Into the Moat
The Design

At the end of my review for this band’s debut EP, Means by Which the End is Justified, on Love Lost Records, I stated that a full length album from this Florida based, Dillinger Escape Plan inspired tech core band would be pretty impressive. I didn’t know it would be on Metal Blade, but I was certainly right about its quality. There’s very few math core bands that hold my attention as even the insanely talented Psyopus strain my listening patience, but Into The Moat has delivered a crushing, complex and fervent take on the genre that compares technically to the legendary Calculating Infinity but also throws down much harder along the vein of acts like From A Second Story Window and Ion Dissonance.This staggeringly heavy and intricate opus is littered with DEP like jazzy interludes and acoustic refrains, but they all merge seamlessly with the jagged but not overly brain melting riffs and structures. Into The Moat have crafted their complexity to be ADD friendly which means despite the furious complexity, it still retains a sense of coherent pace and timing without being overwhelming. Each note is given a vast resonance and impact by an Eric Rutan (Hate Eternal) and Shawn Ohtani (Council of the Fallen)production and mastering job. A strange non traditional choice, but one that paid of nonetheless as it gives The Design a massive sound that’s differs from most math metal’s clarity. Unlike most music of this style where the album is essentially a over the top display of musicianship split up by 2 second breaks, The Design actually has some tangible pacing to it.

With the staggering intro, “Century II”, leading the way and Earl Richard Rowell IV providing some unusually guttural growls amid the typical screams, the album careens and lurches with the intensity of a runaway rollercoaster car, violently throwing the listener around every twist and turn with rib splintering impact. To most, (previously including me), the continual time changes and angular shifts will be annoying and unsatisfying. But unlike say Forever is Forgotten or even Psyopus, there’s some restraint that allows each song to have some individuality rather than a random collection of notes. Of course, each of the band members especially drummer Matthew Gossman are supremely talented, it’s just that they have ever so slightly tempered their delivery rather than showboat. The fitting machine gun lead in to the huge break towards the end of “Empty Shell” typifies their approach. The tracks vary from short, jagged, stuttering numbers like “Dead Before I Stray”, “Guardian” and “Fortitudine” to lengthier more drawn out technical escapism that envelopes the complex prowess with a more introspective sheen. While “Beyond Treachery” and “Prologue to the Campaign” still imbue the heaving complexity of the shorter songs, they just seem to slightly draw out the riffs and polyrhythms to where while still jarring, they seem more vacant and introspective. “Beyond Treachery” is ridiculously dense and convoluted but keeps your attention rather than make you wander off mentally. “Prologue to the Campaign” is the albums most intellectual track with a hazy jazz intro and ends up as a swirling, mammoth track of insane proportions with a suitably off kilter instrumental outro.

The Design is one of those albums you will love or hate. Some will immediately decry it as a note heavy noodle fest with no true structure. But I’m here to tell you as one of ‘those’ folks, The Design is far more than that. It’s forcefully convoluted but never seems discordant or dissonant, as the note placement and riff structures all drip with a precise, mind bending heaviness that outmuscles the intricacy.

An early entry on my list of top albums for this year and along with Primordial makes a good start for Metal Blade in a young 2005.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
March 5th, 2005


  1. Commented by: EdKemper

    Probably in my top 10 of all time. Furiously creative and under appreciated.

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