloper – Search Party (Album Review)

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Although the first taste of Interloper dates back to 2018, the trio continued to tease their projects yet to come over a number of years, with their EP “A Revenant Legacy” being released in January 2021. Now that summer has arrived, Interloper has dished out the main course: their full-length debut “Search Party.” Comprised of ex-Rings of Saturn members Aaron Stechauner and Miles Baker on drums and guitars, respectively, the band is rounded out with Andrew Virrueta pulling double-duty on guitar and vocals. And for these three experienced musicians, “Search Party” is an expertly crafted adventure that carves out a niche in extreme progressive music. Overflowing with the weight of their wisdom in songwriting as well as ambition to make a project that is truly unique, “Search Party” brings with it aggressive fury and dynamic atmospherics in equal measure. 

There is little question where these former bandmates have drawn inspiration, for though Interloper falls comfortably within the umbrella of progressive music, passages of hearty chugging and acerbic vocals undoubtedly have their roots in metalcore. “Search Party” takes a more melodic approach to the core elements from its members history, encapsulated in the wandering passages of “Bound to Fall.” This song’s spectacular opening melody has both hook and introspection rolled into one, letting the listener savor its delicate proposition before falling away to pure extremity. Virrueta’s vocal variety is yet another strength of “Search Party” that becomes apparent right from the start, contrasting the unforgiving roars which dominate “Baring Teeth” against the melodic title track “Search Party” with expert control. The latter varies not just in vocals but in tempo, showing off  brief interludes of all-encompassing quietude before crashing like a tidal wave into the chorus. 

Interloper has dove into the deep end of progressive music, but continues to be pulled towards the surface by metalcore structures. It’s always good to look for something new (as “Bound to Fall” so poignantly states), but this particular invention seems to fall in a strange no-man’s-land between core and progressive music that leaves it something to a stranger even within the already expansive reach of prog as a whole. While it certainly cements Interloper with a unique sonic identity, the two genres don’t necessarily mesh as much as they do clash against one another between punchy choruses and technically satisfying execution. The overall approach is reminiscent of Dyssidia’s “Costly Signals,” particularly in the tempestuous “The Wishing Well,” but with a somewhat more mechanical touch. “Baring Teeth” is all venom and fury, charging forward like a hungry beast with thunderous blast beats and blazing speed, hardly room for progressive tendencies to rear their head. At points this disparity is refreshing and stands out as a point of artistic vision, but other times feels as though Interloper is desperately trying to mix oil and water. 

“Search Party” Album Artwork

When it comes to setting engrossing atmospheres, Interloper shows their prowess with ease. Much like the art on the album cover suggests, the agonizing desolation of “Drift” perfectly captures the sensation of being set adrift in an unforgiving, furious sea. And in the uplifting magic of “Idle Years” the listener may find themselves suspended in a blissful weightlessness, dancing alongside an ethereal guitar that sounds as though it were pulled directly from Wintersun’s discography. “Moonlight” is yet another example of this duality between Interloper’s darkness and light, a measured dose of chaos and tranquility. The closing track leaves the emotional tumult on a light note, as Interloper covers Duran Duran’s adventurous romp “Rio” with a unique arrangement that maintains the original’s lightheartedness while preserving their metallic bite. 

This debut is an ambitious take which draws from numerous genres and succeeds above all else in giving Interloper a unique identity right from the starting block. Perhaps the most impressive skill “Search Party” demonstrates is restraint, leaving an album that is balanced across and within the tracklist as a whole despite the variety of influences from which they draw. Rather than swinging too far in any one direction this album is tempered, carefully weighing strengths and future ambitions as the sea of change pours in. The benefit of experience comes across clearly with polished production and a well-packaged presentation that carries forward their sonic proposition with intent. “Search Party” is a perfect launching pad, primed to send Interloper in whatever direction they choose to go from here, and to sate eager audiences awaiting what comes next. 

Released By:
Release Date: June 11th, 2021
Genre: Progressive Metalcore

Musicians:

  • Andrew Virrueta / Vocals, Guitars
  • Aaron Stechauner / Drums
  • Miles Baker / Guitars

“Search Party” Track-listing:

  1. Pathkeeper
  2. Bound to Fall
  3. Moonlight
  4. Dreamlands
  5. Drift
  6. Search Party
  7.  The Wishing Well
  8. Idle Years
  9. Cheshire
  10. Baring Teeth
  11.  Rio (Duran Duran cover)

8.6 Great

Dancing across the lines of progressive music and metalcore, Interloper delivers a unique proposition and carves for themselves a unique identity with a fiery debut.

  • Musicianship 9
  • Songwriting 8
  • Originality 8.5
  • Production 9
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