As they so bluntly tell us in the subtext of their new song “Devil In Your Crown,” Intruder 424 are living like there’s no tomorrow through their music, and whether it be this white-hot single or any of the other songs you might find their name hanging on in the present, they aren’t about to let a stagnating status quo in the music industry stop them. Vintage stylizations meet contemporary sonic depth in “Devil In Your Crown,” and for those of us who have been waiting for something smart in the rock underground, it couldn’t be arriving at a better time.
The lead vocal is at the center of the mix in this single, and rightly so; in more ways than one, it’s the most important linchpin holding all of the other components together. There isn’t a lot of texture to the guitar parts, but that doesn’t matter – when synchronized with the singer’s crooning in the eye of the storm, they create a flurry of harmonies that are both abrasive and accessible to listeners at the same time. It’s a difficult balance for even the most talented of artists to strike, but for this up-and-coming band, they’re making it look all too easy.
These guitar parts have one heck of a heavy backend, but they’re not nearly as punishing a force to be reckoned with as the drum element in this track is. Right from the jump in “Devil In Your Crown,” the bottom end is growing into a beast that will ultimately play as instrumental a role in the creation of the song’s mood as the guitars do, and while it’s equalized with a little more midrange than I would have gone with, the scheme makes sense when considering the hollow nature of the percussion in the chorus.
There is just no getting around the true bedrock of the track – the drums. Beneath the most violent of thrusts that the melodic instruments can vault in our direction, the percussion is dishing out beats in rapid-fire succession, shifting to the groove of the singer without ever taking full control over the trajectory of the rhythm. I can’t say enough about how important a strong drummer is to a rock group, and in the case of Intruder 424, they found just the right person to be handling the skins.
I wasn’t at all familiar with who Intruder 424 were before getting my hands on their newest music just recently, but having been swept away by the fierce complexities of its star single, I’m very excited to hear what they’re going to do next. They’ve got a lot of raw pieces in their sound that could use a little bit of sanding down if they’re going to make a play for mainstream credibility, but in terms of underground skillsets, what they’re working with is something that a lot of rock groups should and will be jealous of in 2023. Intruder 424 is definitely on my watch list this year, and frankly, they should be on yours, too.