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Eh... this makes me emotionally distressed. - 65%

ReapSoul964, June 27th, 2011

I'm on the fence with this album. If you are looking for something incredibly technical, do not listen to this. If you want something melodic, there are much better alternatives. If you are a massive Into Eternity fan, you will probably prefer Buried in Oblivion (though I personally am not a huge fan of that album). This album really has potential, but it does miss out on several key factors. It remains a fun listen occasionally, but that's mainly because I like the screams and Timeless Winter.

Many of the complaints I've heard about this album are with drum production. While this does not bother me as much as it seems to bother metal elitists, I agree that the kick drum sounds way too triggered. I like having a noticeable bass drum in my music, but this does really push it. If it was any more triggered, the bass drums might as well just be swapped out for clickers people use to train their dogs with. The snare drum sounds fine, but some of the crashes are a little bit too quiet. The rest of the instruments are fine, though. The guitars are crisp (though I would probably prefer them to still be a bit more raw) and the bass is pretty audible at points, though it seems like whoever mixed the record turned the treble up way too high and the bass down way too low.

The musicians are fine. I have no real complaints. I've heard worse. The clean vocals get on my nerves at points, unfortunately. If the vocals were just the screams and Stu's pretty awesome tribute to Rob Halford's old falsetto range, I would enjoy this album more. The rest of the cleans get annoying quickly, but they aren't as bad as the singing heard on standard metalcore/hardcore albums. The drummer does seem to be a little unoriginal, though. The drum patterns get pretty forgettable really fast.

The intro track, Novus Inceptum, is forgettable. It tries to build up into the first full song. Honestly, the album would be better off if it just started with Severe Emotional Distress, which still isn't that great of a song. It has a couple of good moments, like when the vocals first come in and the guitar solo, but this is just an attempt at fusing emo lyrics with progressive melodeath. That being said, the song isn't too bad. It would be better if the clean vocals were used MUCH less often and the harsh vocals were more prominent. The one thing that keeps me coming back to this song is the intro. A pretty nice guitar lead moves into a nice example of the vocalist's ability with harsh vocals. After 45 seconds of the song, I get bored. That intro is very nice, but the rest of the song is far from anything to write home about.

The fourth track, Timeless Winter, will be a timeless classic for me. I love melodic music, but Into Eternity overdoes it on this album. Timeless Winter is a beautiful exception. Sadly, it will forever be one of those songs that people will hear, buy the album because of, and then never listen to again because of how bad every other song is. Timeless Winter is still very melodic, but the melody has aggression to it. Most of the other songs lose this and focus too much on sounding pretty. Timeless Winter is an in-your-face assault with fast high screams, powerful low screams, very few regular clean passages (thankfully), and some awesome falsetto parts. There's even a nice guitar solo that starts off very tastefully and leads back into some shredding that helps bring the anger in this song back to the front. If the rest of the songs on this album were close to being this good, this album would be so much better than it is. Heck, I'd take 4 or 5 songs total that are this good. I would just loop them over and over. This song is worth it. The others simply are not. One song is not enough to save this album.

Pretty much, all of the tracks besides Severe Emotional Distress and Timeless Winter are forgettable to me. Nothing fades out of my mind as soon as the song is over and Out gets "out of sight, out of mind" after about 45 seconds. The intro to Out is awesome and has potential to be such a violent song, but after 45 seconds (I'm sensing a pattern here), it loses it. A Past Beyond Memory opened in such a promising way, even though harsh vocals were pretty much absent, but the chorus absolutely ruined it. Into Eternity can write awesome heavy metal for the verses, but when it comes to choruses, they fall very, very short. However, A Past Beyond Memory has a pretty nice part that leads into a decent guitar solo about halfway through the song. If the rest of the song was like that, this would be a pretty good song. Surrounded by Night is lame. The acoustic part is nice, but I don't like ballads. It would be a better song if it stayed like that the entire time, but it went back into the same formula the rest of the songs follow. Pain Through Breathing is pretty decent, but I probably won't remember it after I finish this review.

I'm not going to finish reviewing the rest of the songs because they all follow the pattern I tried to describe above. This album really has a lot of potential to be great, but it really fell short in way too many places. There are some amazing and aggressive passages that would make this album incredibly impressive if the horribly overdone melodic passages weren't present. The clean vocals would be so much better if they were only falsetto. The drums, while not bad, aren't impressive. They are uninspiring, which is a red flag for me. The three things I look for on most albums are a good vocalist who isn't annoying (goodbye, emo music. Goodbye, rap music. Goodbye, monotone death growls without variation.), a drummer who knows what he's doing (being a drummer myself, I can't listen to anyone like Lars Ulrich who really shouldn't ever touch drumsticks... drummers don't have to be brutally technical or incredibly fast for me to like them. They just have to impress me by being good at their own individual style and they have to fit nicely with the band. The drummer needs to be a musician, not just a tool to keep the rhythm going.), and either a good emphasis on symphonic elements or melodic elements. Into Eternity has so much potential with all three of these AND there are some awesome guitar solos to help out. Still, the band lacks the foundation to really make much of an impact.

The album loses heavy points on lyrical content. The lyrics to Severe Emotional Distress are just ridiculously lousy. I took off a few points for some of the few production issues that bothered me and some points for the clean vocals and the lack of impressive drumming. The album also lost a heavy amount of points because of the fact that almost all of the songs were incredibly forgettable. It gained a few back for still being decent every once in a while, though.

It seems like Into Eternity tried to build a fortress out of their music and used way too many different materials to make the base. They tried to combine progressive metal with some elements of speed and non-symphonic power metal and a touch of melodic death metal. I'm sure there's a lot more that I didn't pick up on, too. In my opinion, they need to stick with one or two styles. If they were a power metal-driven melodic death metal band, they would probably be fine. If they were a straight up progressive melodeath band, they would probably be fine. If they were just simply melodic death metal, they would be fine. However, this album is like the Tetris of heavy metal. Into Eternity took way too many different pieces and tried to make a solid base out of them. It's possible to fit all of these pieces together, but it is hard. Judging from this album alone, Into Eternity simply cannot organize the differences of their influences and balance out the pieces to make a solid recording. Without a firm foundation, this album is all over the place. It really isn't a definable genre of metal. It's just a mediocre album with so much wasted potential. It's still worth listening to every once in a while, but as I've said, it gets old very, very easily.

Nice try, Into Eternity. If you tone down the bad elements, work more on building your songs from the ground up, and use a strong foundation, then I will be one of your next big fans. If not, then I'll settle for listening to bands who can better organize their material.

Interesting - 80%

invaded, September 27th, 2008

Into Eternity aren't creating anything anything entirely new, rather they're packaging their music in a unique way.

The Scattering of Ashes displays a jack of all trades type of band in what seems to be a solid outing. The band is very talented in its diversity. There are power metal moments, melodic death, thrash, progressive or technical bits and a huge variety of vocal styles.

The vocals, along with maybe the guitar playing is definitely the most impressive element of the band's sound. Stu Block is a freak, pure and simple. This man can do death metal vocals, higher pitched screams à la black metal as well as standard cleans and super falsettos reminiscent of Rob Halford or Kai Hansen. All of these voices are delivered with strength and authority which is all the more impressive.

The guitars are also quite interesting in that they switch it up a lot. There is a lot of tremolo riffing as well as great lead playing and cool off time stuff and good acoustic passages to boot.

As for the music, it is very varied and this can be either good or bad depending on your tastes. For example Timeless Winter, a song I love features death growls and a great death/thrash riff and switches to more of a groove and super high Painkiller singing. Surrounded by Night is mostly acoustic with great vocal harmonies going around only to finish in a crescendo and melodic guitars riding out the song.

The record finishes off very strongly. The last three tracks, Pain Through Breathing, Suspension of Disbelief and Paralyzed are all really great. Good riffs, strong choruses and tight execution. The entire record is pretty solid but the ending particularly stands out to me.

Where the band loses points is in the production. The drums are way too triggered, rendering any human element this guy may have to be compeletely non-existent. Also, it's great that these guys can fuse and blend a wide array of metal styles, but can they stick to one? They seem to be a jack of all trades but master of none. For a guy like me who loves all sorts of metal this is great, but not everyone can deal with death and power metal within the same song.

TICKTICKTICK*riff*TICKTICKTICKTICKTICKTICK - 29%

BastardHead, February 25th, 2008

What the living balls is up with that fucking drumset?! Seriously, this is most likely the only review in which you'll see me complain about production. I don't have a problem with the vocals from a production standpoint like others seem to, but those retarded and EXTREMELY stupidly fake/triggered drums overpower all of the riffs barring the shitty one at the beginning of Severe Emotional Distress. After that predictable chord progression, we get treated to what could be a pretty cool verse except for two things.

A) Those goddamn drums are overpowering the otherwise cool riff

B) IT'S A FUCKING EMO SONG!!

I know, I was shocked at first as well, but when you actually read the lyrics (and not just for this song, for all of them) none of them would look/sound out of place in a band full of 17 year old elitist indie snobs with fake glasses and hair covering one eye. The lyrics should never be a problem for a metal record, it shouldn't matter what a band sings about. Sure, I feel dorky shouting along with Blind Guardian about the valiant warlords of Middle-Earth, but it's fucking cool at the same time. But this is a band I just cannot sing along with, I seriously would be embarrassed if I drove around, music blasting, looking otherwise awesome until somebody realized that I was shouting "CUTTING YOURSELF TO RELIEVE THE PAIN!". Seriously, those are honestly the lyrics to Severe Emotional Distress. It sounds like a fucking parody of your archetypical emo band.

Okay, once I decided to just ignore the lyrics and concentrate on the music, I realized something. They are all the fucking same. I cannot distinguish between Out and Nothing... like... at all. Every single song follows the same structure, with very little deviation. Intro - verse - chorus - verse - chorus - break - solo - chorus - end. They all follow that exact same pattern. This wouldn't bother me if it was at least catchy or something. The whole album just sounds very uninspired. The riffs are all very boring, and the melodies are rarely interesting or catchy. The bass is completely absent, so no further comment is needed about that. And probably the most insulting part of the album, the solos are great. Into Eternity can shred with the best of them, but it's unfortunately one of two solos throughout the entire album. There isn't even variation in the motherfucking SOLOS! What the hell? If anything, the guitar solo should be the most creative and unrestrictive aspect of heavy metal, and they can't even pull that off properly.

Now, the part you've all been waiting for, the vocals. From what I've been able to gather from the other reviews I've read, Tim Roth does the screaming and clean vocals while Stu Block does the falsetto shrieks. If that's the case, what the fuck is the point of even having Block in the band? His high pitched squeals in the chorus of Timeless Winter are some of the only cool parts throughout this whole album, but that's one of the few times you actually get to hear them. I missed them when they played at Gigantour in 2006, because I decided to go and meet Sanctity instead, so I can only imagine what they do live. What does Stu do? Just sit around and headbang until his three lines per song come up and then just air guitar some more? And even if I have this whole thing wrong, and Block does more than just the falsettos, it still doesn't change the fact that they are one of the only redeeming aspects of the album. Whoever is doing those damn nu-metal clean vocals really needs to swallow a soldering iron. It's fucking repulsive, why the hell are people accepting this bullshit?! I thought we threw nu-metal out on it's ass years ago! The death metal bellows are okay, and the black/metalcore vocals aren't hideous either, but every song is just saturated with these annoyingly terrible and whiny nu-metal clean vocals singing boring vocal lines about being really sad.

From a musical standpoint, the music is indeed metal, albeit unspectacular, disappointing, and undeserving of most of the praise it gets. From a philosophical standpoint, Into Eternity should be locked out of the Heavy Metal Academy and shunned by everybody who listens to metal. They are a massive disappointment. I heard nothing but good things about them, and what I get is a big, steaming pile of suck. Really, really loud fake drums (Litany had loud as fuck drums, but they actually sound good, as opposed to this computerized ticking bullshit), nu-metal whining, emo lyrics (When I fall into the ocean, will you be there to rescue me?), boring riffs, forgettable melodies, samey songs, there is very little to redeem this album. I'll be honest, Timeless Winter is actually oozing with awesomesauce, but the rest of the album is like an auditory version of a manual asshole expansion surgery. Stu Block's shrieks are good, but the rest of the vocals range from mediocre to terrible. Solos are good, but they all manage to sound alike.

Overall, I shun this album. I've heard great things about Buried in Oblivion, but The Scattering of Ashes completely ruined this band for me. They could release Don't Break the Oath, and I'd still avoid hearing it. Maybe the band was great before, but this is an absolutely terrible first impression. Overall very bad with very few good moments. A big fat F to you, Into Eternity.

Avoid this turd.

A different take on melodic death. - 80%

hells_unicorn, October 29th, 2007

In the past few years there has been a good deal of cross pollination between metal genres. Notable examples began popping up at the close of the millennium with such extreme power/death/thrash metal hybrids such as Children of Bodom, Skyfire, In Flames, and a host of others. While Gamma Ray, Blind Guardian and a few others were pumping new life into the once thought dead 80s approach to speed/power metal with a fresher approach, these bands redefined the aggressive/evil genre that grew out of mid-80s thrash with a more tuneful musical approach, while furthering a similar toneless vocal approach.

Be this as it may, there were not really any notable examples of bands who actually tried to marry the cleaner high end vocals of the power metal genre with the demonic grunts, barks, and growls peculiar to the death sub-genre. Into Eternity has succeeded in many ways in bridging this gap in a way that walks a fine line between the two, although at times they flirt with sounding a bit like a mainstream metalcore act with more competent guitar work of late. The resulting 4th release in “The Scattering of Ashes” is consequently a controversial album, in part because of its commercial success as well as for some changes in their sound.

The songs on here are pretty compact and loaded with melodic hooks. With the exception of the mixed meter ballad “Surrounded by night”, featuring some brilliant vocal harmony work, none of these songs break into 5 minute territory. The solos are fast and flashy, but very strictly structured, almost to the point of sounding like elaborated riffs. Although some might draw the conclusion that these solos are similar to ones put out by the likes of Atreyu and Bullet for my Valentine in terms of length and melodic development, they are far more elaborate and climactic.

The true power that pushes this album along is Stu Block’s extremely powerful and versatile voice. Ever since hearing this album I’ve been strongly considering listing him in my top 10 best vocalists. I’ve yet to hear anyone else be able to switch between death metal grunts, black metal barks, and then pull off one of the best Rob Halford shrieks I’ve heard since Painkiller. He literally hits those high notes with enough power and presence to put Ripper Owens and Ralf Scheepers to shame. Although almost every song on here contains top notch Halford emulation, “Timeless Winter” towers above every song on here in the vocal department, not to mention some solid instrumental and riff work.

However, this release is not without its share of flaws, some of them fairly sizable actually. Although I’ve seen these guys live and can testify to the fact that the vocal job pulled off by all parties is not a studio creation, the primary problem is connected to the vocals. The choruses on nearly all these songs are extremely cliché, not to mention way too squeaky clean of a contrast to Block’s beastly shouts. Many of them sound so similar that you check the track number to make sure you didn’t accidentally hit the repeat button. “Nothing” and “Out” are the most blatant offenders in this department.

Another aspect of the arrangement that takes away from the seemingly varied approach to this genre is the overuse of the double bass drum. Even the ballad can’t help but launch into a speed metal beat during the chorus. The sound of the bass drum is a bit too separated and puts too much emphasis on the attack rather than sustain, resulting in something with a bit of a click quality to it. This is probably part of why the accusations of sounding like a metalcore band are being thrown at the band, as this approach to drum sound is more at home with the hard core crowd rather than the rumbling quality of a death/thrash metal sound.

The hardest thing about this release is who to recommend it to. It will be hard for traditional, technical or brutal death fans to get into a band that has choruses that almost lend themselves to an arena rock style. Likewise, traditional Judas Priest fans and progressive metal fans may like the Petrucci inspired leads and high end vocal work, but will probably not go for the production or the death metal elements. Surprisingly, there is a sizable audience out there that has embraced this album wholeheartedly, so maybe Into Eternity has successfully evolved and kept their fan base strong. If you don’t mind a very unique blend of aggression and melody, give this album a try.

Oh, what the fuck?! - 49%

NeverEndingNosebleed, September 25th, 2007

Man, after listening to Buried in Oblivion countless times and LOVING it, I had such high hopes for this album. However, my hopes were dimmed a little bit when I saw the music video for "Severe Emotional Distress", a song that seemed, at least to me, very simplistic and bare, but not all that bad. Then I bought the CD and my hopes suffered quite a blow, being subjected to simplistic songs, simplistic melodies, and songs that seemed just so...SIMPLE!

The CD opens with the pointless track Novus Inceptum, a 1 minute and 40 second intro that makes a bunch of odd noises then leads to the aforementioned "Severe Emotional Distress." Now from here on out the CD consists of one long, metalcore influenced melo-death song, with a ton of solos that sound exactly the same.

Speaking of solos, lets talk about the guitars. See, it's not that the guitarist lacks talent, but he seriously lacks variety. I mean come on, some of the solos he rips sounds exactly like ones from Buried in Oblivion (especially the one around the 1:50 mark in "A Past Beyond Memory"). There are a few decent, melodic riffs here and there, but overall it just sounds the same in every song.

Production wise the CD fares alright. It would be a lot better if they had this production on say...Buried in Oblivion, and not such a simple record, but I can deal with it. Every instrument is heard very well, and the vocals are also clearly audible, sticking out in front of the instruments. My only real complaint is how the double bass sounds like a 'click, click'. It's rather annoying.

The bass? Hm...aside from a few parts in the Bullet for my Valentine tribute track "Surrounded by Night," it just isn't out front at all and follows the easy task of following the guitar's every riff. Nothing special here.

The drumming is decent, but that damn double bass just annoys me for some reason. It's not like a 'thud, thud, thud' but a constant 'click, click, click'. I say constant because it is used VERY often, in every song, for practically the whole song.

The vocals on Buried in Oblivion were much better than on The Scattering of Ashes; Chris Krall and Tim Roth did an excellent job mixing their vocals in that release. But here, with Krall gone and replaced with the high-pitched shrieking Stu Block, it just sounds out of place next to Roth's vocals. Most of the song we have Tim Roth's emo/power metal vocals and Stu's shrieks just occasionally making the way in there; I believe that if just Stu did vocals on this album it would be a lot better and have a more brutal sound.

Well, all in all I think this CD is a failure; not a complete failure, but a failure nonetheless. If you're a fan of bands like All That Remains, Bleeding Through, and all the other countless metalcore/melodic death metal bands, then I suggest you purchase this album. If you absolutely abhor those bands, then this metalcore driven melodic death album is NOT for you!

Lay off the production a little guys - 56%

lord_ghengis, September 5th, 2007

I tend not to complain about bands sounding too clean, or too precise like many metallers. I usually prefer the clarity of good production, but man, this is the musical equivalent of a Barbie doll. Everything sounds too perfect and stylized. The guitars sound ok, but everything else just sounds silly. The growls seem to have gone through the same production techniques of the clean vocals, resulting in a complete lacking of roughness. The other harder vocal is a scream, which sounds like a normal screen, just altered to hell on a computer, again, removing any shred of grit. The clean vocals are just ridiculous. They are the pretty much the most processed vocals I've heard in rock or metal song. The drums are triggered to hell, and as a result sound like shit, again, I'm not against drum triggering, but this is excessive. Really, this CD is so coated with gloss that it's painful on the eyes. Well, ears... It's like looking at the sun for with your ears.

The main problem is, in theory this band could be very good. There's shredding solos, some truly catchy vocal harmonies, really quite interesting song structures, about eleven different types of vocals, a drummer who plays progressive death metal with the use of blast beats and other more aggressive traits on occasion. On paper, this album sounds great, but they manage to make it absolutely terrible.

Obviously, that production is a major flaw, as a little rawness would have really made this album feel a little better. Seriously, any at all would have helped; I’m not asking for Immortal here, I’m asking for In Flames. But it's not all. Everybody on the album is so content to turn off. The vocals tend to be clean too often, the growls and screams are both really quite lacking in aggression, and at times it sounds like they have a female vocalist. Now this wouldn't be bad, if they had a female vocalist, listen to "Nothing", A male cannot sing that chorus. The guy from 3 Inches of Blood could not sing that. King Diamond could not sing that. It's accentuated in the right way for a woman and all, I guess there's nothing wrong with it, but it just sounds too weak. It's not power metal, it's pop music, it really doesn't help that vocal production is as clean and pristine as it is, it'd be nice to hear this with a little more realness to them, because there's certainly promise of some good output, it's just buried under too many layers of cleaning up. Secondly, the lyrics are pretty bad. Read them, that’s all I have to say, they're basic emotional stuff about feeling sad for yourself. It's not really terrible, and I guess bands have been putting out stuff about weakness for years, nothing really stands out.

The guitars are quite fond of being downright boring. Everyone knows that melo-death acts always have their harmony guitar way out in front, and try to lead all the attention onto it. This takes Melodic Death Metal harmony love to a whole new level. If the Tim Roth is not soloing, or doing a harmony, he is disgraceful. Extremely simple, thoughtless, and basically leaves the movement of the song up to the vocalist, he's not even catchy. On songs which are smothered in harmonies from start to finish, like "Nothing" and "Out", it works out fine, as this problem doesn't really show it's face. And yes, the guitarist is extremely good at his harmonies and very melodic, yet technical solos, making the 3 or 4 songs which are like this great. But most of the other songs tend to have sections where neither of these happen, and drop back to needing riffs, soon after this begins you’ll see that the Roth can't write riffs. He plain sucks at it. Pretty much every other Melodic Death band has more substance under their melodies than Into Eternity.

The drums are actually ok at times. Only at times, because as I said, the band members tend to switch off every 5 minutes or so. Jim Austin at his best is quite interesting, flailing over his toms with interesting double bass, at his most average, he's playing complex double bass patterns, with pretty much no hand usage. And at his worst he's doing a simple kick roll with pretty much no hand usage. Unfortunately, he tends to spend most of his time in the last two categories. He's got the odd blast beat, but with this production they are laughable. Rouge Traders have more assaulting drum rhythms. No joke, the drums sound terrible. The bass drums sound clicky, but at the same time muddled and sloppy. And for the rest of the drums, if you told me that they were recorded on an electric drum kit, or were done on computer, I wouldn't dispute it. There's just nothing natural about the sound.

It's not all negatives, although they are applied to every single moment of the album, there are a few good things about “The Scattering of Ashes”. Firstly, the song writing is very good; the songs while really not being dissimilar to the old verse-chorus, under go many changes in short periods of time. And the band crams in a lot of styles into each of their songs. While I'm not sure how progressive the music being played is itself, the sheer number of tempo and style changes makes it hard to classify the band under a single label. And when songs are loaded with guitar melodies and vocal harmonies that work, the songs are very catchy and enjoyable. "Out" for instance only has a few seconds where Roth tries to riff, and for that reason the song is really quite listenable.

Into Eternity's fourth album is at its core really not a bad release, it's got the capabilities to be good, just everything lapses from greatness to really quite bland output. It could do with a couple of old fashioned riffs, but really, the main problem is the sound which just makes everything sound so... plastic. This album should prove to the world that there is a limit to how clean and streamlined aggressive metal can get before it loses its purpose and becomes a joke.

A good combination of different styles - 85%

sodometal, April 30th, 2007

Trying to define Into Eternity's music and sound will take many band names to be mentioned. Roughly it can be called melodic death but there's more to it. The Scattering of Ashes has a bright sound and you can easily hear all instruments. The music reminded me of Jester/Colony era In Flames, COB, Soilwork and Hypocrisy.

The guitar sound is typical of Swedish death metal bands. The leads are satisfactory. All songs have fast melodic leads. The drums are played ordinarily apart from technical parts. In almost each song before or after the guitar leads there is a part where the band reaches its technical peak. The vocals have a wide range from Chuck Schuldiner to Rob Halford and from Tim Aymar to Tim Owens. Every song has a chorus part where the music rather slows down and you begin to smell the progressive influences.

Despite the fact that the band has many influences, it cannot be regarded as a hit-off. If we consider the influences pieces of a puzzle, the band puts the pieces in correct places and covers the borderlines with successful composing. The songs are really catchy and you'll most likely find yourself hum some refrains.

One of the best of 2006 - 93%

Mikesn, March 2nd, 2007

I'm always a sucker for good Canadian metal bands. Maybe it's because I don't know of too many, but I seem to like the few that I've heard. Into Eternity is one of those bands. Hailing from the middle of nowhere (aka Saskatchewan), they mix together an impressive blend of death metal and progressive metal. 2006 marked the released of the band's fourth full length release, The Scattering of the Ashes. Similarly to 2004's Buried in Oblivion, this new album debut's a new lead singer. This time around, Stu Block replaces the departed Chris Krall, and while I can't compare the two since I have not heard Buried in Oblivion, I can still safely say that Stu definitely doesn't disappoint. Armed with perhaps the coolest artwork of the year, Into Eternity definitely held my interest, as The Scattering of the Ashes has been one of my most anticipated albums of the year.

A large part of Into Eternity's sound is the vocals. The band incorporates both death metal growls and clean singing into their music, however what makes Into Eternity's variation stick out is how they go about in recording this style. Amazingly, three of the band's four members contribute to the vocals on the album. The result is some of the best vocal harmonies in metal. Catchy, melodic, powerful, these are just some of the traits you could address to the clean vocals on The Scattering of the Ashes. The infectious efforts the band puts forth are an important part of the band's sound, and largely affect the album's appeal. However, saying that, the singing was a tad bit more difficult to get into than on Dead or Dreaming. Whereas the one could listen to the efforts on that release, and appreciate them right away, the singing on The Scattering of the Ashes is definitely a grower. To me, when I first heard the high-pitched wailing that this album contains, I was slightly disappointed as they didn't have that little oomph that Tim Roth's had on Dead or Dreaming. Yet after several listens, the effectiveness of the vocals started to sink in.

The other vocal style found on The Scattering of the Ashes, the death growls, is also very impressive. From start to finish, Stu Block again, does not disappoint. Obviously, his harsh vocals are very aggressive, and add an even harder edge on the already fairly heavy material. At times, Stu seems to mix the clean and harsh vocals together to produce a scream similar to that of Urban Breed, and Iced Earth's Tim Owens, specifically during certain moments of Timeless Winter and Out. He pulls these techniques off very well, adding energy to the performances. Stu is definitely talented at what he does, and this has a great effect on The Scattering of the Ashes.

Not to be forgotten is the music itself. As mentioned earlier, Into Eternity plays a mixture of progressive metal and death metal. This is a great combination if you ask me, as The Scattering of the Ashes contains a variety of different elements. You've got the technical pieces, the melodic interludes, simple, yet effective verses. This is where the album really shines. Songs such as Severe Emotional Distress and Surrounded by Night really showcase the skill of guitarist Tim Roth, with excellent performances all around. But it isn't all progressive metal worship. Into Eternity also incorporates some very obvious death metal influences into their music. With its very aggressive, riffy features, The Scattering of the Ashes should not only attract the power metal/ prog metal listeners, but also death heads as well. Admittedly, while listening I hear more of the melodic side of the band as there is more emphasis on it; tracks like Timeless Winter or a Past Beyond Memory are some of the better songs which incorporate heavy elements.

While the album obviously has a progressive flare present in the structure and sound, one element of the genre that isn't present is the long, drawn out instrumental sections that bands such as Dream Theater employ. Each song has an appropriate length, generally around 4 minutes long, and not once do any of the tracks feel like the just lug (ugh, for lack of better term) on and on and on. The material always sounds fresh, and with a 41 minute run-time the music never grows tiring. Though I am a fan of longer songs when they are done right (Paschendale, Heading for Tomorrow, Metropolis Pt 1), I find these shorter length songs to be easier to listen to. Kudos for not going overboard.

After discovering the band back in June, Into Eternity is quickly becoming one of my favourite bands. Their fourth release, The Scattering of the Ashes, was easily one of my most anticipated albums of the year, and it does not disappoint. Whether it is the fantastic vocal harmonies, the intricate solos, the aggressive riffing, or the consistent harsh vocals, most should enjoy the album and find at least one thing that interests them. If you ask me, The Scattering of the Ashes is definitely in my top 3 for album of the year. Buy it now.

(Originally written for Sputnikmuisc)

The Scattering of Kickass Metal - 93%

darkreif, February 9th, 2007

I haven't been an Into Eternity fan for a long time (I began on their third album and worked my way back) so I haven't had the pleasure of experiencing a lot of what Into Eternity has been able to do for fans. Granted, I am a diehard one now - but I thought this would help understand my review of their latest effort, The Scattering of Ashes.

The Scattering of Ashes is something of a transitional album I believe. Into Eternity is a band that has been plagued with constant band member changes and the lastest album is a specific example of the "keeping up with the Jones" that fans have to go through to stay up to date with Into Eternity.

Tim Roth is the man. No, literally, he is the bread and butter of this band and that's why the music is mostly in the same style and structure as in previous releases. The guitar work that is present on The Scattering of Ashes is, to say the least, unbelievably technical and catchy. Few bands have the talent and willpower to be able to write a guitar part that allows the metal elitists to nod their heads AND also catch the attention of newer fans to create an evergrowing fanbase. Into Eternity has always been able to do this and The Scattering of Ashes is a particular case of such. All the music is expertly written with the focus on the music and presentation rather than the other distractions that being a metal artist tend to pull to. The guitars are consistantly amazing and disorienting at the same time and the flow of each song (and ultimately the album itself) is well thought out and emotional. So is there a flaw in the music? Not in the writing part - these guys are going to around a long time - but in the production. Everything sounds amazing until the first drum lick comes up. The drums parts are ridiculously loud and overbearing. Not that the parts don't fit in with the rest of the music - they almost devour it. The bass drum and snare drum in particular feel very stressed. The bass drum is also a little hollow sounding and dull even though it's so loud. I was shocked at this because this never occured on other albums in Into Eternity's albums. Luckily, once you get used to the initial shock of the drums you learn to dismiss the small flaw for the vastness of the guitar use.

Another change for Into Eternity was the change of vocalists. Stu Block is an interesting vocalist due to his ability to pull different vocal styles for different parts. One time he does a pretty decent gutteral death vocal part followed by a shriek VERY reminisent of Halford. It literally threw me off balance to hear a vocalist with that kind of range. He is different from the previous singer (less power metal sounding) and very skilled at what he does. It helps that the two guitarists help by singing background vocals so that he is able to intermix some of the death and sung parts but overall this new vocalist is a very powerful and useful tool for Into Eternity to have in their ranks.

Overall, I think that I prefered the last album over this one - partially because I'm more familiar with it; but The Scattering of Ashes is easily one of the best albums of the 2006 if not the best. It may be quickly become my favorite Into Eternity album and if they continue with Stu Block, the band will be able to release plenty more quality albums in the future. The future of metal is bright indeed.

Songs to check out: Severe Emotional Distress, Out, Surrounded by Night

Steps to Enjoying "The Scattering Of Ashes" - 97%

Sraiken, October 30th, 2006

Steps to Enjoying “The Scattering Of Ashes”

Step 1: Skip the intro track. It is 1:40 of noise, and a complete waste of disk (as well as live playing) time. It should not have been there in the first place. Enough said about that.

Step 2: Don’t write off the band during the catchy, almost Lacuna Coil-style first few bars of “Severe Emotional Distress”. Yeah, they use a very metalcore chord progression in this part, and it’s easy to listen to at first and be like, “What the fuck is this?” Don’t succumb to the temptation to turn off the CD right then and there.

Step 3: Sit back and fucking enjoy! The album really kicks off after the intro of “Severe Emotional Distress”, with a death metal riff that’s in 6/4 time. At this point, you know you’re in for the ride of your life as you listen to this, Into Eternity’s fourth album.

All sarcasm aside now. Of course, the first track, while it is an unbelievably great song, is not terribly indicative of the album as a whole. It’s ridiculously simple, though it’s catchy. Further, vocalist Stu Block’s vocals don’t really deviate on this song much from what you’ve heard from previous Into Eternity efforts. So, this is not the song to judge the album from. After the opening track, you have “Nothing”. This gives out a much better idea of what the album is like.

Now, those that have seen Into Eternity live on tour for the previous album know what vocalist Stu Block is capable of. For those that don’t, he is capable of handling ALL of the vocal duties that the band requires for the older songs, and then some. He can do the low death metal growls, the higher blood-chilling screams, as well as the clean vocals. He has a vocal range that is not too much less than that of one King Diamond. Man, can that guy hit some really high notes.

As far as the music on the album is concerned, you don’t really see that much switching of time signatures like you did on “Burned In Oblivion”. This is, overall, a much more straightforward album. However, this is NOT a bad thing. They still manage to combine riffs of all styles into songs that are just utterly amazing. If you are a fan of the band, this album is a must-own.

Overall, “The Scattering Of Ashes” is a very, very good album. All the guitars on the album are amazing. Guitarist Tim Roth is an amazing talent, and definitely one of the most underappreciated new guitarists on the planet. I am not entirely sure if former guitarist Rob Doherty recorded on this album before he left the band and left Roth on his own. Either way, however, everything on this album is great. The drumming is solid, the guitars are amazing, and the vocals are just like you’d expect from Into Eternity.

Stepped Up Their Game - 95%

andersizzle, October 5th, 2006

On Into Eternity's latest album, they experiment with alot of different sounds. Stu Block(who wasn't on the previous albums) goes from doing a high scream to power metal style singing. Stu Block also does all the high harmonies on the clean vocals, and all are done very well. He is definitely a right fit for this band.

Myself already being a fan of Into Eternity, did not see how they could make a better album guitar-wise than the previous album, Buried In Oblivion, but they certainly did. Tim Roth incorporates every possible style of guitar riff in this album without making it sound thrown together. He does death metal riffs, black metal riffs, thrash riffs, and they fit in the progressive edge that Into Eternity has always had.

This album is definitely an upgrade form their previous recordings, even though the older material is very good. Every element of the music is a step ahead of their previous work. It is also a very constant album. It only lets up for half of the seventh song, Surrounded By Night. The first half of this song is acoustic and has great vocal harmony, very reminiscient of the title track on the previous album. Then the song picks up the pace, and ends with a great guitar solo. This is 41 minutes of pure heavy metal, and it is completely original.

Take a few listens before you judge - 80%

SirMichaelJ, September 15th, 2006

As much as I love Into Eternity, I feel this release was a real let down. At first I could have given this cd a score of 50, but then as a loyal music fan, I let it all sink in. Trying to notice things I didnt before, and looking for things I dont like as a reviewer. My main problem with this album is that they try and do to much. Instead of improving their sound, they tried to add stuff that shouldnt be there. Mainly oddly placed time sigs, and very, very odd vocals. Those vocals I speak of sound like 3 Inches of Blood worship. Both bands are from Canada, but jesus, we only need one 3 Inches of Blood style vocals.

After picking apart the shitty parts to the album, there are some very bright spots, and these spots happen throughout the cd, so you really dont get irritated for to long. After the standard intro is the first song. And is actually the futured song they have out as a single. This song is by far the best song on the album. Those annoying vocals dont hurt the song. The new drummer they have is amazing, the double bass hit you hard, black metal hard. The clean vocals are beautifuly done, and the guitar work is flawless. If I can say anything positive about this album, is their guitarist is flawless all around.

Another standout song is one with no screaming, and a mix of acoustic guitar, a very good bass guitar, and of coarse some electric guitar thrown in. The drummer is there mostly just to keep the pace of the song and throw in double bass here and there, but this is something different from the band. You saw them expand into this territory on Buried in Oblivion, but they expanded by adding more to that sound. This song is easily the second best song for its originality, and overall a great track.

This album is recomended for fans of power metal\ progressive\ and a slight touch of death merely for the drums and harsh vocals. Too bad this cd was not released last year, otherwise it would have been a lot better. It has just been overshadowed by all this years great releases.