In Vain - Currents review




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Reviewer:
7.8

129 users:
7.91
Band: In Vain
Album: Currents
Release date: January 2018


01. Seekers Of The Truth
02. Soul Adventurer
03. Blood We Shed
04. And Quiet Flows The Scheldt [Special Edition bonus]
05. Origin
06. En Forgangen Tid (Times Of Yore Pt. II)
07. Ghost Path [Special Edition bonus]
08. As The Black Horde Storms
09. Standing On The Ground Of Mammoths


Following up a magnum opus like Ænigma is absolutely no easy task, and it took In Vain five years to come up with a fourth album. A make-it-or-break-it moment. How did they fare?

In Vain are a Norwegian band whose sound blends distinctly Scandinavian influences from both melodic death metal bands such as Amorphis, Dark Tranquillity and Opeth and the progressive-infused black metal of Borknagar, Solefald and Arcturus. This should come as no surprise since Sindre Nedland is the brother of Lazare Nedland of Borknagar and Solefald. Not only that, but members of In Vain have been in Solefald's live band since 2012. While In Vain have been around for about 15 years, it is clear that their sound was shaped by their musical environment.

Much more interesting than how their sound is influenced is how they manage to blend these influences to create an interesting output, giving the album a well-deserved progressive ethos. Currents is in a way slightly more adventurous than Ænigma was, whereas Ænigma is a bit more accessible. While not reaching The Latter Rain levels of adventure, Currents does bring In Vain's most old school-like moments in "Blood We Shed", without forgetting about blending it with their usual colours. The signature saxophone on a few tracks is once again here, giving us a superb sax and guitar interlude during the last track. The black metal is more prevalent in the album's last two tracks, which seem like the closest this album gets to In Vain finding their own unique identity.

The Borknagar-esque vocal harmonies are to be found in abundance all over Currents, and I do wish they found more ways to alter them with both the death growls and the black snarks akin to previous records. Besides the vocals, worthy of note is In Vain's new rhythm section, comprising Alexander Lebowski Bøe and Baard Kolstad. While I can't exactly fault either the performance or the songwriting, at times the album struggles to be both progressive and accessible, ultimately failing to do either, even though most of the time that isn't the case. But the disjointed feeling of the album does persist under the surface of superb riffs and vocal harmonies.

Perhaps most suprising is their decision to release two versions of the album, one of which contains two bonus tracks, but here's the catch: they're not at the album's end. So while their addition does bring new flow to the album while making sure that the opener stays the opener and the closer stays the closer, I can't help but feel that perhaps some other songs should've been the bonus tracks, like "Origin" or "Seekers Of The Truth".

Despite its flaws, Currents is still quite a great record, but it has a lot of giants on whose shoulders to stand, both in their influences and their previous records. I won't go as far as to call it a disappointment; I just wish the album sounded more like the tracks in which their own identity is more clearly seen or in which they bring something new to their sound instead of trying to be Borknagar.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 7
Production: 9


 



Written on 03.03.2018 by My opinion is objective, sorry if you don't agree, but you're wrong.


Comments

Comments: 4   Visited by: 133 users
03.03.2018 - 13:11
BloodTears
ANA-thema
Interesting.

I still haven't listened to the album but it's on my (never ending) list.

Based on this description, I'm pretty sure I'll like it though as In Vain always tries to spice things up.
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Written by BloodTears on 19.08.2011 at 18:29

Like you could kiss my ass.


My Instagram
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03.03.2018 - 13:20
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by BloodTears on 03.03.2018 at 13:11

Interesting.

I still haven't listened to the album but it's on my (never ending) list.

Based on this description, I'm pretty sure I'll like it though as In Vain always tries to spice things up.

Definitely enjoyable, though not as good as Aenigma. Half of it is really great, half of it is more underwhelming
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Professor Isak Borg: And the punishment?
The Examiner: I don't know. The usual, I suppose.
Professor Isak Borg: The usual?
The Examiner: Loneliness.
Professor Isak Borg: Loneliness?
The Examiner: Precisely.
Professor Isak: Is there no mercy?
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04.03.2018 - 00:06
Dream Taster
The Enemy Within
Written by RaduP on 03.03.2018 at 13:20

Written by BloodTears on 03.03.2018 at 13:11

Interesting.

I still haven't listened to the album but it's on my (never ending) list.

Based on this description, I'm pretty sure I'll like it though as In Vain always tries to spice things up.

Definitely enjoyable, though not as good as Aenigma. Half of it is really great, half of it is more underwhelming


That is a fair assessment of the album. And the confusing bonus tracks are really not helping, as you stated in your excellent review :-)
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08.03.2018 - 12:25
EXEbeast
I was a bit disappointed on the first few spins. With more listens though, Currents ended up being a more enjoyable album than Aenigma (IMO). There's no weak track at all! The 2 bonus tracks (Ghost Path especially) are very interesting too.
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