To some the term; “Instrumental” may come with negative connotations – and in fairness, the genre itself is of course not the cultural phenomenon that it was back in the yesteryears. By this token, there’s a certain level of probability that those not well versed in this form of music would view it as an old-fashioned symbol of where the art form used to be as opposed to where it’s going, spending its remaining years gratifying a niche audience.
Dismantling this presumption with aplomb is Aaron Marshall AKA Intervals. Providing a form of progressive instrumental rock music in such a way that the tones feel fresh, modern and crafted with almost numbing detail. Spending five years at the forefront of the scene, Marshall’s third full offering ‘The Way Forward’ is more well-layered ensembles of prog that his fans would come to expect – with the added flavour of some truly delightful riffs.
Perhaps best described as Periphery or even Tesseract without vocals throws his creative glue at the wall throughout most of The Way Forward – and a fair amount sticks. Tracks like ‘Touch And Go’ and ‘Belvedere’ are a twisting 10 minutes that take enough tonal diversions to make you nauseous – but also do enough to maintain a streamlined structure, one that makes them an insatiable listen.
Admittedly this is not a record for those who enjoy a somewhat simplistic style, The Way Forward can only really be appreciated when time is taken to break every track apart. ‘The Waterfront’ and ‘By Far And Away’ have so many layers to them that you’ll be noticing little nuances within their bones even after several listens, this is an album that rewards listeners who are looking to take apart their music and examine its parts with microscopic vision.
The Way Forward is a record that will sit proudly amongst the works of Aaron Marshall – and it’s one that pre-established fans are going to have endless fun sinking their teeth into. While it requires a significant level of attention from its listener to avoid the record sounding like one elongated song, it’s an album that shows terrific craftsmanship, musicianship, and creativity.