|Released: May 10, 2015
Produced by: Groove Think
Trapped Under The Ice
Within This Space
Night and Day
|Frederick Jones – Guitars, Vocals
Corey Isaacks – Bass, Vocals
Mike Krieger – Drums, Percussion
Combining a plethora of sub-genres to complement their hard rock core, the Austin, Texas based trio Groove Think has forged an impressive prog rock concept album with their 2015 debut Intellect. Never predictable or mundane, the music on this album seamlessly flows from jazz to funk/jam to folk to speed metal all while conveying a Dystopian script on a futuristic world in which information has been made available through a device (called “The Intellect”) which allows humans to upload, download and store information directly, leading to situations of dependency and isolation.
Formed in 2010, Groove Think is comprised of guitarist/vocalist Frederick Jones, bassist/vocalist Corey Isaacks and drummer Mike Krieger. Accomplished musicians, the trio draws influence from many points along the spectrum of classic and modern rock n’ roll, with influential artists ranging from Pink Floyd to Dream Theater to The Mars Volta.
Intellect took about a year and a half to compose and produce. The group is very happy with the results as well as grateful to their supporters who helped them raise $3600 through a Kickstarter campaign to fund this self-produced album. Aside from the drums, which were tracked at Orb Recording Studio in Austin, the album was recorded, produced, and mixed at Groove Think’s home studio. Beyond the four permanent band members, a handful of guest musicians were brought in to add various instruments and further enrich the overall sound of the album.
The quiet folk opener, “Canticulum”, shows that the band has a disciplined sense of restraint. This short opener is built on a simple picked guitar with harmonized vocals on top and a brilliant violin by Jeff Elliot towards the end, In contrast to the opener, “Lemnos” is a pure hard rocker. Jones explained how the album’s concept pivots around two individuals – the creator and a user of “The Intellect” – which probably explains the sudden switching in musical intensity. Through their eyes, emotions, and experiences, the album plays through technological driven themes and other motifs. It starts with a good bass groove and musical riff intro. Later comes some layered layered guitars and other distinct musical sections, with much packed into this rapidly-paced three and a half minute track.
“Trapped Under The Ice” has a short folk intro before it breaks into a frenzied, speed metal jam between calm verses. Overall, this track unfolds through many distinct, prog-influenced passages with the conceptional story alternating with some fine musical interludes. “Together Again” is dark and restrained with a guide guitar leaving space for the lead vocals through most of the track before it dissolves into a psychedelic section as a bridge to “Within This Space”. When this latter song kicks in it has a very enjoyable groove, especially due to the bright interplay between the jazzy guitars of Jones and the funky bass of Isaaks. Later on, a sax solo by Marcus Wilcher brings the album to an entirely distinct station in the journey.
Probably the highest point on the album is “The Mercenary”, with a pure hard rock / metal approach intro, the track quickly changes to a more pop-oriented arrangement led by the bouncy piano of Jack Van Norman. This song actually features several genres rolled into one, with pleasant surprises around every corner while never losing momentum. It is almost a shame when it ends.
“High Strung” unfolds slowly as a slow, picked guitar ballad before breaking into something stronger with excellent riffing interludes and a majestic trumpet solo by Evan Santiago. “Protege” starts with bass-driven verses under harmonized vocals before evolving into a rudiment filled jam where all three core players are dead on, in the spirit of Rush. Beginning with the short link ballad “Night and Day”, the epic thirteen-minute closer, “Memento Mori” starts with a complex drum pattern by Krieger. During a long jam section of this 13-minute track there are several exciting prog-oriented sections, but nothing that breaks new ground from the previous songs on the album.
In all, Intellect is smartly composed with pleasant tones complementing odd signatures as a truly progressive rock concept album.
Groove Think online
You can listen to the entire album on YouTube: