Into Eternity – The Sirens
Date Reviewed: August 2018
Ten years is, at least in terms of the current musical climate as relating to new material, an eternity. I mean no pun there, because in order to maintain relevance it seems more important now more than ever before for bands to essentially always be releasing new material, teasing intimate recording tidbits via social media, and generally always being on and accessible to their fanbase. Facing myriad difficulties in the preceding decade, Canada’s death hybrid masters Into Eternity, come bursting back with album six, “The Sirens.” Heed their call.
Storied amongst fans of the prairie tundra informed sound of Tim Roth and company, new and old fans will find much to rejoice in while navigating the waters in which “The Sirens” call home, with homage to the past and a dead eye towards the future, glassy yet aware, and looking ever forward to reinvention with a sense of its own history and the hole it left in the metalsphere when Into Eternity basically went, well, into eternity.
It is inescapable to talk about Into Eternity without mentioning the venerable Stu Block, who landed his current gig with Iced Earth based on his strengths as a vocalist (and no doubt on the musical dexterity of the other players in Into Eternity and some high profile tours). With his blessing, Amanda Kiernan (also of The Order of Chaos) stepped into the role. The new lineup, if you want to call it that, is rounded out by Troy Bleich (also of Planet Eater and Terraplane), Matt Cuthbertson (also of Untimely Demise), Bryan Newbury (also of Sadistic Embodiment, Culled, and Immunize), and of course Tim Roth (also of godly shredding). Go check out all the bands in parentheses. The current lineup has been stable for five or so years to the best of my memory, so it isn’t new – it may just be new to you.
Featuring two singles in the form of “Sandstorm” and “Fukishima,” “The Sirens” finds Into Eternity firing all cylinders, with newfound purpose found in the arrangements and overall aggression of the sound. The core remains unchanged and also unequaled, Roth steering his ship with a singular vision and intent, to marry the aspects of Death Metal he loves with an unabashed love of progressive noodling that makes the head spin. And spin. And spin.
Beginning in marvelous fashion, title track “The Sirens” wastes no time in introducing Kiernan, with her rasp making neck hairs raise while the rhythm section of Newbury and Bleich hammers away blast by groove, Cuthbertson matching Roth riff for riff and lick for lick. And then things really get choppy on this journey.
Lead single “Fringes of Psychosis” is a showcase for Amanda Kiernan, end of story. The song is a clinic in vocal control and range, Kiernan channeling Block and his mid range attack to an impressive degree but not in a way that is pandering nor imitating – her voice is a powerhouse all on its own. The song itself is easily among the strongest ever written by the band, and being six albums in with fan favourites and band favourites, that is no small feat. Also returning is that awesome 3 vocal attack. Just delicious, really.
Special mention should be made of “This Frozen Hell,” an ode to winter in Saskatchewan. If you have never experienced it, well, it’s a dry cold. I mention this song in particular as, lyrically, at least, it seems to me to be a bit of a tribute to Rob Doherty. I could be wrong, and probably am. But I’ll be damned if “This Frozen Hell” doesn’t warm the cockles of my heart and give birth to The Face. You know the one.
“The Sirens” is an album representing a rebirth for Into Eternity and there are treasures to be found if you are willing to dive into its depths. There are surprises as well, which I of course implore you to find for yourselves.
Welcome home. It’s been far too long.