The new In Vain album – Currents – is a progressive death metal treasure trove of sweeping music and grandiose structuring. Full of epic songs and engaging, sometimes eclectic delights, it’s a engrossing mix of melodic black/death metal mixed with progressive highlights. Well-written and extremely enjoyable, this is 42 minutes of quality music that I urge anyone reading to this to explore.
Lead guitarist Kjetil Pedersen was kind enough to answer some questions about the band and their latest opus…
Who and what are In Vain?
In Vain; delivering melodic and progressive extreme metal from the southern shores of Norway since 2003. Andreas (vocals), Sindre (vocals and keys), and Johnar (guitars), are all founding members, myself Kjetil (lead guitar) joined the band back in 2009 during the recording of the Mantra album, and Alex (bass), our young and hip alibi, has been around since 2013. We’ve released three albums earlier, all on Norwegian label Indie Recordings, and we’re now counting the days until the new album Currents finally is released on 26 January 2018.
What are your influences?
We’re five individuals with a healthy variety of favourite bands and influences I think, but we all share common ground in the more br00tal and extreme variation of metal music. I know our main songwriter Johnar has mentioned bands like Extol, … In the Woods, Opeth, Emperor, Morbid Angel, etc. as important influences up through the years, and I guess they are bands that we all can relate to.
What are you listening to at the moment that you would like to recommend?
Hehe, every time I get that question, I (a bit shamefully) have to admit that I don’t pay much attention to what’s new or popular, most of the time I just listen to old shit over and over again… But here’s a few relatively fresh releases that I’ve recently enjoyed and can recommend: Trees of Eternity – Hour of the Nightingale, Persefone – Aathma, Witherscape – The Northern Sanctuary, Hallatar – No Stars upon the Bridge, Satyricon – Deep Calleth upon Deep.
How do you feel that your band fits into the wider metal scene?
Well, in general I think metal fans are more open to different types of music nowadays, I like to think that you’re “allowed” to create whatever music you prefer, without having to worry about being “True Fucking Norwegian Black Metal” or something like that all the time… And we like to mix lots of different elements into our songs, so I certainly hope our music can appeal to a relatively broad array of metalheads and music lovers.
How does the album artwork reflect content of the album?
First, let me say that the artwork by Costin Chioreanu really blew us away, he’s done an amazing job, both on the album artwork and the lyric video we released for the first single “Seekers of the truth”. I think the originality, and the dark, epic feel of the cover art fits the music perfectly. The migrating people amongst the threatening waves…I believe it mirrors both historical and current events, and I think it reflects both the album title and some of the lyrical themes on this album really well.
How were the songs written and arranged?
Johnar basically writes the songs by himself, we then make a pre-production, where the rest of us add our personal touches in form of guitar leads, vocal arrangements etc., and where we collectively try to create the best possible versions of the songs by trying out changes in song structures, rearranging certain parts, etc.
How did you decide on the running order of the songs?
Fist fights and arm wrestling!! Well…we wanted a couple of in-your-face songs as openers, and once we’d also decided on which two tracks to save for the special edition of the album, the rest of the songs fell into order quite naturally.
What’s your favourite song on the album and why?
Painfully difficult question! I would have to choose one of the first three songs on the album; the first single “Seekers of the Truth”, with the perfect combination of heavy verses with mind-fucking time signatures and a typical In Vain-style chorus, or the gentler, more melodic “Soul Adventurer”, featuring some awesome clean vocal performances from both Sindre and Matt Heafy of Trivium, or perhaps the death-metal/a capella soon-to-be classic “Blood we Shed”??
What are your ambitions for the album?
First and foremost, I hope people will enjoy it! Getting feedback from our fans, and experiencing that people listen to our music with great dedication, really make all the hard work worthwhile. Our fanbase has been growing slow but steady since the debut and we of course hope that “Currents” will reach many new listeners as well. And perhaps open a few doors to some exciting live opportunities?
How does it feel to have Currents released to the world?
We’re basically really excited!! And perhaps more than anything, we’re looking forward to playing the new songs on stage soon.
Are you happy with how it turned out – would you do anything different if you had to do it over again?
We are extremely happy with it, it’s been many years in the making, the songs have been refined and rearranged many times over to reach their full potential, and we went many rounds in the recording and mixing process to achieve the sound we were hoping for. So at the moment I don’t really hear anything that I would have changed, no big fuck-ups or annoying little flaws that keep me awake at night.
How will Currents inform your future musical progression?
I think we’ve found a really good formula on the last two albums, but who knows, we might emphasise more on the death metal, the black metal, the melodic or the progressive elements more in the future, but…most likely we’ll continue to try and create a cohesive and interesting mix of all these different elements. Our main focus has always been to write great songs, and not necessarily try to fit in to any particular sub-genre or follow any trends. In the end, it all comes down to the ideas we come up with and the choices we eventually make, but in my opinion there should be a kind of natural progression from album to album, so you probably won’t get any psychedelic folk-rock albums from us any time soon…
What are the next steps for In Vain?
For now, it’s all about “Currents”, promoting the new album, rehearsing old and new songs and getting ready for our European tour in February /March. I hope the next year or so will bring quite a bit of touring, some cool festival gigs and basically lots of fun! Then we’ll probably start working on some new material after that. Hopefully it won’t take another five years to finish a new album, we’ll try to be a bit more efficient the next time around…
Do you have any other upcoming shows that you want to talk about?
Absolutely! As mentioned, we’re heading out for a short European tour in late February, in support of Orphaned Land, and with Subterranean Masquerade and Aevum joining in as well. We’re kicking off in Arnhem on 24 February, and continue to Essen, London, Paris, Nantes, Madrid, Barcelona and Montpellier. We’re insanely stoked about playing a bunch of new songs live, so come join us, this will be a blast! There will also be a release show in Oslo prior to the tour, and hopefully we’ll confirm some new shows and festival gigs real soon.
Any final words?
Thanks for the interview and your support! To the readers; keep on supporting good music, drinking beer and loving one another! Check out our new album “Currents”, and if you like what you hear, consider recommending In Vain to a friend, neighbour or elderly relative. Visit our Facebook page for news, music and complete tour dates, and be sure to catch one of our upcoming shows!