Monday, March 22, 2010

Who Decides: Into Eternity Albums

Into Eternity is one of my favorite bands. It's hard to say what genre they fall under though. They play a combination of death, thrash, power, and progressive metal. Yeah it's a lot, but they make it work. I heard of Into Eternity when they were on tour with Megadeth. Then I heard Splintered Visions on Century Media's Identity Vol. 8 sampler. The intro is pretty insane.

I know it's just playing the scales, but man it's still mind blowing.

Their earlier albums relied heavily on vocal harmonies. Using 3 vocalists each with his own unique style. They reached their peak on Buried in Oblivion. Everything clicked on this album. After which they found it too difficult to do the harmonies live so they went to one vocalist who could do all three styles. I am hoping for a new Into Eternity album this year, but I have heard nothing yet, so I doubt we will get one. So without anything else onto the list.

5. The Incurable Tragedy (2008) - this made my top 10 in 2008 and I said it was better than The Scattering of Ashes. Well, I was wrong. It isn't. That's not to say it's a bad album. It suffers from a few things. First, it is a short album clocking in at just under 39 minutes. It has 3 instrumentals. Finally, while the style is more similar to Buried in Oblivion the songs aren't as memorable. But saying you own a bad Into Eternity album is better than saying you own a good Lady Gaga album.

4. Into Eternity (1999) - this is their Kill Em All. You can hear of the great things to come. A few things to note. There are more clean vocals present on this album than others. In addition to the amount of clean vocals, they also use these sort of robotic vocals ala Cynic. It's not used on every song, so it doesn't seem overused. There are also more keyboards used here than on any other album. And the production is not that good. I know it was a debut, so you couldn't expect much. But if they would remaster this thing (which has been rumored for years now) it would easily be in the top 3. Under-rated classic.

3. Dead or Dreaming (2001) - if their debut was their Kill Em All, then this is their Ride the Lightning. The band incorporates a lot more death metal into their music and starts to fade out some of the power metal influences like the keyboards. They have a guest female vocalist on one track and it just adds to the overall sound of the album, not forced like some bands have done. The first 6 tracks on this album contain no filler. It's a pretty wild ride. The album does suffer a bit towards the second half, but finishes on a strong not with the title track and Identify.

2. The Scattering of Ashes (2006) - ok another Metallica reference...this isn't their Master of Puppets or And Justice for All, it is their Black Album. After their masterpiece, Buried into Oblivion, they decided to ditch some of the wild vocal harmonies and create an album that could easily be reproduced live. So out goes two vocalists and enter one Stu Block. Stu is amazing. His range is simply something to be heard. Listen to him on Timeless Winter.

He transitions from one style to another seemlessly. Is it any reason I picked his as one of my top 10 metal vocalists?

What bothered me at the time was that the songs were more straightforward. With their other albums, you didn't know what was going to happen, with The Scattering of Ashes you did. Now as time has passed, I realize it is a great album. When I talk about the first six tracks on Dead or Dreaming having no filler, this whole album is filler free. If you are looking for a starting point, this might be the best place to start. Heck, one more song from the album, Severe Emotional Distress.

This was the first song they released from the new album and it really put to rest any fears I had of the new vocalist. Great song.

1. Buried in Oblivion (2004) - no surprise here. I put in my top 5 metal "must own" albums. I can't add much to what I said there. Buried in Oblivion is a near perfect album. The harmonizing of vocalists, the guitar work, and tempo/time changes is amazing. You can't blame them for going for a more streamlined approach for their follow up. The album is chaotic and beautiful at the same time. After listening to this mad mix of metal for about 35 minutes, you are treated to two ballads in 3 songs. The album isn't too short, it isn't too long. It is in that rare range of perfect time.

Consider it a "cooling off" period after a long work out. Seriously, sounds like Peter Cetera. Here is their first official video for good measure.


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