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Maybe best debut album of 2007. - 90%

KingOvFrost, August 1st, 2007

Four years into the making, In vain is ready to unleash their debut “The Latter Rain” to the world. From the point of not knowing anything about this new experimental extreme progressive metal act, I now am filled with desire to explore their creative paths to a full extent. Six full time members and fourteen guest musicians have created a unique product which will leave marks in the current international extreme metal scene. To tag In Vain as being “newcomers” is a blatant understatement as The Latter Rain is remarkably professional composed and produced.

Johnar Haaland is a musician of prime caliber considering all songs are written and composed by him. Additionally, he also provides for most of the lyrics as well as being responsible for all vocals, strings and horn arrangements. As with many other progressive metal bands I find it very demanding to tag In Vain’s music to be a certain style. The more extreme parts are rooted in death and black metal with fast and aggressive guitar parts plus wicked double bass drumming, whereas the calmer parts border to classical arrangements. In Vain’s compositions are built on contrasts due to aggressive and heavy sections are often followed by beautifully classical inspired segments where you may be exposed to piano, flute, viola, violin, trumpet, trombone or even saxophone playing.

In Vain’s songs are with two exceptions all long and complex. I find them challenging as I discover new layers of elements upon every listen. At first their songs sounded rather dull and plain, but if you are patient by nature repeated listens will give you much satisfaction. In Vain see no limitations. Vocally, growls, hardcore, clean and even spoken parts are included. Acoustic guitars, saxophone solo, lap steel, orchestral percussion and other classical instruments manifest In Vain’s mightily versatile playing style.

"Their Spirits Ride with the Wind" sets apart from the other tracks on The Latter Rain as it’s dedicated to the Native Americans who once roamed the vast lands of the west. I find the tune to be very melancholic and beautiful at the same time. Slow and heavy balladesque segments with emotional lead guitar playing are followed by more heavy and up tempo sections and Kjetil Nordhus of Green Carnation contributes with hypnotic clean singing.

“Once they moved like the wind, now their spirits ride with the wind….”

Originally written for http://www.northernmetal.info