Review Summary: And people say their most recent album is bad...
Since the revolutionary Black Sabbath
in 1970, Metal has undergone quite the large amount of expansion. First it was the harder, heavier thrash, then the flashier, catchier glam, then the denser, more sophisticated prog. Nowadays, abound with seemingly hundreds of subgenres, it's almost impossible to keep track of everything happening to the kernel Metal sound. One band who like to mix Metal's vast subgenres is Canada's Into Eternity
. Mixing death, power and progressive metal elements, Buried In Oblivion
is their third album, which, despite being very unique, is a monolithic mass of wasted potential.
The songs on Buried In Oblivion
generally follow verse-chorus formula, with the verses having the harsh characteristics of death Metal and the choruses having the melodic characteristics of power Metal, while the two occasionally cross over. No songs are genuinely progressive (although 'Black Sea of Agony' comes close), but there are progressive touches throughout; technical guitar work for example. While the song structures remain clear enough, it's the jumbled individual aspects of the band which really render this album helpless.
It's clear guitarists Tim Roth and Rob Doherty are talented, but the guitar work on this album is vastly sub-par. The production gives the guitars a thin, feeble sound, making the 'death Metal' (heavy) parts of this album not work like they should. Also the 'heavy' riffs aren't actually very heavy (excluding a few instances); a prime example of this is the verses of 'Embraced By Desolation'. The solos on the other hand are very disappointing: shredding is awesome, but on this album it lacks any sense of direction, climax or even melody - we're talking Slayer style here. They often go on for way too long (20 seconds is bad enough, but many extend 40); in fact the only solo that doesn't overstay its welcome is the one in 'Three Dimensional Aperture', which is pretty nifty - the only cohesive solo on the album.
The rhythm section is hit and miss. The bass pretty much epitomises this album's severe lack of direction: when it's audible, it plays very lush, technical grooves, but they don't fit in at all with the riffs or drum patterns at hand. That's not the biggest problem though - it's only audible about a third of the time, meaning it comes in for these random grooves, then just retreats back to being buried in the mix. Just...pointless. The drums are very complex, but essentially unmemorable. While the double bass, blast beats and speedy fills are executed very well, they're thrown around at complete random, leaving the foundation of the album very thin (see the final chorus of 'Point Of Uncertainty where the blast beats make the already thin chorus have NO foundation at all - it becomes background noise). There is definitely some creativity (see the sweet ride/hi-hat swapping in 'Spiralling Into Depression'), but the drumming is overall pretty poor, and the kit's thin tinny sound and overly loud hi-hat doesn't help.
In a unique arrangement, all five members of the band contribute vocals to this album - four of them harsh vocals, three of them cleans, with two on double duty. The harsh vocals are incredibly weak - the death growls are the total opposite of powerful. Compare the second verse of 'Three Dimensional Aperture' with any work of Tomi Joutsen of Amorphis
and you'll see just how tame the death vocals on here are. A thin black Metal rasp in the vein of Agalloch
is occasionally used, while not bad, feels mildly out of place. The clean vocals are perhaps the only strength of the album: they're smooth, have lots of vibrato and are catchy as hell (you'll have the album's choruses in your head after just one solitary listen). The vocals are besmirched by the lyrics on this album however, as they're complete trite. If you didn't guess by the song titles name dropped throughout this review, they deal with many negative concepts, such as despair, death and depression. The main problem is the lyrics are terribly written and a million miles away from being genuinely emotional ("F*ck you and your snub perception", "Misery, another life is taken, recall the spirit breaking through"). Also, the clean vocals (which make up half of the album) are in the vein of power Metal, being insanely catchy and uplifting, thus when chorus lines such as "Can't take no more desolation, self-murder, revelation!" come in, they're impossible to take seriously, making the chorus(es) awkward. The lyrics are very full on, which raises yet another point: why are the lyrics trying to be so emotional while the music is more in the vein of Dream Theater
than a band such as Daylight Dies
The only thing worthwhile on this album is the song 'Spiralling Into Depression'. Being a single song it avoids the pointless, cluttered technicality the rest of the songs have (there's no solo, yay!), and the chorus is highly catchy and fun. Besides that, there's no reason to want to come back to this album.
Buried In Oblivion
is simply everything wrong with modern Metal. Everything is so disorganised and directionless, it leaves the album totally unmemorable (besides some of the stupidly catchy choruses, but hey, catchiness =/= substance). I'll go back to my Iron Maiden now.