Review: In Grief “An Eternity of Misery” [Iron Bonehead Productions]

Review: In Grief “An Eternity of Misery” [Iron Bonehead Productions]

- in Reviews
Score 48%
Recognizable, not desirable
48 %
User Rating : 0 (0 votes)

Time flies when you’re having fun, heals all wounds and apparently, turns Into Grief into a different band. Rediscovering Echoes of Doom made me realize how much potential this band actually has and yet, An Eternity of Misery shows a different side of the band. In Grief describe the formula of this record as doom in form and content and death metal in execution and the band also mentions the Peacevile Three, The Gathering, Katatonia and Clouds-era Tiamat as current influences.

So far so good, but don’t be fooled. In Grief’s description doesn’t match their sound. I’m not necessarily a riff-enthusiast who hopes to get zombified flashbacks of Asphyx or Cianide, but the amount of death metal is mostly limited to the throaty roars of raw passion. Then there are the band’s influences, which are more subtle present than anything else. The My Dying Bride-esque violins that are already present on ‘Beyond the Dark Veil’ are highly identical and the melodic lead sequence of ‘Close to Insanity’ right away made me thought of The Angel and the Dark River. Even the feather light gothic guitar licks of ‘Demons’ sound like a throwback to Paradise Lost’s Icon and pre-Brave Murder Day era Katatonia.

Unfortunately, this is where the list of interesting bands stops. In general, this new phase of In Grief reminds me more of recent October Tide and perhaps On Thorns I Lay; meaning that we’re dealing with a modernized variant of melodic doom/death metal that’s too shallow and accessible for its own good. The mountain-crushing guitars of Echoes of Doom have now been replaced by watery riffs that have more of a supporting role compared to the leads and I wish that things were the other way around. Tunes like ‘Curse My Soul’ and ‘Dig Hopes’ rely on shallow leads that wouldn’t even move an empath, while you can forget about any earworm riffs that keep you on the edge of your seat. ‘Queen of Babylon’ is sort of an exception to the rule; while partially majestic and partially too common for its own good, it at least ends a high note with that emotionally intense death metal riff.

I’m also not too sure what to make out of the highlights, to be honest. They show that An Eternity of Misery could have ended up decently enough, but then again, neither of these highlights have that much replay value. ‘Beyond the Veil’ introduces a distorted voice of agony that howls around a minimalistic amount of riffs and prominent leads that appear next to the violins. I’ll admit that the break in between sounds a bit thoughtless; as if the misplaced keys are supposed to fill a musical void, but things eventually return to its original state and that’s decent enough to me. ‘Ярна’ is more melancholic than bitterly morose, but since the guitars inject some life into the track, it’s nothing I’ll complain about. Once again, we’re speaking of prominent leads that are the main attraction here, but even the brief moments of groove and speed make things enjoyable to a certain degree. There’s also the emotionally resonant ‘Close to Insanity’, which is claustrophobic, yet haunting in its delivery. Not only does it embrace the traits of My Dying Bride, but also turns up the heat with an unexpected death metal riff. It’s basically the only track that makes me think of In Grief’s own description and I could have done with a few more of these compositions.

What you’re left with are two soothing instrumentals and two specific tracks are somewhat unusual. The acoustic compositions are fairly simple, but I’ll admit that ‘Ascension to Eternity’ works wonderfully as a nostalgic piece that makes my mind wander in the best way possible; not something I can say about the actual heavier songs. The aforementioned ‘Demons’ is quite a departure from In Grief’s usual take and resembles a collaboration between a young Greg Macintosh and Blackheim. With guitars that take the listener back to the sorrowful 90’s, this should clearly be a great track – yet you do end up with one issue; the horrible clean vocals. This guy sounds like an angsty tenor that you would expect from a self-pity rock album and I’m convinced that these vocalists should be kept away from the microphone at all costs. Besides, what happened to all those Andrew Eldritch-esque crooners that once appeared on doom/death metal albums, anyway? The eight minute finale of ‘The Dagger, the Chain, the Scourge’ finally brings An Eternity of Misery to its end; but does so slowly. Moving gradually from one chapter to another with no signs of sweetness, you can tell that In Grief clearly try to come up with a grim finale. Still, doom/death metal never works best once it’s approached from a slower-than-slow methodology and doesn’t feature some sort of captivating guitar riffs. Once again, we’re talking about emotionally detached guitars that plod along, while sparse leads appear like a random addition but could have easily been left out.

The future looks bleak for In Grief and while that’s generally a good thing, it’s not in this case. I could have done with more roaring guitars instead of soaring guitars and more acoustic sections instead of plodding sections. So, please pick up where Echoes of Doom left off, or write more acoustic stuff instead, because An Eternity of Misery doesn’t live up to its title at all.

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