Four years have passed by since the release of In Vain’s magnificent album Ænigma and finally the Norwegian band is now ready with the follow-up. Currents is a natural continuation of the previous album and much like its predecessor its filled with massive soundscapes and gorgeous atmospheres.
The albums doesn’t present some radical new approaches for the band, but when song-writing is as good and when the musical influences are as diverse as they already are – then it perhaps doesn’t even matter that In Vain are not conquering some bold new grounds.
Currents, does however mark few interesting additions. The album sees a high-profile appearance by Trivium’s Matthew Heafy on “Soul Adventurer”. His vocals fit the ultra melodic nature of the song, but truth be told Sindre Nedland’s vocals bear far more of In Vain DNA. But, Heafy’s appearance will gain the band some more attention and as such it’s a logical move. Also, band’s long time live drummer, Baard Kolstad (Leprous), has recorded his first album with the band and he has done a solid job, without ever really stepping out of the shadows. And in many ways, that is the case for the rest of musicians and special guests – they’ve all done a great job and great job of creating something bigger than the individual performances. In Vain has long ago figured out the importance of individual performances serving as pieces of puzzle for something greater.
It’s hard sticking a label on this band, but influences from black and death metal are apparent throughout the entire album. But there is so much more to this band with gorgeous melodies constantly popping up and progressive and folk influences leaving their clear mark.
What impresses the most is not only that all these aspects are combined seamlessly, but that they all work together to create a unique atmosphere that is every bit as soul-searching as it is ruthless.
The limited edition on the album includes two extra songs and just like the case was with Ænigma, bonus material is not placed at the end of the album or even on a separate CD, but rather in between the seven songs featured on the regular release. This also witnesses of the clear vision of the music created for this album. Bonus tracks are most certainly worth the investment, because unlike many other bands, In Vain doesn’t treat bonus tracks as leftovers, but rather as content that broadens the experience of the album.
Jens Bogren has again made sure that the final mix never feels unbalanced or crammed despite the complex arrangements and the result is an extremely well sounding record.
What Currents does lack is more of the truly bone chilling melodies, which characterized “Against the Grain”, “Image of Time” and “Rise Against” on the previous album.
Still this is another fabulous release by a truly unique band.