I do love me some power-thrash. It’s maybe not the most widely-used term, but it’s pretty self-explanatory: a combination of power metal and thrash metal, usually bringing in the fierce aggression of the latter with the melodies and larger-than-life approach of the former.
In Vain seem to fit nicely into that category, sitting alongside the likes of Dark Empire, Paradox and the more recent offerings of Helstar or Agent Steel. IV sounds like it leans somewhat more towards the thrashy side of things, especially within the riffs and pacing. But often the core song-writing owes more to classic power metal, as does a lot of the lyrical fodder, rooted firmly in traditional topics of honour, victory and striving against the odds. “Frozen Wings” and “To Be King” show this side of the band’s sound most clearly, standing proud and true beside Firewind or Rebellion.
The rest of the album relies pretty solidly on eruptive openings (“A New Beginning”), breakneck pacing that rarely lets up (“Blood & Steel”) and knowing just how to use explosive power to be catchy in that speed junkie way that any thrash fan will know well (“Through Our Veins”, “The Void Inside”).
When at their best, In Vain really epitomise why I love this genre, taking the best of two great subgenres and mixing them up to create something special in its own way. The passion they have for heavy metal shines through every note here, and while they might not be reinventing anything, anyone looking for a solid fix of thrashy, epic goodness will find this a rewarding listen.