Continuing where their previous EP left off whilst showing greater rigorous invention and accomplished songwriting, British metallers Immension release debut album In Vain to reaffirm the potential of their already potent emergence. It is not an encounter destined to leave ears awe struck but certainly it is an album merging familiarity and fresh imagination in one persistently enjoyable proposition.
The Sheffield bred Immension was formed in 2008 by Jake Kearsley (vocals, guitar, bass and piano) and Tim Dolan (lead guitar), and soon began earning local attention with a sound seemingly Bullet For My Valentine inspired, certainly on the evidence of their self-titled first EP. Its successor The Enemy Within increased the band’s ever growing fan base whilst sparking a more national awareness too, its arrival also revealing a more Metallica influenced creativity and air was blossoming in the band’s sound and again part fuels Immension’s first and increasingly pleasing full-length. With drummer Jonni Sowter, who joined the band back in 2011, the trio are set to awaken the strongest and broadest spotlight yet with In Vain, with expected success.
Carrying a presence which is like nineties era Metallica meets Trivium, In Vain opens up with its title track and an enticing of guitar which in turn leads to a robust and skilfully tangled weave of melodic endeavour and rhythmic incitement. The vocals led by Kearsley, similarly have a tenacious and full presence, and like the music carry a Hetfield and co ring to them in varying ways. Rigorous in some moments, more energetically composed in others, the track grabs ears and attention with ease with Sowter a commanding and resourceful presence within the web of enterprise cast by Dolan’s guitar.
The rich start to the album continues with The Fantasy, Sowtor’s heavy swings again instantly incendiary bait as riffs and grooves unleash a fiery magnetism against the dark swing riffs of bass. As the rest of the album, there are plenty of recognisable aspects to the song, of others and the band’s previous releases, but equally a new adventure is explored too via more provocative sonic textures and Middle Eastern spices. It is a climatic and richly satisfying encounter, its mix of deliberate prowling and ruggedly enthusiastic charges a contagious persuasion reinforced by the creative imagination and ever impressing vocals within all sides of the band.
All That Remains follows with a mellower and more restrained if still fiery character, vocals and guitar caressing ears as rhythms provide a sturdier framing. Impassioned energy flows through the heart and narrative of the song though, ensuring its more placid nature is always on the edge of emotional eruption before it makes way for the skilfully crafted and dynamic Lost & Forgotten. Neither track can match the persuasion of the first two on the album, and both also begin to reveal a surface similarity in certain areas between tracks within In Vain, but each has ears and appetite enthused for more with their also present elements of individuality, and again duly offered by In The Dead Of Winter and Shadow Of Yourself. The first of these two opens with an ominous yet regal ambience around dramatic beats before being further infused with wiry melodic hues of guitar. There is a rampancy to it which is just as highly persuasive as the ever evident technical and thoughtful potency going into songs. It is one of the loftier peaks of the album, a height its successor tries to emulate with its familiar inventive route clad in thoroughly engaging sound and creativity.
For maybe the first openly dramatic time a major twist of originality comes with the piano led and vocally harmonic Love Never Dies. Its opening charm and beauty is mesmeric but aligned to portentous shadows through the heavy tones of bass and firmly jabbing beats, it all gripping the imagination as much as ears. Continuing to evolve and expand its character and creative colour, the song becomes a blaze of melodic and emotional angst, sublimely capturing pleasure and thoughts before the just as excellent The Enemy Within uncages its barbarous and exhilarating turbulence. The track is never as aggressive and volatile as it might be due to the excellent smooth tones of Kearsley, but it thrills a treat with an enticing which is inviting and barbed simultaneously. The two tracks provide further pinnacles to the album before closing track The Father You Will Never Be offers a final imposing croon and emotional ferocity restrained by melodic temptation.
The song is a fine end to a consistently and increasingly enjoyable release. Immension are still a distance away from finding a truly unique sound but In Vain shows that in craft and sound they have taken big and impressive steps. This is not an encounter to be surprised by or find brand new terrains through but as a proposition to simply spend forty five minutes or so enjoying potent melodic metal, it is a success many other bands will envy.
In Vain is available from June 15th through all stores.