In Vain
Aenigma


4.3
superb

Review

by Andrew Gold CONTRIBUTOR (66 Reviews)
March 11th, 2013 | 143 replies | 25,220 views


Release Date: 03/11/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: In Vain's most consistent release yet

In Vain’s progression as a band has been interesting to say the least. Their debut The Latter Rain saw the band off to a great start with varied progressive influences and a grounded vision of what they wanted the band to be, but was marred by poor production and an overall lack of creative focus. Mantra on the other hand had superb production and some of the best songs they’ve ever written, but was brought down by the lack of song-to-song consistency, as shown by the out of place ‘Wayakin’ and poor closer ‘Wayphearing Stranger’. On Ænigma, it feels like In Vain took a step back, but not in a bad way. The production is cleaner than it’s ever been, the songs are simpler and less subtle than they were in the past, and none of the songs are quite as mesmerizing as ‘Captivating Solitude’ or ‘As I Wither’. However, Ænigma is the most consistent thing the band has put out while still staying true to their avant-garde death metal roots.

The album begins with one of its strongest tracks, and right away their shift in sound is apparent. The riffs are more straightforward and linear sounding as opposed to the moody aura surrounding each song on Mantra. As they start adding layers of orchestral synths on top of their already dense wall of sound, however, is when the true brilliance shines through. Its use of formulaic song structures is different for the band, but the aforementioned layers over previous motifs make its use of repetition somewhat fitting. ‘Against the Grain’ is nothing particularly groundbreaking, but it’s a solid representation of Ænigma as a whole and shows In Vain trying something different without straying too far from their signature sound.

A pleasant aspect of Ænigma is its lack of outlandish ideas. The Native American influence on ‘Wayakin’ is nowhere to be found on here, thankfully. The closest they come to that is a Norwegian spoken word segment in ‘Culmination of the Enigma,’ which is so awkwardly out of place it detracts from the build up of the song. It’s during the acoustic bridge, which by itself is a beautiful addition but the talking over it completely ruins its effect. Apart from this gripe though, it’s possibly the heaviest song on the album with an infectious chorus that sounds like something out of Souls at Zero-era Neurosis. ‘Image of Time’ is another highlight from the album containing a wonderfully sung chorus, exclusively clean interlude ‘Southern Shores’ is the perfect intro to ‘Hymne til Havet’ and is a welcome change of pace from the ferocious death metal that takes up most of Ænigma, and straight up death metal tracks ‘Times of Yore’ and ‘To the Core’ are as catchy as they are brutal. The most twist and turns on the album are found on closer ‘Floating on the Murmuring Tide’, which features an excellent use of background strings, piano, and gorgeous saxophone melodies soaring above.

The clean vocals on this album are plentiful and thoroughly well done. Andreas Frigstad has such a soothing timbre in his voice that compliments each chorus he sings in – the end of ‘To the Core’ specifically features his most powerful cleans to date. The growls are also stronger than ever, being more guttural than in previous efforts, and the instrumentation backing them up is phenomenal as well. This is definitely the tightest sounding In Vain album up to this point. Double bass drumming is almost omnipresent, but the simplistic nature of the drumming helps supports the truly epic melodic passages, of which there’s no shortage on here.

In Vain aren’t trying to break any boundaries with Ænigma. On the contrary, it’s more like a refinement of the style they’ve been working on since their debut. The highs on Ænigma don’t hold the same weight as the highs on Mantra or even The Latter Rain. Having said that, the lows of Ænigma far surpass the lows of their previous releases. It’s easily In Vain’s most consistent album, and now that they’ve removed all the excess “waste” from their newly polished sound, you can’t help but anticipate what they have in store for us next.



Recent reviews by this author
Within the Ruins PhenomenaSonic Syndicate Sonic Syndicate
Origin OmnipresentMuse Dead Star/In Your World
Justin Timberlake The 20/20 Experience 2 of 2Black Tongue Born Hanged
user ratings (161)
Chart.
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Insurrection
Contributing Reviewer
March 10th 2013



20618 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3 | Sound Off

Against the Grain: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i4W7spPmaVk

Track picks: Against the Grain, Image of Time, Culmination of the Enigma, Floating on the Murmuring Tide

Digging: Fallujah - The Flesh Prevails

Azn.
March 10th 2013



5557 Comments


good review

Digging: Trophy Scars - Never Born, Never Dead

NeoSpaz
March 10th 2013



4517 Comments


Sweet, nice review Ins

Insurrection
Contributing Reviewer
March 11th 2013



20618 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3 | Sound Off

Thanks guys

Insurrection
Contributing Reviewer
March 11th 2013



20618 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3 | Sound Off

More people gotta check out this band seriously its great shit

paxman
March 11th 2013



4084 Comments


Sweet album art. Sweet album title. Sweet review.

Yazz_Flute
March 11th 2013



18764 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Best In Vain album thus far.

Digging: Cormorant - Dwellings

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
March 11th 2013



6923 Comments


Good to see your still pumping out the new releases reviews man, I'll say though this is well-written [pos'd] I was going to put my thoughts on this but the list is long and you did a pretty good job. Pos for the Ins.

CaptainDooRight
March 11th 2013



28300 Comments


I Pos'd even tho everyone knows my thoughts about dis


Digging: IQ - The Road of Bones

Keyblade
March 11th 2013



14177 Comments


for all mantra's flaws, it was still a very enjoyable album...very promising too. can't wait to hear this. wonder if there are any jaw dropping moments like the solo on Captivating Solitude this time around.

nice review btw ins

Digging: Paraxism - .Xism Excursion

Vakarian12
March 11th 2013



3623 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

good review dude.

really excited for this.

FictionalFlames
March 11th 2013



1516 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

album was really good

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
March 11th 2013



8317 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

Good review, dude. I got this the other day, but am yet to listen. I'm sure I'll enjoy it a lot.

Pankar95
March 11th 2013



137 Comments


Its out already.
I will check it out for sure, I like Mantra a lot.

Wizard
March 11th 2013



19206 Comments


The quality of reviews being pumped out here by users like you and a few others who've been around a few years is starting to show. Great review dude, you actually convinced me to give this a spin even though I know this won't be anymore than a 2.5 ahahaha. Hopefully this is better than their other two albums.

Digging: Monarch - Sabbracadaver

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
March 11th 2013



6923 Comments


No faith Wiz lol : ]

Wizard
March 11th 2013



19206 Comments


I will have faith when good metal graces my ears. Been a good year so far with a lot of surprises too. This could be one.

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
March 11th 2013



6923 Comments


Amorphis - Circle (April)

I'll agree with you there, especially with a couple of older acts coming back into action.


Keyblade
March 11th 2013



14177 Comments


i doubt that amorphis album would be any good to be honest

Wizard
March 11th 2013



19206 Comments


I know for a fact the new Amorphis will suck.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2013 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy