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In Vain - Currents Award winner

In Vain
Currents
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 29 January 2018, 7:37 AM

Norwegian Progressive Death/Black Metal band formed in Kristiansand in 2003. To date, the band have released three full-length albums, and five years have passed until their fourth offering here, “Currents,” which contains seven tracks. “Seekers of the Truth” doesn’t waste a lot of time establishing a dangerously aggressive sound, amidst well-timed melodies and the advanced computations of Progressive Metal rhythms. The combination of these elements is quite unlike anything else I have heard in this specialized genre. It’s fierce, but totally listenable. Using the mid-section as an example, they drop the intensity a bit and give you a breathable passage of harmonies. “Soul Adventurer” opens with a punchy guitar rhythm and clean vocals. The accents are like mathematical equations where the answers require further investigation. They let the melodies hang out in the forefront; easy for you to feel and grasp.

“Blood We Shed” sees the beast in the album rear up its head again and start claiming victims. It’s weighted and angry, with guttural Death vocals, steady bass drum grinds and varied rhythmic changes. Keep on your toes however, as wondrous melodies are available at every turn, including a choir of harmonized vocals that shine brightly. The diversity on the album is noteworthy. “En Forgangen Tid” combines several different vocal deliveries, and the push and pull of melody and aggression. This is one of the features that makes the genre so special in my opinion. The beast is here, but has been subdued with the sweet voice of a maiden, unafraid of his power. “Origin” opens with a great bass line, and outstanding guitar work. There is a frail beauty here amidst the despondent sound, like something from INSOMNIUM or even IHSAHN. The emotional impact in this song is intensive and powerful.

One of the things I like most in my music is when the sound of the song matches the song title. In “As the Black Horde Storms,” you can literally hear the gallop of the heavy hooves of horses, shouldering their black riders of death swiftly across the field, through the forest and consuming villages in their path. The end is imminent. “Standing on the Ground of Mammoths” is as monumental as it sounds. Like witnessing the passing of an era, or the end of the world followed by a re-birth, you marvel in the moment and look forward to the possibilities of the future. The moment is conveyed with a fleshy barrage of instruments and vocals, and the warm elegance of acoustic guitar and saxophone. The crescendo at the end hold that future promise high.

“Currents” is an affirmation of a band and album that does not live in the conventions of the musical norm, but rather burns deeply with a passion of a litany of emotions that is missing in much of the music you hear today. The veracity of their craft, combined with flawless musicianship, makes this an early contender for “Album of the Year.”

Songwriting: 10
Originality: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 9

5 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Seekers of the Truth
2. Soul Adventurer
3. Blood We Shed
4. En Forgangen Tid
5. Origin
6. As the Black Horde Storms
7. Standing on the Ground of Mammoths
Lineup:
Johnar Håland - Guitars and bgv
Andreas Frigstad - Main Vocals
Sindre Nedland - Clean Vocals, Piano, Organs and bgv
Kristian Wikstøl - Bass and Hardcore Vocals
Kjetil Pedersen – Guitars
Record Label: Indie Recordings
     


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Edited 16 October 2018
 

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