ALBUM REVIEW: InTechnicolour – ‘Midnight Heavyweight’

A neon-lit Japanese street

Four-piece InTechnicolour certainly match up to their name. Bustling their way through a homegrown UK scene, they shed some positively-charged beauty onto the murkier stuff championed by desert-based doom mongers. There must be something brighter and more soothing in that Brighton seaside life. 

Since their rollicking riffs made a name for themselves on debut Big Sleeper, the quartet took the troublesome lockdown time to create a reflective, heady album filled with stonking guitar lines and introspective vocal takes more reminiscent of the prog-doom types. Think along the lines of Baroness’ chief songwriter and painter John Baizley rather than the gruff weed-based hymns of Sleep’s Al Cisneros.

Singer Tobie Anderson’s vocal range gets layered tastefully to the brim on opener Bloodmoonshine. The title’s portmanteau resembles the music too, as a controlled build meets a crunching outro head-on. The Wave centres around a boppy staccato beat and takes on a more alt-rock anthemic role in its chorus, but gets met midway by Anderson’s rasp and the group’s locked-in harmony storyboarding the eardrums.

Tokyo Dream, a cut that slows the pace with some subdued verses, channels Josh Homme’s more romantic Queens Of The Stone Age moments, both vocally and in the surprisingly off-kilter melodies guitarist Dave Jackson handles with aplomb. A key standout, it perfectly merges churning beauty with an underlying hint of sadness; a by-product of the inability to thrash ideas out through fully-cranked “slightly broken amps” during the pandemic and Anderson’s anxiety in supporting his pregnant partner in the midst of a chaotic, uncertain world. While his voice maintains a level of control to convey that starkly melancholic tone, when the hooks hit, they go for the gut. In his own words, “there’s a good deal of ‘belting’ vocals on the record but most of the melodies come from a much more considered and relaxed place.”

Truly, on balladic centrepiece Corner Of Time In The World, “considered and relaxed” dynamics meet with bottom-string worship as the orchestra unfolds, preceding a mood represented on the title track. With the main musical idea sounding like an upbeat cut from fellow melodic doom maestros Pallbearer, this soul-soothing syrup gets distilled in the interlude Remember Not To Forget—a vignette of that massive consolitary hug the band’s sound exhibits across this sophomore effort.

Fans of the trudge, gloom and groove will not be disappointed either. While those adjectives remain centrepieces of doom-metal, these lads use them as a foundation to elaborate into glistening textures. Best displayed on open love-letter Fever Queen, it’s the musical equivalent of sunlight bursting through the deep ocean when the chorus lifts from the intro’s swashbuckling stank-face bop. Room-shattering textures rip through the latter half of Making Friends With Shadows and Eastman closes an emotionally-affecting show.

It may not be the heaviest in the doom catalogue as some will crave, but there are plenty of vibe-worthy moments that will no doubt reverberate the rooms of sticky live rooms. Anderson and the gang conjure up some moments of reflection that provide a necessary antidote to those missed times and hopefully signal brighter days afoot. Life can’t be doom and gloom forever, after all.

For fans of: Pallbearer, Windhand, Soundgarden

‘Midnight Heavyweight’ by InTechnicolour is released on 4th November on Small Pond Records.

Words by Elliot Burr

Leave a Reply