Insider – “Event Horizon” (Andruid Records 2013, AR 001, CD)

Italian heavy rockers Insider’s last album, released late last year and titled Vibrations From The Tapes, was a set of instrumental psychedelic improvisations. Event Horizon is their new album is the first set of composed pieces since 2005’s Simple Water Drops, so halle-fuckin’-lujah!! The band are still the trio of Marco Ranalli on electric and acoustic guitars and synths, Piero Ranalli on bass, and Stefano Di Rito on drums. The album includes 8 instrumental tracks in just under an hour.

Escape Velocity opens the set and consists of Stoner-Metal with a Prog rock edge. The music jams hard but there’s enough intensity, interesting melodic guitar and bass development and thematic shifts to keep this 7 minute track engaging. I also like the wah’d psych guitar dueling with the metal leads. Magnetic Field Lines starts off like a stoned version of Red-era King Crimson, and then transitions to a tastefully melodic and nicely spaced out Prog infused heavy rocker. Gravitational Mass alternates between a stoned and doomy vibe and a more upbeat tempo with seductive and uplifting melodies. I like the schizophrenic thematic twists and turns on this one. The feel good melodies within a Prog influenced Stoner-Metal context continues on Jet, and we’re treated to some fun and freaky space electronics near the finale. The title track is a short piece featuring pastoral acoustic guitar combined with HIGH intensity meteor shower space effects. I really dig the crazy contrast on this tune.

The entire album is about never staying in one place at the same time, but the 9 minute Expansion Of The Universe makes it explicit by listing 6 parts: Inertia > Quantum Fluctuations > Development Of Galaxies > Dark Energy > Synthesis Of Elements > The Present Universe. The spirit of heavy King Crimson rears its lovely head again, but we’ve also got Proggy keyboards, while the guitars remain firmly in hard rocking Stoner-Prog territory. This sucker ROCKS! Black Hole morphs between heavy Psych rock, spacey King Crimson and majestic Stoner-Prog. And White Hole is a Stoner-Metal jam with cool twiddling keyboard patterns at the beginning and heavier keyboards later.

I don’t think I’ve ever used the term Stoner-Prog before, but that’s what comes to mind as I consider the heavy riffage, thoughtful melodies, and compositional complexity that exceeds what I typically hear from the average Stoner band. But that’s just one reference and it would be wrong to label Insider a Stoner band anyway. In short, if you like your music on heavy side, with touches of Space Rock and Psychedelia, and a Prog-like consideration for thematic development, then Event Horizon is right up your alley.

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Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

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