Day 2 of my Album Of The Year 2013 countdown. Welcome back and thanks for reading. If you happened to miss Day 1, you can read it here.

As always, this is a personal list and there’s bound to be people who agree or disagree with my choices. Please feel free to tell me exactly what you think of my choices. After all, interaction is the spice of life!

Anyway, here’s Number 19:

in vain aenigmaIN VAIN
Indie Recordings

There simply had to be a melodic death/doom metal album in my Top 20 because I love this subgenre. It was a year for some of the lesser-known names to come to the fore because many of the bigger-hitters were silent this year. Mind you, on the evidence of ‘Ænigma’, Kristiansand-based Norwegian doomsters In Vain would have given anyone a run of their money. In fact, this is the album to transform In Vain into one of the genre big-hitters in their own right.

in vain band

Crushing riffs, growled vocals and double-pedal drumming are all present and correct as you’d expect from an album of this kind. However, in addition, In Vain know how to write a tune. Mournful melodies tinged with a folk influence adorn each of the tracks, making the listening experience less bruising and uncompromising whilst showing an endearing fragility.


Frequently, the vocal approach veers away from the extreme growls and is replaced by some beautiful clean tones. On more than one occasion, I am reminded of Borknagar and ex-Dimmu Borgir bassist/vocalist ICS Vortex. There is even room for some acoustic guitar work, spoken word parts and a touch of brass to add further variety to proceedings and usher the word ‘progressive’ into the review.

I find that the word ‘epic’ can be overused in music reviews. However, that’s exactly the adjective that I would use for In Vain and the magnificent ‘Ænigma’. If you’re partial to a bit of melodic death/doom metal, this, right here, is the very best that was delivered in 2013.


Remember, you can still read my Top 20 of 2012 here.


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