In Vain - Currents
Indie Recordings
Progressive/Melodic Death Metal
7 songs (42:25)
Release year: 2018
Indie Recordings
Reviewed by Goat

The fourth full-length from this Norwegian project (that features members of Solefald's live band including Lars 'Lazare' Nedland's brother) is a good album if a little tough to swallow if you've followed the band thus far. It's hard not to be disappointed when you realise on the first listen that the prog influence that made 2010's Mantra such a terrific album has been greatly reduced in places in favour of a much more straightforward melodeath sound. There's definitely an aggressive feel to the music here compared to the delicate doom-death of before; the downright deathcore-feeling Blood We Shed is a notable example, and Matt Heafy of Trivium even pops up in a vocal guest spot on Soul Adventurer, which once I'd have been spitting feathers about...

...Yet give it time and Currents proves itself a well-crafted album. Yes, you have to take some of this new aggressiveness on the chin, particularly early on in the album when the riff-driven Seekers of the Truth starts things off with a tech-groove intro before going a little more anthemic and Insomnium-ic for the chorus, well-played throughout especially from guitarists Kjetil and Johnar. Heafy's vocals on Soul Adventurer fit in perfectly, the song proggier and more driven by vocal melodies than guitars, although there is a lengthy instrumental section where the older Borknagar influences join the modern ones well. And even Blood We Shed proves itself, channelling the aggressive deathcore opening and ending well, and finding space in the middle for a keyboard-drenched singalong that could be from countrymen Leprous!

Thereafter, things are closer to what we expect from the band. En forgangen tid (Times of Yore Pt. II) has a slower-paced, almost Viking metal feel with group singing and contrasting harsh/clean vocals reminding you of the Solefald connection. My favourite track present follows, Origin really returning to their prog-death roots with a hefty dose of melodic doom in the choruses and one of the few instantaneous songs present, while As the Black Horde Storms unsurprisingly brings the latent blackened influences in the band's mix of sounds to the fore, mixing the melodic death in well around it. Finale Standing on the Ground of Mammoths, meanwhile, ends thing on a high complete with some backing saxophone. A lot of your tolerance for all this will depend on how well you feel that the band have combined their various influences, as Andy mentioned in his review of 2013's Ænigma. But there's more than enough here to recommend Currents, even before you take the more than solid bonus tracks into account (all three of them! When including them the album comes in at under an hour's length so the band were extra ruthless in cutting what they considered chaff, which has to be applauded) and I expect it to grow on me.

Killing Songs :
Soul Adventurer, En forgangen tid (Times of Yore Pt. II), Origin
Goat quoted 70 / 100
Other albums by In Vain that we have reviewed:
In Vain - Ænigma reviewed by Andy and quoted 79 / 100
In Vain - Mantra reviewed by Goat and quoted 87 / 100
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