Album Review: Search Party – Interloper

If you had asked me what to expect from a band made up of members from Vampire Squid, The Faceless, Abiotic, and Rings of Saturn, I’d have guessed we’d get served some sort of masturbatory tech-death jizz salad. I like all of those bands, to some extent, but on paper Interloper didn’t inspire confidence within me. Before I hit play, I thought what I was about to hear would be an After the Burial/Trivium love child. Maybe a cousin to Veil of Maya and Born of Osiris trying to gangbang Archspire while the guys from All That Remains take pictures on their phones from the corner of the room. In other words… a variation of something we’ve all already heard ten or twelve dozen too many times. Well, I was wrong. 

Interloper call what they do “Melodic/Progressive Metalcore,” which is quite an apt description as it turns out, but it’s also unfairly limiting. Because as soon as you call something “Core,” the Suicide Silenceness of the name just starts rolling the eyes of anyone remotely close by. Okay, to be fair, maybe that’s just me. Attach “Core” to the description of something, then watch me nearly choke to death. 

“But Joel, there are tons of great Metal/Deathcore bands!” 

Yeah, no there aren’t. Not any that specifically go out of their way to “Core” anything. Killswitch Engage is Killswitch Engage. Converge, Every Time I Die, Fit For An Autopsy, The Acacia Strain, The Black Dahlia Murder… all needlessly labeled “Core,” so shut the fuck up!

“Pathkeeper” is a fast and furious album opener, which does give off a bit of a Core-ish vibe until the vocals kick in. Andrew Virrueta’s approach is far more melodic than the average Core vocalist. Opting out of the scream/clean-chorus/scream algorithm in favour of painstakingly crafted clean harmonies, with an occasional scream tossed in for flavouring. Just to name a couple, the vocals on “Drift,” and “Dreamlands” are fantastic, but a real standout moment is the cover of Duran Duran’s “Rio.” I know what you must be thinking. Trust me. You’ll want to hear this. 

Virrueta and Miles Baker are ridiculously talented guitarists, which they have both already proven with Vampire Squid and Rings of Saturn, but what they do here is unique in that they’re shredders who prefer to serve the song. And that 100% of the time, which often translates into nearly solo-less material. There are a ton of great riffs sprinkled about the record, and some fantastic moments in “Moonlight,” “The Wishing Well,” “Baring Teeth,” and the title track. A real treat for lovers of the instrument who appreciate hearing guitarists respect guitar playing. The kind of thing that could really inspire others, and that kind of thing is seriously lacking these days. 

A good place to hear all of what Interloper has to offer at once is on “Cheshire.” That tune will knock your ass over! A perfect example of progressive songwriting excellence. Check it out.

The band as a whole is much more focused on the progressive side of their influences. Something a bit like an easier on the ears Opeth, or a little less persnickety Porcupine Tree. I can see Devin Townsend being a fan, though Interloper has a good chance of crossing over into a number of fanbases.

“Search Party” is Interloper’s first full length release, out now on Nuclear Blast Records.

Rating: 4/5

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