The greatest band to emerge from Saskatchewan, Canada, and in fact one of the greatest of all Canadian bands, is Into Eternity. Their true brilliance emerged on their previous release DEAD OR DREAMING. BURIED IN OBLIVION follows in fine form proving that the previous album was no mere fluke for the band but only hinted at what we are treated to with this release.
Close-minded detractors of the band cannot wrap their minds around the wide range of styles the band is able to coherently blend into their songs. If you are a “brutaler than thou” death metaler then the beautiful multi-part harmony vocals might scare you off. On the flipside, if you only like “nice” vocals, the roaring lion death metal vocals and the shrieking black metal vocals may scare you away. If you are open minded enough to appreciate death metal, progressive/technical metal, and power metal, Into Eternity will blow your mind! Despite undergoing some line-up changes in 2003, the band has maintained and in fact improved their sound both from a song perspective and in terms of sound quality. They have polished their song writing skills with a better balance within songs of the death and the melody. Since the last album, guitarist Jeff Storry left the band and was replaced by guitarist Rob Doherty. As well, Chris Krall is on this album and his presence is felt as he shares lead vocals with Tim Roth. There are also hardly no keyboards on the album, and the guest female vocalist from DEAD OR DREAMING is unfortunately not on here. Not that either holds the album back though!
The first time I played the CD I had to do a double take as shredding guitars a la Paul Gilbert/Racer X intro the first song “Splintered Visions”. Thankfully, a metal album that doesn’t begin with a big intro, but slices in with some lead guitars….quite a bold statement! The song has lots of guitar lines, melodies, time changes, and of course the vocals that switch between the melodic and the brutal. Then it’s another ass kicker with “Embraced By Desolation” which begins with a technical Iron Maiden sounding riff accompanied by some interesting drumming before it moves into a heavier section. The harmony section that begins with the line “I see the nameless” and follows into the chorus is excellent. I’d love to see this pulled off live (or any of their vocal harmonies). This is just incredible, jaw-dropping, mind blowing…how many more adjectives can I throw in here to tell you how much I love this band! It would be repetitious to drool over every song on here, since they are all great. Instead, I’ll point out just a couple more moments on the CD that are more memorable for me. I’ll start with “Isolation” which is one of my favorite tracks in part thanks to the chorus where Chris sings the highest part on the album but still sounds powerful, exuding an excellent sense of melody. I like the changes between the melodies of the chorus to the thrash sections. Also, the whole section around the solo with the machine gun riffs, then sweeping leads followed by more harmonies, this just has it all. Then there is the title track “Buried In Oblivion” which is an eerie acoustic ‘ballad’ with entirely crystal clear vocals. The vocals are done in several layers, often in harmony, and are again mind blowing. At first I thought it was a bit weird to choose this type of song for the album’s title track, but upon further reflection, I think it’s quite fitting since it stands out on the album. This acts as an intro to the song “Black Sea Of Agony” which is another of the stronger tracks from the CD. It’s neat how they manage to return to the chorus of “Buried In Oblivion” later in “Black Sea Of Agony”. Album closer “Morose Seclusion” is similar in style to the title track with more great vocal lines and clean guitar with keys also present in the background.
BURIED IN OBLIVION is unquestionably poised to make its way to the top of this writer’s year-end list. If this album doesn’t get the band the recognition it so rightfully deserves, the listening public is deaf. This is so many miles ahead of most prog/technical bands and so much above a lot of the melodic metal bunch that never dare add in the brutalizing elements or overly technical riffing. I wouldn’t want every band to emulate Into Eternity’s style, but some bands (and listeners) could no doubt take a pointer or two on how seemingly polar opposite metal styles can peacefully exist in one band.
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