Music, Reviews October 6, 2023

INTHEWHALE – Chosen at Random Album Review

by Nate Wilde

Unless you’ve been living underneath a rock in a compound with no electricity, you’ve more than likely heard of the phenomenal force of nature that is Colorado’s Inthewhale.

Inthewhale is the loudest two-man operated rock outfit you’re likely to find in the Centennial State. Consisting of the powerful vocals and fuzz-drenched guitar work of Nate Valdez, along with the bombastic drums and death growls of Eric Riley, Inthewhale has been a staple in the Colorado rock scene for close to 13 years, consistently gaining fans along the way.

The duo will be releasing a new, full-length album entitled Chosen at Random on October 6th, which proves to be the effort that truly sees the rockers shine at their absolute brightest.

Chosen at Random makes it undeniable that Inthewhale doesn’t fit into a box. In fact, a whale would be more appropriate.

The album kicks off with the driving, fuzzed-out Plane Crash which serves as an excellent example of Valdez and Riley’s contrasting clean and unclean vocals, respectively, which go together like Herring and Anchovies. The song has a sense of urgency with a siren-like riff throughout as if to warn the listener about what they’re getting themselves into.

And it’s not just the contrasting vocal styles that lend themselves so nicely to Inthewhale’s sound, but the band has an undeniable knack for taking elements of hardcore punk, death metal, and sometimes even a little bit of shoegaze and acoustic stylings and metaphorically grinding it all together to make a huge, heavy bucket of sonic chum.

Valdez’s vocal style has just as much range as it’s not uncommon to pick up on comparisons from predecessors like Page Hamilton of Helmet, both Ian Mackaye and Guy Picciotto of Fugazi, and even a little bit of Jonathan Davis of Korn at less common times.

Speaking of possible influences, about halfway through Chosen at Random Inthewhale takes you on a trip through Deftones territory with Waves, the sonic equivalent of molasses being dumped out of a dumpster with slow, heavy, dissonant chords that create something bordering on the aforementioned shoegaze, just a lot heavier.

The album truly shows how versatile and studied these rockers are as not only do they create this huge sound with only two members, but the songs morph between genres and overall feel flawlessly, creating a sense of a unique hybrid that when looked at as a whole, feels like a journey as you travel through the ten tracks. Which, it almost goes without saying that once you make that trip, you’ll immediately feel compelled to take it again.

From the melodic yet brutal punk rock stylings of Neon Christ, to the detour to the vulnerable acoustic track Poppies, to the anthemic closing track Wounded, and every stop along the way, Chosen at Random is on a whole new level for Inthewhale and fresh, new, Colorado rock music in general. 

Chosen at Random will be released on October 6th with a special album release show at The Moxi Theater October 7th.