In Vain (NO)
Solemn


4.0
excellent

Review

by Have you tried jamming Helcaraxe? CONTRIBUTOR (137 Reviews)
April 24th, 2024 | 82 replies


Release Date: 04/19/2024 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Culmination of In Vain.

In Vain are mystifying. While they may have reached an unfathomably high peak with Aenigma, it is rare that they’ve ever loosened their reign of surprisingly subtle and meticulous progressive tendencies. In fact, Solemn is the most vivid a canvas they’ve painted thus far, with colors swirling like the gentle stir of autumn leaves as often as they showcase barreling mountaintop winds. “Shadows Flap Their Black Wings” almost feels like it might be a mission statement-groovy stomping riffs and typical (but surely well executed!!) melodeath-style snarls dance ferociously betwixt cathartic clean vocals and escalating tremolo’s that are (only slightly) jarringly interrupted by…kick pedal and trumpets??? Hell yeah! In particular this moment had me briefly perplexed-it felt jarring, perhaps unfitting? Yet it brought me to a realization that Solemn is not an album trying to be intellectual or progressive, it is simply an album that utilizes whatever tools it sees fit to craft grandeur, or calamity, or dismality, or whatever in the goddamn hell it’s feeling. It is an almost living entity, with a pulse so lively it’s almost surreal.

“Season of Unrest” and “Watch for Me on the Mountain” are the two grinding behemoths on this record that showcase this astoundingly well. The former is whimsical even whilst massive snarls and drum fills punctuate each other perfectly, and when it does allow this whimsy to subside it is only to allow the quietude to be filled with full-blown mystique in the form of ambient textures and a gorgeous and tasteful saxophone solo (move aside, Rivers of Nihil). Moments like these would probably feel shoehorned and directly unfitting if not for In Vain’s absolute songwriting mastery, with any and all creative flourishes working as natural ways of contrast or to bolster preexisting moods as they see fit. In all reality it could’ve been anything-a sax, a piano, a xylophone-these dudes can make it work. The final track is a conclusion to this motif. Riffs trawl along with a melancholic yet hopeful cadence, which is punctuated even further by feeble, low-pitched warbles that lead to massive epic choirs that resonate with the force of stars going supernova. Oh yeah baby, this records got flair.

With all the praise already heaped, the most magical moment on this record is not a moment of eccentricity nor high-intellect progression, but rather the entirety of “Where the Winds Meet”. It is perhaps the least jarring song amongst them, and yet it emanates with such transcendental bliss that the band has only captured on such a wild scale in their absolute peaks (i.e “Culmination of the Enigma”). The way melodic leads wander with disregard to whatever else the band is doing, the dizzying primal force of thundering drum fills and the way these elements subside to merge back together with seraphical harmonies to serve as a single unit is almost spiritual levels of goddamn gorgeous. This is what makes this anomaly so great even at its core-when the ornaments and tinsel have been eschewed from this musical Christmas tree, still a valiant and verdant spruce stands tall. This is the culmination of In Vain.



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user ratings (95)
4
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
Dedes
Contributing Reviewer
April 24th 2024


10090 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Man this had me friggin stumped lmao, In Vain rule but are a hard band to properly describe.

bloc
April 24th 2024


70370 Comments


Yeah this fuckin rules, easily their best album

Futures
April 24th 2024


11061 Comments


this seems pretty interesting, i'll have to check it out. good review man.

Hawks
April 24th 2024


89542 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I somehow have never jammed anything from these guys. Guess I gotta hear this.

GhostShelter
April 24th 2024


991 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

^check out Aenigma too.

Zac124
April 24th 2024


2802 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

New In Vain! I need to check asap. Love to hear there is more sax solos too.

Dedes
Contributing Reviewer
April 24th 2024


10090 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@hawks

By the gods above jam this and Ænigma and tbh the whole discography

They're very much their own band but if you dig In Mourning then uhhh you'll prolly dig In Vain

Zac124
April 24th 2024


2802 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Where the Winds Meet is an absolute doozy. Great album although I still prefer Aenigma. Definitely among my favourites of this year.

frozencarl
April 24th 2024


1680 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

excellent review. this might surpass Aenigma, not sure yet.

PortalofPerfection
April 24th 2024


3228 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I must be missing something here because I was kinda bored.



It's solid, but doesn't have near the power and excitement of really any of their previous stuff. Seems very by the numbers for them and right now it's my least favorite.

bloc
April 24th 2024


70370 Comments


In Vain, In Mourning, Black Crown Initiate...all clones of each other

heck
April 24th 2024


7137 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

horrible take

Zakusz
April 24th 2024


1610 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is pretty solid but also kinda autopilot Draconian without the female vox

bloc
April 24th 2024


70370 Comments


I mean I still like all 3 bands who cares

Madbutcher3
April 24th 2024


3148 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

can't lie there is some serious self-plagiarism going on, first track starts almost like a carbon copy of image of time lol



that be said i like the more dynamic instrumentation and some of the little melodic flourishes and licks thrown in compared to the last one

PortalofPerfection
April 24th 2024


3228 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Definitely a step back in the right direction from Currents.

Dedes
Contributing Reviewer
April 24th 2024


10090 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Idk how literal the self plagiarism is but in particular the first tracks opening riff is a good bit like Image of Time iirc

Also yeah this is a good step up from Currents, only album of theirs I didn't quite -love-

Slex
April 25th 2024


16651 Comments


Never listened to these guys but this definitely sounds like something I would love

Dedes
Contributing Reviewer
April 25th 2024


10090 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Jam this right now lest you be hung drawn and quartered in this imstant

Gmork89
April 25th 2024


8694 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Never listened to this band but I'm going to jam it tomorrow.



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