Into Eternity - The Incurable Tragedy - 4.5/5
I come to this bands 4th album no stranger to their previous work, not to say I was a fan. Although being distinct, releasing their own brand of metal, something always felt missing, leading to a largely mediocre affair. I was fully expecting more of the same distinct yet somehow lacking music, yet I would quickly realise this was not to be the case.
Although a prog band at its core, with an odd blend of melodeath, a healthy chunk of power, both black and death vocals as well as the obvious classically influenced sections, this is bordering on the avant-garde, yet at no point does it feel out of place. But what truly separates this album from their previous work is the emotions that are present at every moment, from pure aggression to despair, it involves the listener at every step in this epic tale. Drawing on personal emotions (After a little research, I discovered the lead guitarist lost two friends and his father to cancer since their previous album) its apparent that he’s poured his heart out on this masterpiece.
The short introductory track is nothing uncommon anymore, and often feels like a requirement for any metal album. Here, it fits perfectly, setting a depressive atmosphere and perfectly juxtaposing the track to come. With blistering pace the album truly gets underway. Schizophrenically switching from low death metal grunting, high pitched black metal screaming, a soft emotional chorus, and both doom-y and power-esque riffs this gives a clear indication of what’s to come.
The vocals here are nothing short of outstanding. The sheer number of styles they manage to successfully incorporate, though there are a large number of cleanly sung power metal vocals, the bassist and guitarist both contribute significantly to the end result, yet they all manage to display a unique twist on the emotions running through this album. Nowhere does this become more apparent than on “A black light ending,” switching between slow riffs and deep growls with a distinct aggressive tone, quicker paced riffs and higher pitched black metal growls reminiscent of “sigh”, and into the chorus which would be fitting for the final scene of a musical (albeit a metal orientated musical).
The drumming frequently changes pace and seamlessly integrates passages to form a coherent song without ever appearing overpowered, and for the most part the guitar work does the same, though at times it feels like filler. Fortunately, these passages quickly change into something else, keeping it sounding fresh and interesting. The classically influenced “Incurable Tragedy” breaks up what could otherwise become a tiresome exercise flawlessly, and sound like something I wouldn’t expect this band capable of.
This is not an album tailored to everybody’s taste. The sheer quantity of styles incorporated is bound to have people wishing more of one in particular, not to mention the chaotic way the styles run together is sure to turn many away. This is an album which requires intent listening from start to finish to truly appreciate the level of detail present, but the end result is a worthwhile one.
(Highlights; Tides of Blood, Black Light Ending, The incurable Tragedy)
By T. Bawden