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Into Eternity Buried in Oblivion

By Brian Davis, Contributor
Monday, June 14, 2004 @ 11:06 PM

(Century Media)

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Blurring all borders and boundaries, Canadian Metal Monoliths Into Eternity have transcended the confining strictures of any given musical style, and in doing so have delivered what is undoubtedly one of the best albums not only of the year, but for years to come. Buried In Oblivion is a unique, technical, and uncompromising album of groundbreaking precision combining the virtuosity and structural evolution of Progressive Metal, the melodic yet dominant vocal harmonies of Power Metal, and the relentless driving brutality of unabashed Death Metal. Into Eternity have made every effort to bring a taste of something new yet dependable to the Extreme Metal scene, and this album is so well constructed and delivered that the listener is left with no doubt that this is a band whose sound, skill and quality can be counted on unconditionally.

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Chances are, most of you have never heard this band and may therefore be like me in that your first reaction to the idea of “Progressive Power Death Metal” is a distasteful look of automatic dismissal or a gag reflex. I know I initially approached this disc intending to be disappointed; therefore I was all the more stunned when solid song after solid song came rolling out of the speakers. This is not a band that is predominantly one style. Every song incorporates groundbreaking compositions from each genre, and plenty of it. The part I most feared -- the Power Metal vocals -- turned out to be stunningly well delivered. Alternating clean lead vocals, vocalist Chris Krall and guitarist Tim Roth deliver some truly inspired singing, coming together frequently with utterly beautiful vocal harmony. Also thrown in the mix are three very distinct yet equally brutal Death Metal vocal styles (one of which is astoundingly similar to that of Peter Tatgren from Hypocrisy), courtesy of vocalist Chris Krall and guitarists Tim Roth and Rob Doherty. Now underneath, add a bounty of mind-numbing guitar virtuosity, expert and adventurous song structuring, melody-drenched solos, a tight low-end bass sound from Chris’ brother Scott, and some impressive percussion by Jim Austin (the last two also adding backing vocals), and your mind is bound to be reeling. Make your way to the end of the disc, take all of the above into account plus the innumerable brilliant subtleties throughout each of the songs, and you’ll find yourself scratching your head in disbelief. Not only do these guys make it work, but it works so well that they deserve to be classified in a field all their own.

As should be obvious by now, this band is not big on repetition or redundancy, and that shines clearly throughout the album. Starting immediately with a searing Progressive-laced guitar solo, “Splintered Visions” allows no time for false pretenses or misinterpretations -- this music is not to be second-guessed, so you might as well just lay back and enjoy the ride. The pace accelerates with “Embraced By Desolation,” which offers extremes of both brutal Death and emotive Power vocals with a beautiful vocal harmony throughout the chorus. It is here that the lyrical aspects begin to take hold, instilling a growing sense of depression, sadness, loss and desperation -- a theme that carries throughout the album: “I see the nameless, I feel the soulless, embraced by desolation. Can't take no more desolation, self-murder, revelation.” The first total aural beating comes in the next song, “3 Dimensional Aperture,” a song written in memory of the passing of guitarist Tim’s mother and guitarist Rob’s father: “Gathered by the site with lonely tears, a fallen victim of life. Cut short, broken, cheated, banished by the light. A cold black grim stone's writing offers to remind -- The cold dark moist soil is where all shall one day lie.” The song takes off at a brutal pace with one of the dominant death vocals coming in hard and gritty then shifting to a second higher and even more seethingly wicked death vocal. Running counterpoint is a great chorus with more of the clean vocal harmony and ample moments of moving guitar solo virtuosity.

Continuing to accelerate, one of the two best songs on the album comes rolling in like a stampeding horde of craven, ravenous, soul-hungry demons -- “Beginning Of The End.” Carrying the best triple-death vocal assault on the entire album as well as one of the greatest solo breaks I’ve ever heard, this song hits hard and does not let up. The wailing brilliance and musical excellence continue at a steady pace throughout the rest of the album, hitting especially memorable marks with the rippingly heavy “Spiraling Into Depression,” which also carries some of the most gripping lyrics: “Alone in your circle of despair your dreams are discarded. Clinging to a sterile existence, self-pity and lingering grief, depleted and beaten”; the title track “Buried In Oblivion” -- an entrancing, almost funerary, acoustic tune with more hypnotic vocal harmonies which carry smoothly into a second and heavier counterpart called “Black Sea Of Agony,” complete with climactic guitar riffs, heavy growls and mournful vocal peaks: “The Skies are blackening. What was will never be. Sent out into the sea, my sails won't carry me. Lack of worth is all I know, this guilt out of control. The ocean crashes down again, a black sea drowning me.” Closing out the album and driving the last nail into a coffin of sorrowful emptiness, the other crowning achievement “Morose Seclusion” settles you back down gently into the bosom of depression and solitude with some incredibly moving vocals and more beautiful acoustic passages. An ultimate album closer, this song is 50 lb. diamond in an album loaded with priceless gems.

At once sorrowful and uplifting, Buried In Oblivion is an extraordinary musical accomplishment in all areas -- vocal, instrumental, lyrical, and compositional. This is a must-have album for fans of every genre -- there’s something in here for everyone; and you will be stunned at the adept dexterity by which Into Eternity transcend each genre to make a new breed all its own. Do yourselves a vital favor and discover the darkest depths of desolation and seclusion; give way to the tides of the Black Sea and Bury yourself in the Oblivion.

Here’s the easy part:

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