Into Eternity - Buried In Oblivion


Year of Release: 2004
Label: Century Media
Catalog Number: 8133-2
Format: CD
Total Time: 43:42:00

Since we last visited Canadian prog/power/death metal band Into Eternity, with 2002's sophomore release Dead Or Dreaming, the band have been signed to Century Media and have had a series of personnel changes - Daniel Nargang has left, to be replaced by Rob Doherty on guitar and Chris Krall on vocals, and, as of this writing, bassist Scott Krall has just left. So they are very much a band in transition, and, in some ways, this album shows it.

Buried In Oblivion picks up where the previous album left off, and from production point of view - cold versus warm - this strikes the right balance. And don't expect to find any upbeat, cheery tunes here? well, the title should tell you that if you're not already familiar with the band.

For me, the best tracks come right at the end, and I'll admit that it comes from by prog rock/clean vocals bias. Not that the rest of the album is bad, or that what I like about them makes these three tracks are limp. But they are the three that excite me the most about the album. So, right from the get-go I'll let you know that I don't particularly care for death vocals, except when used sparingly or for effect. And while I haven't taken a survey to see whether clean vocals or death vocals predominate on this release, I can say that I much prefer the clean and think that the death are used pretty much in the right balance.

There isn't a lot of chugging here as the arrangements, though heavy, feel more open and thus gives each member room to explore. When you are trapped, in a way, in this lockstep, marching assault, you loose a critical element to good music - regardless of genre - dynamics. That isn't say using it as one element of an overall sound is wrong, in fact, for this style of music, it becomes imperative to create a mood or drive home a point, whether musically or lyrically -- here, the example would be "Point Of Uncertainty". And maybe that's why, at least to me, Into Eternity appeals despite the death vocals. That isn't to say there isn't some double-bassing - "Beginning Of The End" begins with them - but it's good that Austin doesn't rely on it to carry the whole track, as once the track really gets going, he throttles back to a nice, easy rhythm, without losing the heaviness. However, it is "Point Of Uncertainty" that loses its way at one point, seeming to stand still for a moment or two for the expected extra burst of pummeling, which overwhelms the vocals, rather than surrounding them, as I think the intent was. But, they quickly get back on track.

It's guitar that opens this album with a speedy, yet classical and lyrical, run, opening the pummeling "Splintered Visions." With all the varying dynamics at play here, there is a third dynamic element, as the there are two sets of death vocals, one deeper (deathier?) than the other. Throughout the album, Chris Krall (vocals), Tim Roth (guitar, vocals), and Doherty all share death vocal duties (Krall and Roth share clean vocal duties). "Dimensional Aperture" is a dense, heavy track that is filled by Jim Austin's drum attack, compounded by the thumping bass of Scott Krall, and where the balance leans towards death vocals.

"Isolation" is one of those tracks that heads in one direction, where you think it's going to be the "signature tune" the sing-a-long hit in a melodic metal kind of way, but the band change gears with the death vocals section.... it's one that appeals and defies expectation. There is some very nice guitar / drums interplay during the "bridge" of "Spiraling Into Depression" ? here, the extra heavy assault just before the end works in a way that it doesn't on "Point?"

Into Eternity don't really let up until the acoustic, Spanish-guitar influenced title track begins, a track that also features some very nice clean vocal harmonies and sharp guitar leads. It serves as the intro to "Black Sea Of Agony." It's the "chorus" of "Buried In Oblivion" that sticks with me long after the album has ended? in a haunting kind of way. And maybe it's also because it is repeated in "Black Sea Of Agony." These two are my favorites, the latter darkly churning with plenty of clean vocals (a plus for me) and well placed and utilized death vocals. From a compositional point of view, this song has quite a dynamic and complex arrangement packing so many neat elements - guitar solos and leads, great drumming, driving bass lines? nothing else on the album hits me in the same way these two tracks do. And they cap it off with the moody "Morose Seclusion," a mellow, acoustic, balladic piece that doesn't come across as mushy at all. Even with the sound of Hammond, strings, and a subtle backing chorus of "woo-hoo." Nice stuff.

Maybe I've become jaded about this style of music, no longer being surprised or overwhelmed by the power of it, but there is nothing here that totally blew me away, despite the appeal of the last three tracks. But, that is not indicative of a bad album, just one that has maybe settled into a groove, a comfort zone. It's a transition album, so if the band settle down, and settle in with a new label (and maybe increased prominence), their fourth outing will sparkle.

Into Eternity are on tap for the fifth ProgPower USA festival in September 2004


Tracklisting:
Splintered Visions (4:56) / Embraced By Desolation (4:08) / Dimensional Aperture (4:47) / Beginning Of The End (4:39) / Point Of Uncertainty (3:45) / Spiraling Into Depression (3:36) / Isolation (4:59) / Buried In Oblivion (4:00) / Black Sea Of Agony (6:31) / Morose Seclusion (3:21)

Musicians:
Jim Austin - drums and backing vocals
Rob Doherty - guitar and death vocals
Chris Krall - clean/death vocals
Scott Krall - bass and backing vocals
Tim Roth - clean/death vocals and guitar

Discography:
Into Eternity (1999/2000)
Dead Or Dreaming (2001/2002)
Buried In Oblivion (2004)
The Scattering Of Ashes (2006)
The Incurable Tragedy (2008)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin CA

Added: March 22nd 2004
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Score:
Artist website: www.intoeternity.net
Hits: 809
Language: english

  

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