Into Eternity
The Incurable Tragedy

I praise lots of bands and albums, many of which probably more so than they truly deserve – what can I say? I tend to be an overly enthusiastic metal head. Though if there is one band that deserves every ounce of praise I heap upon them album after album, its Regina, Canada’s Into Eternity.

Between the outstanding musicianship and the equally fantastic and extremely versatile vocal display, they touch upon virtually every corner of the metal realm genre wise. Musically, they keep a finger on the pulse of traditional/power metal, thrash, death, and progressive/technical. Vocally, the best word to describe their approach is schizophrenic – from the Halford-esque wails to black metal shrieks to a multitude of growls and grunts to several levels of cleans, including the harmonizing of vocalist Stu Block and guitarist/songwriter and band leader/founder Tim Roth – truly jaw dropping and attention grabbing after the confusion wears off. Perhaps the best aspect of all is how they incorporate all of these elements into one seamless and cohesive package that is simultaneously heavy, melodic, technical, beautiful and astonishingly catchy. The quickest way to summarize their sound I think would be two throw Death, Iron Maiden and Dream Theater in a blender – that’s Into Eternity in a nutshell.

The Incurable Tragedy is the bands first attempt at a concept record, and an extremely heavy topic has been chosen – cancer, or the loss of loved ones to it. Main man Tim Roth lost two good friends, brothers Danny and Dave Stevenson, and his father Jack Roth all within three months to cancer – I cannot even begin to fathom how hard it must’ve been to write this album. Of the 12 tracks here, three are entirely instrumental. The brief intro “Prelude to Woe”, the early/mid album “Symptoms”, which serves as an excellent intro piece to the devastatingly heavy “Diagnosis Terminal”, and the sorrowful sounding “The Incurable Tragedy Part III (December 15, 2007)” which closes out the album.

The band’s last album, 2006’s The Scattering of Ashes was a little shy in versatility in terms of tempo and intensity when compared to its predecessor Buried in Oblivion, as its motto must’ve been go for the throat at all times. In that regard, The Incurable Tragedy is more like Buried in Oblivion, as there is much more versatility track to track, with three songs (all three parts of the title track) that are scaled back with all clean guitar and vocals, and include piano.

When they kick it up though, the results are devastating. The aforementioned “Diagnosis Terminal”, “Tides of Blood” (complete with multiple instances of Stu Blocks’ Halford-esque wails), “Spent Years of Regret”, “Indignation”, the ridiculously catchy “Time Immemorial”, “A Black Light Ending” and “One Funeral Hymn for Three” all crush and catch at once, loaded with head spinning, stop-on-a-dime time/tempo and vocal changes, screaming solos and impeccable lead work.

There are no production issues to speak of, but one thing that I must address is the high end of Stu Block’s vocals – if his performance deterred you from the band on their last go round, chances are you’ll have the same issues here. Personally, I dig it, as I think it works great for their sound and versatility.

I’ve had quite some time to spend with this album and have listened to it 30 plus times (that’s A LOT for me on any one album), and I have yet to tire of it. I can’t say The Incurable Tragedy is the bands (or Tim Roth if you want to be exact, as there is no doubt that this is his baby) best effort, but definitely on par with the high quality of the two prior releases. They have quickly become a strong pillar of consistency in the metal world, and if you don’t have a problem with the high end wails, by all means get this.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Larry "Staylow" Owens
September 4th, 2008

Comments

  1. Commented by: Dan

    I’ve always been on the fence with Into Eternity. I loved Stu’s vocals on ‘Ashes,’ but I thought the songs were a little one dimensional. I found it almost irritating that people kept pegging them as progressive, when EVERY song fell into the harsh verse/clean chorus formula. Some choruses were also a little bit, well….emo, for my tastes. I’ve also never been a fan of Roth’s solo’s. He’s technically impressive but some solo’s sound like warm-up exercises at 300bpm.

    That said, I’m interested to see if this hearkens back to the variation and versatility found on ‘Oblivion.’ Good review Staylow.


  2. Commented by: Dan

    Oh, one last note. I know cancer is a heavy subject (my own mom has dealt with it twice), but they reeeeaaallly could have picked a more interesting concept or at least dealt with this one a little more creatively. I read an excerpt of the lyrics on Metalreview.com and they sounded pretty cringe-inducing.


  3. Commented by: Staylow

    Thank you Dan.

    There’s definitely more variation and versatility here than on “Ashes”.

    Yeah, the lyrics are kinda bad and very…uh, forward I guess. Not the word I’m looking for, but you get what I mean. But with the subject matter, I’m not sure how else one could go about it – there’s really no way to veil that, at least that I can think of. I think it’s just something he needed to get off his chest. But one thing I really like about it, is that it’s so heartfelt. I always dig/appreciate music that comes from the heart, as is here, and why I hold it in high regard. It’s also the reason I like Down so much – their stuff is just loaded with so much heart and passion.


  4. Commented by: bast

    BIO was just mindblowing (and as you say so heartfelt!) and raised the expectations way to high for what TSOA presented really (though it was a solid album).
    I´ll have to check this out, but i doubt they´ll match their masterpiece. And that is a bummer.


  5. Commented by: Staylow

    Personally, I like all three albums on or about the same level, with Dead or Dreaming just a couple steps behind. BIO maybe just a tad bit more, but either way, they’re extremely consistent with the quality.


  6. Commented by: bast

    Ok, thanx for the review and the reply, i´m eager to listen to this!


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