Intense – The Shape of Rage
The band Intense has been around for a while but “Shape of Rage” is my first exposure to them. When I first put the proverbial needle in the groove I could make a comparison to the rhythmic gallop and twin guitar riffing of classic Iron Maiden and thrashing rhythms similar to that of Megadeth. I also feel that fans of Iced Earth and Holy Grail will find this band to their liking.
“The Shape of Rage” is full of twin guitar riffing, and when the lead isn’t riffing, the rhythm is chugging along. The guitarists Dave Peak and Nick Palmer are great players and really have that Murray/Smith vibe going for them, it’s clear these guys are stars of the show. Stephen Brin and Neil Ablard make a formidable rhythm section, and when it comes to the vocals, Sean Hetherington does a good job stepping out front and bringing the songs to life.
While I happen to like all of the songs on the cd there are a few that stand out. “The Elemental” has an excellent thrash thing going for it, and “Lie”, probably the fastest song on the cd, has a good mix of that dual guitar and thrash riffs. “Skull of Sidon II” is the nearly 9 minute epic, and very well crafted. While I like all of the songs, after several listens through from beginning to end, most of the songs (or at least most segments) are in mid-tempo. While songs shift from fast to slow, the moderate pacing of the music became apparent after a while.
My only other complaint about “The Shape of Rage”, and it is fairly small at that, was the over-all volume of all of the instruments in the final mix. I have to say up front that all of the instruments have great tones and no instrument gets lost in the mix. Whether there is some gentle strumming or a singular bass line attack, everything seems to be at the same volume. I think that some modification could add a considerable sense of subtlety in the mix.
Any small fault that I have found in the cd could easily be chalked up to me listening to all of the songs, over and over and over again and having some sort of tunnel-vision. I really enjoyed “Shape of Rage”, from the twin guitar attack to the galloping rhythm. Heck, I just love the frigging songs. Intense is…awesome.
Live Long and Rock Hard,
SpaceKev’s Rating: 4.0 out of 5