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Storming leads and a question of justice. - 85%

hells_unicorn, May 6th, 2012

“Vengeance is the perpetual circle that ensnares us all. Take it, and at some future time it will come back to take you. Its power is tied to its dominion over the lawless, and is the prerogative of both individuals and governments. But justice, if such a thing were possible in these chaotic times, it shall only prevail when all are bound by the law, even and especially the executioners and the mindless mob that has enthroned them.” (Myself reflecting on the war on terror a year after Bin Laden’s death)

There was a surreal aura over the aftermath of the so-called raid that claimed the life of America’s most recent boogieman Osama Bin Laden. The mystique that was injected into it via media propaganda and the maddened celebratory pomp of thousands upon thousands of flag waving idiots was impossible to miss, even for a reclusive wretch like myself who never watches televised news anymore and is constantly flirting with canceling his useless cable subscription. It was the same sort of mindlessness that was on display when the scum of D.C. congratulated themselves for enshrining such fascistic abominations as The Patriot Act, the NDAA and other associated bills into law that destroyed what little fragments of habeas corpus rights we still enjoy from the days when governments were treated with the suspicion and distrust they are perpetually worth of.

Nevertheless, the appeal of propaganda is largely so because often there are brilliant artists propping it up and an unlikely flock of Canadians, who dabble in a strange, yet enticing middle ground between Children Of Bodom and Cynic did so with the subject of Bin Laden’s death. Such a dramatic turn of events can often inspire creativity in the midst of writer’s block, and Into Eternity had been suffering from a good 3 years of studio silence and questions regarding their lead vocalist’s commitment to the band. Besides, you can still disagree with the writer’s premise and still be impressed with the work that has been put together.

“Sandstorm” is something of a prototypical melodeath song, focusing on a principle melody that’s all but directly extracted from Iron Maiden’s “Fear Of The Dark” and translated into a violent mixture of blasting drum lines and technical guitar showmanship. It comes in two different vocal versions, of which the Stu Block one offers a more intricate display of toneless and melodic vocal mixes, but for some reason the Tim Roth version comes off as slightly more honest. Something about the idea of the chief songwriter taking on the role of front man is appealing, and though his singing voice lacks Block’s versatility, it makes up for it with a more subtle charm that one might find in a plainer sounding voice trading slots with a pervasive bark supplied by Rob Doherty, who sadly passed on just recently. But the main draw of this song is the guitar work, and Roth’s fancy leads dominate most of this fairly short yet highly compressed opus, showing off a smattering of Malmsteen and Vai influences while maintaining an underlying vocal tendency in line with Iron Maiden’s non-shredding instrumental breaks.

So, for lack of a better explanation, I like this song a good bit and listen to it fairly often even a year after its release, in spite of my problems with the version of reality that it tends to portray. It’s not for me to assume any political bias on Roth’s part, as he’s largely mirroring the reaction that the majority of people tuned into the mainline news had. It’s a solid work that should be a welcome treat to tide over any fan of the band who has been sitting on edge waiting for the next album to come. It won’t change the minds of any detractors of the band’s highly modernistic take on this style of metal, nor would it for any band that tends to stick to what they do best.