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In.verno - "Realscapes" (CD)

In.verno - "Realscapes" CD cover image

"Realscapes" track listing:

1. Scrapes of Reality (1:46)
2. Living In Vain (7:53)
3. 30 Hours Of Pain (5:55)
4. Human's Inside Pt. I - Weakness (4:29)
5. Human's Inside Pt. II - Doubt (2:52)
6. Human's Inside Pt. III - Strength (6:41)
7. Unmask (6:20)
8. Confession (10:58)

Reviewed by on December 7, 2009

"On the surface, In.Verno might seem like just another 'beauty and the beast' style pop metal band. After a couple of listens it becomes clear that the band has done a lot of work to put their own progressive edge to the genre."

Metal is a form of expression that speaks all languages and has a place in any setting. Whether it’s the most extreme forms of death metal or the most stunningly arranged symphonic metal, there is something in the genre that will speak to nearly everyone. As more musicians add their personal takes to the style, it’s inevitable that the various sub-genres will begin to blend together and swap ideas. Spain’s In.Verno is a band that presents its face as a melodic gothic metal act, but the various sounds that compose “Realscapes” are far more diverse than that label would suggest.

Although the short opening track, “Scrapes of Reality,” has no vocals, it still gives a good taste of what can be expected from the rest of the album. The song begins with a lonely piano segment that is soon joined by the bass, which remains in the mix even as the guitars and drums enter the stage. The instruments only have just over a minute to work their magic before the next song starts, but they manage to go on quite a journey in that short length of time. From triumphant and upbeat to melancholy and even slightly creepy, the track spans the range of melodic and symphonic music, as does the remainder of the songs on the disc.

The majority of the vocals on “Realscapes” are provided by Laura Comesaña, who can match nearly any of the more prominent female metal vocalists. While she does her fair share of high notes and ethereal passages, her voice overall is slightly deeper than what is heard from the likes of Nightwish or Epica, which is a nice change of pace. In.Verno hasn’t forgotten where metal came from however, as there are plenty of growls to be found on the album. What’s surprising about the extreme vocals is how abrasive and diabolical they sound. When placed next to the pleasing female vocals the contrast is even more profound, and may make some listeners do a double take if they weren’t expecting something so harsh. For a minor old school vibe, there are also some occasional layered whispers and even theatric chanting.

On the surface, In.Verno might seem like just another “beauty and the beast” style pop metal band. After a couple of listens it becomes clear that the band has done a lot of work to put their own progressive edge to the genre. The interplay of guitar with melodic drums, keyboards that aren’t afraid to go in whatever bizarre direction they want, infrequent use of sound effects, and varying vocals all provide an experience that borders on the avant-garde. Each keyboard passage does something completely different than what is heard on previous songs, going from eerie passages to shrill rock opera style segments without skipping a beat.

If “Realscapes” has any low points they all lie in the problem of mixing the cheerful melodies of female fronted metal with symphonic death metal. There are times when In.Verno could have taken a much darker bent but kept things flowing in a positive or neutral direction instead. Some may find themselves wishing for a little more evil atmosphere or despairing sounds in the songs from time to time, while those who prefer less brutality should be right at home for a good portion of the album.

“Realscapes” is an overall heavy album with a big emphasis on melody and symphonic elements. It will easily appeal to fans of female-fronted or symphonic metal, but also has a good shot of drawing in some of the avant-garde and death metal crowd.

Highs: Great female vocals, occasional harsh and abrasive death growls, lots of progressive elements.

Lows: Long stretches of upbeat sounds that may turn off some death metal fans.

Bottom line: Excellent female-fronted symphonic metal with a strong emphasis on progressive elements.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)