Cleveland, OH is known for its thriving punk scene in the mid- to late '70s, but surely not for any progressive rock bands. In fact, the presence of one current tended to annihilate the chances of the other. Yet, in 1998 the Texas label Shroom Productions unearthed enough material by the group Intra to fill a CD. Sporadically active between 1974 and 1987, Intra is yet another entry in the list of promising and original American prog rock bands that never got a chance to be heard (a list that also includes Hands, OHO, and the Grits, among others). Led by guitarist-singer Mato Tomorowitz, Intra showed influences from early Yes (circa Yes Album), early Eloy, Happy the Man, and the Canterbury scene. The CD culls material of varying quality. First up are five songs from 1976 studio sessions. The writing is complex and witty. "The Voice of Winter" and "Heroes of Ganymede" could have become live staples if the group had "made it." "Son of the Astronaut" and "The Machine" are the only two recordings here to have previously seen the light of day -- on a local EP release in 1984. They feature the best sound of the collection and, despite an effort to keep things simpler, still have exciting moments. "Three's" and "Ritual" are lamentable efforts taken from a 1990 demo. The former throws cliché after cliché on the number three (what's that, the prog rock fan's Sesame Street anthem?) while the latter ranks as the worst use of the theme from "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly" this reviewer has heard. The CD closes with three songs from a 1980 concert. Sound quality takes a short dive but the strength of the material matches the 1976 sessions. A curiosity for the completist, Intra still holds a few gems.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by François Couture