Into Eternity has come a long way since they formed in lonely Saskatchewan, Canada. From one album to the next they've grown and evolved, sometimes in large ways and sometimes in smaller, more subtle ways. From the bands point of view, it must have been an amazing past few months as they not only recently released their fourth full length album (and my personal favourite) The Scattering of the Ashes, but more importantly have recently shared the stage with some very popular metal bands. Yes, the Canadian quartet had the opportunity to play with the likes of Megadeth, Opeth, Lamb of God, and Arch Enemy, among others, on Dave Mustaine's Gigantour. That's going to be a pretty significant part of the band's history, should they have good things coming for them on the horizon. But there career doesn't start here. There was still an Into Eternity before Gigantour and The Scattering of the Ashes. This is when I became a fan of the band. And it was their second album, Dead or Dreaming, which drew me to them.
When I first heard Into Eternity, I was experimenting with the melodic death genre. Though it wouldn't exactly be correct to label them melodic death metal, the certainly stood out among some of the other bands I was hearing for the first time. Dead or Dreaming is an excellent rendition of the band's sound. Into Eternity play a unique mix of progressive metal and death metal, a memorable combination that knows no limits in either melody or heaviness. One of the things I like most about the band is the creativity that the band displays through their energetic riffing or soloing. The band's progressive nature becomes fairly evident to most listeners, as the many harmonies and solos that guitarists Tim Roth and Daniel Nargang are extremely exciting and fun to listen to. Their technical performances embody the music's mysterious themes. But the guitarists are not the only band members having fun. Another member who really stands out for me is the drummer, Jim Austin. Though I am by no means an expert at drumming, Jim's beats are very tasteful and, like the guitarists, add some strength and excitement into the tracks. Austin isn't the very best drummer you'll ever hear, but he provides a very adequate showing on Dead or Dreaming, particularly the song Selling God. Overall, the sound that Into Eternity constructs with Dead or Dreaming is very memorable, and definitely worth hearing at least once.
Another notable aspect of Dead or Dreaming is the vocal approaches of Into Eternity. In short, a variety of singing styles make up the album's efforts. You have the high pitched vocal harmonies between band members, the death growl, some screaming every now and then, and clean vocals. Though today the multi-talented Stu Block serves as the frontman of Into Eternity, at the time of Dead or Dreaming's release in 2002 guitarists Tim Roth and Daniel Nargang handled the lead vocal duties. Though not as technically good as the band's current singer, Tim and Daniel do a fine job on the album. Take it for what it's worth, but out of this, Buried in Oblivion and The Scattering of the Ashes, I've always found the performances here to be the easiest to get into, and the most accessible. The harmonies are very well done, particularly in the likes of Unholy (Fields of the Dead), where they combined to create the epic chorus that the song showcases. Roth and Nargang's performances are very catchy, and at times or just as important to the band as the instrumentals are. A pretty solid effort all around.
Into Eternity's 2002 effort, Dead or Dreaming, is one of those albums that you get into right from the start. Its creative, precise musicianship should impress many a metalhead, while the exciting, technical riffs definitely create a very enjoyable atmosphere that even the most demanding fans can head bang to. Though I've only been listening to these Canadians for about six months, they've quite easily become one of my favourite bands. With records like Dead or Dreaming and The Scattering of the Ashes, Into Eternity has a very bright future ahead of them, and I look forward to hearing what they can muster up next. I would definitely recommend Dead or Dreaming to all, as it is a very fun and worthwhile album to listen to.
Unholy (Fields of the Dead)
Distant Pale Future
Dead or Dreaming