In Vain – Ænigma

In Vain - Aenigma

It might sound derogative, but it’s the way things are: right now In Vain are just another Death Metal band hailing from Norway with a polished-sounding production and constantly clean/growl vocal pattern. It’s a formula that has been used countless times in the last fifteen years or so in metal music, and a lot of times bands like Opeth and Enslaved find great success indulging in this style. But in more recent years there have been a great deal of downright copycats; sadly, In Vain sounds just like one of them.

At their third album, “Aenigma”, it seems they don’t make an effort to try different approaches. The one thing they do that is admirable is that they’re able to use both Death Metal growls and Black Metal shrieks and make them cohabit in the same track very well. This is in fact a talented band, with great musicians and with evidently a lot of points of reference, which is not necessarily a bad thing. But I’m yet to hear from them something that sounds just a little bit different from the prototype of Progressive Metal band who likes to turn it up a notch vocal performance-wise.

But even if the album somehow did manage to have its own distinct sound, the songwriting is half-forgettable, even though In Vain manages to structure a few songs quite well and to put some nice, quieter instrumental bridges within a stracks. I could start drawing comparisons here, but they’d be useless. In terms of dissecting a song’s core, and spreading some diversity here and there, the band can do that well, and that’s one thing that matters. Tracks such as “Times Of Yore” and the closing “Floating Of the Murmuring Tide” are perfect examples, and also happen to be very well executed. Another highlight would be the opening track “Against The Grain” easily the most memorable and melodic track here. But the rest of the album, sadly, is bland and pretty much flavorless.

Saying that In Vain is not a good band is a ridiculous statement, because there is a lot of potential in their music. They’re talented musicians and I’m sure they’re capable of making more original and less borrowed-sounding music eventually. But for now, they can’t help but being stuck in the vast, painfully homogeneous sea of Scandinavian bands that haven’t gained much success.


1. Against the Grain (7:06)
2. Image of Time (5:40)
3. Southern Shores (1:59)
4. Hymne Til Havet (5:06)
5. Culmination of the Enigma (8:25)
6. Times of Yore (7:21)
7. To the Core (6:28)
8. Floating on the Murmuring Tide (9:17)


* S. Nedland – background vocals, keyboards
* S. Reinhardtsen – drums
* A. Frigstad – lead vocals
* K. Wikstøl – bass
* J. Haaland – guitars

Written by Nick Leonardi

1 Comment

  1. Luiz Carlos

    August 8, 2013 at 8:33 pm

    Beautiful album. Amazing!

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