Incassum - In Vain
Contemporary Metal
6 songs (31:00)
Release year: 2008
Reviewed by Pete

Manchester has been the home of many great bands over the years, not necessarily metal bands, but great bands nonetheless. But maybe, just maybe, one band could rewrite that trend. Incassum's In Vain is an impressive listen from start to finish, no, I'll go further than that and say this six-track mini album from the Manchester crew is a mini masterpiece.

In Vain is very much a glorified demo. Its sound quality is excellent but lacks the depth and crispness of a professional recording. But this is not a criticism because it demonstrates the potential that lies with this British five-piece. If they can sound this good on a good demo imagine what they could sound like with a bigger production.

The band describe themselves as a dark yet melodic metal act and that pretty much sums Incassum up. They have the metal attack of contemporary acts such as Killswitch Engage and Trivium yet the dark melodies of a gothic metal band. This is mainly due to vocalist Sharleen Kennedy. She has a great screaming voice that is reminiscent of Angela Gossow from the 'Anthems Of Rebellion' era. But she frequently switches to clean mode to give the music that haunting feel without sounding over the top. She needs to develop both aspects to her voice but the basic talent is there in spades. Imagine crossing Arch Enemy with Killswitch Engage with a few stolen Opeth chords and you won't be too far from Incassum's sound (although the band will probably disagree with me).

Also in spades is the impressive guitar play between Andrew Snowden and Chris Taylor. The guitar lines, changes, melodies and solos show great maturity for a band who formed only four years ago at Salford University. History Repeats is a good example of all of the above and a cracking tune to boot. So Red is the slower, more ballad-esque of the track-listing. Although not a straight ballad it does demonstrate the band's versatility, dynamics and willingness to create rather than relying on re-writing one idea over and over.

I've heard many up and coming British bands over the past couple of years and I'll stick my neck out and say that Incassum have impressed me the most. They're contemporary, fresh, creative but overall very metal. A little more attention is needed in the vocals, perhaps not the performance but more on the recording side of things, for example, harmonies, tracking and FX. There's a lot more room for even more guitar solos, rhythms and interesting instrumental breaks. But this is just my wish list because I can hear the great things that could come from this band. Here's to the future.

Killing Songs :
All Of Them
Pete quoted 90 / 100
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