Into Eternity

Technical, progressive heavy metal hailing from Saskatchewan (the farming Province) of Canada.

Dead of Dreaming Into Eternity - Dead or Dreaming (Century Media) 2001

1. Absolution of the Soul" (3:58)
2. Distant Pale Future 05:08)
3. Shallow 06:14)
4. Unholy (Fields of the Dead) 04:54)
5. Elysium Dream 04:38)
6. Selling God 03:08)
7. Imagination Overdose 03:46)
8. Dead or Dreaming 04:18)
9. Cyber Messiah 04:29)
10. Identify 03:45)

Into Eternity are an odd band for me. I've seen them live. I own several of their CDs, but I have a really hard time writing something about their music. This particular CD I've had for months and I really like what I hear but I can't quite put into words what it is I like about it. Their refusal to stay within one genre of metal may be part of the reason I have such a hard time coming up with words to describe their sound.

On Dead or Dreaming the band weave a musical tapestry made from bits and parts of death metal, progressive metal and modern power metal. Likewise, the vocals are at times harsh and extreme, coming off as almost metalcore screams/growls and other times melodic, harmonized clean vocals. There are even some melodic female vocals mixed in. What I like about the mix of vocals is that the death metal vox are used sparingly and are not overdone like many bands in today's saturated scene.

I've often heard Into Eternity compared to Opeth, and while they would probably sound great sharing a stage together, they don't really sound anything like Opeth. Perhaps if Opeth were covering Helloween with members of Dream Theater on the bill, you might get something similar to what Into Eternity offers on "Dead or Dreaming".

One thing for sure about this CD, it is not instantly memorable. There are no instant pop hooks or fist pumping metal anthems, or at least, the hooks aren't immediately recognizable. When I first received this CD, I popped it into the CD player in my car and gave it a listen. It didn't immediately do much for me. After the CD ended I thought to myself, "not bad", ejected the CD and then I didn't really pick it up again for several weeks. However, upon a second listen I started to enjoy it more than I did the first time around. Subsequent listens revealed more about the raw beauty contained within the walls of sound.

Overall, "Dead or Dreaming" may not for the average prog-rock fan and the death metal only fans may find this to be too melodic, but for those who enjoy a blending of both worlds, Into Eternity will please. (Thanks Jeremy)

Buried in Oblivion Into Eternity - Buried in Oblivion (Century Media) 2004

1.    “Splintered Visions” (4:56)
2.    “Embraced by Desolation” (4:09)
3.    “3 Dimensional Aperture” (4:48 )
4.    “Beginning of the End” (4:39)
5.    “Point of Uncertainty” (3:46)
6.    “Spiraling Into Depression” (3:36)
7.    “Isolation” (4:59)
8.    “Buried in Oblivion” (4:00)
9.    “Black Sea of Agony” (6:31)
10.    “Morose Seclusion” (3:22)

“Buried in Oblivion” seems to be one of the heroes of underground heavy metal. Fans gushed over this when it was released and most seem to still hold it in high regard many years later. I read one review that called this CD, “The Best Metal Album of All Time.” That’s a pretty high honor, as well as some big shoes to fill considering the spectrum of great metal releases over the years.

“Buried in Oblivion” was Into Eternity’s third release and is a slab of progressive, molten, melodic, heavy metal.  Generally the band are labeled as death metal, but with the exception of some growled vocals and some speed metal parts that have more in common with thrash than death metal, I hear very little here that can be labeled as such. Rather, Canada’s Into Eternity have more in common with the hordes of progressive power metal bands, although they do offer some heavier moments. The music is innovative, progressive and chock full of energy while the overall feel of the album is quite moody. At times the mood is dark and depressed, while at other times sounding quite angry and aggressive. Overall, the entire CD is heavy, with a few exceptions such as the melancholy closing song “Morose Seclusion” and the title track.  The song that this CD is named after displays features acoustic guitars, melancholy keyboards and layered vocals and acts as a lengthy opening for the heavier, mid-paced, follow-up track, “Black Sea of Agony”.

Into Eternity is one of only a handful of bands where all the members of the band contribute vocals to the album. The Beatles use to do this, as did Kiss, and more recently King’s X, but the difference is that the those bands had each vocalist singing on individual songs. On “Buried in Oblivion”, all five vocalists are generally featured on one song. The vocals range from shrill, high pitched thrash vocals, to deep, dark death metal growls to soaring clean vocals.

My biggest complaint with most modern progressive bands is that even after multiple listens, very little is memorable. A band like Dream Theater has songs like “Hold Me Under” with an undeniably hooky, pop chorus. Older prog bands like Yes, Genesis and King Crimson had undeniable pop hooks mixed into their complex arrangements, making for a memorable listen. Many modern prog bands seem to be content with technique over songwriting, totally ignoring hooks. While Into Eternity generally does follow the verse, chorus, verse, songwriting formula, nothing on “Buried in Oblivion” etched itself in my brain immediately and had me singing it over and over again during the day. There are no immediate pop hooks to be found. However, with more listens the songs started becoming more familiar and thus more memorable. I’ve found that albums that grow on me over time have  become some of my favorite albums.

As it stands, “Buried in Oblivion” is a fine example of modern metal blending multiple styles together to create their sound. I would not go so far as to say it’s the best metal album of all time. However, I would say that it’s a good album that will appeal to fans of melodic, progressive metal. (Thanks Jeremy)

Scattering of Ashes Into Eternity - The Scattering of Ashes (Century Media Records) 2006

1.       Novus Inceptum [instrumental] (1:40)
2.       Severe Emotional Distress (3:55)
3.       Nothing (3:56)
4.       Timeless Winter (3:25)
5.       Out (4:55)
6.       A Past Beyond Memory (3:38)
7.       Surrounded by Night (5:08)
8.       Eternal (3:13)
9.       Pain Through Breathing (3:52)
10.      Suspension of Disbelief (4:28)
11.      Paralyzed (3:11)

"The Scattering of Ashes" is Into Eternity's fourth studio album but their first with vocalist Stu Block and bassist Troy Bleich. Most would label this band as melodic death metal, but for all intensive purposes, Into Eternity's "The Scattering of Ashes" is thrash metal for a new generation. No, it's not another Bay Area neo-thrash band. Rather, it's a new take of thrash metal. Into Eternity are fast, heavy and aggressive, but they mix in power metal, melodic death, a touch of groove, progressive and technical bits and an absolute mind-blowing array of vocal styles. The death vocals are not as prominent as on past albums, which was always their biggest connection to death metal anyhow.

Tim Roth and Stu Block share vocal duties, with Stu performing the lion's share. Block is an insane vocals. (It's no wonder that Iced Earth snatched him up a few years later.) The man can go completely gutteral with growls, screech like the most make-up clad black metal vocalist, sing like Iced Earth's Matt Barlow and then turn around and howl like Tim Owens and Rob Halford. Stu's vocals in "Timeless Winter" are reminiscent of Priest's "Painkiller".

I find it absolutely mind-blowing reading some reviews on the internet where people complain about this album being "too simple" or "wimpy". What album are these people listening to? At no time do you hear Into Eternity doing anthem style, sing-along songs, nor are they jumping on any radio-friendly trends. "The Scattering of Ashes" is a heavy, musically proficient album. The riffs are mostly complex, there are stop-on-a-dime tempo changes throughout, high speed parts, melodic solos, melancholy moments, insane double bass and some technical songwriting. "Surrounded by Night" even features some acoustic moments. While the songs are slightly less progressive than some of their early albums, they can hardly be accused of "being painfully simple" or "ridiculously bare" as some reviewers claim. Simple would be Judas Priest's "Breaking the Law" or Black Sabbath's "Paranoid". There is nothing remotely like that here. The band weaves a musical tapestry by blending melody with sheer heaviness. Really, I might have liked this album even more had it been a little simpler and had more memorable choruses. The lack of simple hooks is the only thing that really holds this metal monster back from being an all time classic.

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