In Vain - Wounds

Pops disc in CD player...Soft acoustic guitar....hey, my wife kinds smiles...she likes this...ok, now some heavy guitars....but they kinda have a rocky feel to it....hmm...kinda more like someone like Green Carnation and not the samples I heard from In Vain off their last album.  (Song continues...)  WHOA!!!  HOLY COW!!  Is that a real drummer or a drum machine?  (Checks liner notes)  Yep, it's a real drummer!  Crap!  That was some seriously fast double bass.  My wife starts to roll her, lightening fast guitars....wickedly extreme black vocals....deathly growls...I can envision the pit at one of their shows.  Somebody's gonna get pulverized in there at this speed.

But don't think this band is a one-trick-pony of nothing but extreme metal.  There is more variety here than you can shake a stick at.  In addition to the extreme vocals, you got spoken vocals and various clean vocals, including some that sound eerily similar to Borknagar.  And in addition to the blistering speed, the band can hit you with hypnotizing, plodding heaviness ala Extol on "Renhetens Elv".  Or, they can dish out some more modern hard rock sounds, or maybe a bluesy guitar solo, or some soothing combos of cellos, acoustic guitars, and piano, or a saxophone solo (remember Detritus?), or heck...going back to vocals, they even throw in some hardcore screams on part of one song.  But don't for a second think this is some metalcore band.  No sir, and thank God!!  How one band can throw this much into 4 songs is mind-boggling.  And to make it sound this incredible is even more amazing!  I truthfully hate having to pick EP's when making out my year-end lists, but this one is gonna be a no-brainer.  This is progressive extreme metal in all it's shining glory.  These guys are freakin' all over the place and I'm loving every second of it!  And if you can handle a slow-down, the final song is a hauntingly beautiful track that combines mournful cellos and sax, piano playing that will make you weep, and spoken/whispered Norwegian vocals that soon turn to cleanly sung Norwegian vocals, and are then interrupted by a loud key played abruptly on the piano that brings back in the spoken/whispered vocals.  Very cool!  The only down point I can think of at all is that I think they drag out the endings of a couple songs a little bit too much.

And before you dismiss this as being a short EP, the band does enjoy long songs.  Clocking in at just shy of 28 minutes, you get more than your money's worth.  Add to that, fantastic artwork, great lyrics, and solid production and you have a release that has and will continue to get LOTS of time in my CD player.  If these guys are still indie on their next release, I will be floored.  These guys deserve some major label attention in my opinion.  Yes, they are THAT good!

Rating: 98/100

Review By: Matt Morrow

Label: Independent

Total Songs: 4

Total Time: 27:42

Tracklisting: 1. October's Monody, 2. Det Rakner!, 3. In Remembrance, 4. Epilogue: Alene.

Best Songs:  1, 2. 3, & 4.

Band Lineup: J. Haaland - Guitars/Programming, A. Frigstad - Lead Vocals, S. Nedland - Clean Vocals, BGV, & Keys, J. Sehl - Bass, Anders Faret Haave - Drums, Kristian Wikstøl - Hardcore Vocals, Glenn Vorhaug - Saxophone, Simon Andersen - Cello.

Band Website: