Indricothere, living during the late Oligocene epoch (part of the Tertiary Period in the Cenozoic Era), is thought to be the largest land mammal that ever walked the earth. A distant relative of the rhinoceros, they were not as fearsome as their descendents would have you believe – they looked more like gigantic, tree-munching giraffes. Still, a cool name for a band, especially the kind of lumbering, mostly peaceful post-hardcore currently plied by today’s underground giants like Isis and Cult of Luna.

Except that this Indricothere sounds nothing like that – this is frantic, highly fragmented technical death. Instrumental too – no vocals to distract you from a blizzard of hyperspeed riffing and even faster drumming (all programmed, but who cares, it sounds great).

If you dig a little deeper, the sound should come as no surprise, since it’s the solo brainchild of Colin Marston, also of Behold… the Arctopus, Dysrhythmia and now this year’s excellent Krallice. (Marston also runs a recording studio in Queens called The Thousand Caves, which has got to be the pulsing core of the New York metal movement).

To say that there’s a lot to take in over the album’s 5 tracks (with the longest topping out at 9:28) would be a gross understatement. Some of this stuff makes current math-metal stalwarts like The Dillinger Escape Plan look staid and conventional by comparison. Indricothere scrambles between what seems like an endless succession of churning, hyperspeed riffs (usually death, but there are some thrashy bits scattered through) and slow, crumbling stomps. Strains of other genres occasionally rocket to the surface of the maelstrom, whether it’s the loops of mutating prog at the core of track 4, or the dreamlike acoustic folk that ripples through track 5. But mostly, this is just relentless, channel-surfing brutality, and everything is performed at an insane level of precision (or a precise level of insanity). The production is terrific, allowing each of the elements to stand on their own even as they try to out-spaz each other.

Impressive as it is, this is kind of thing that will either enthrall you with its ingenuity, or annoy you with its capriciousness. As with most heavily fragmented technical metal, the more you put into it, the less jarring and erratic it will become (expect many many listens to get to that point). However, I do think there is a line between unpredictability and just plain chaos, and this brings up a larger question of what actually defines a song. To bring up an example, I think this year’s Gigan release, while also sharing Indricothere‘s dissonant, volatile psychosis, knew when to pull away and let a song breathe, so that it became easier to “chunk” into memory. You’ll have a harder time doing that with this release. I suppose the easiest solution is just to liken this to jazz, and while nothing here directly smacks of that genre, it does share its protean, self-referencing creativity.

That all said, this is definitely worth a listen for fans of Marston’s other projects or tech-death junkies. Be prepared to put some time into it, though.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jordan Itkowitz
September 29th, 2008


  1. Commented by: Cynicgods

    I quite like this. Difficult, abstract instrumental music FTW.

  2. Commented by: swampthang

    i just listened to it and ya know its good but my small brain can’t take this kind of overload.

  3. Commented by: sandwiches

    i loved this cd. reminds me of blotted science but crazier and less rhythmic. who the hell is gigan?

  4. Commented by: Cynicgods

    Gigan: Ex-Hate Eternal guys that play a very technical yet belligerent style of death metal. Not for everybody.

  5. Commented by: gabaghoul

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