Into Darkness [Italy]
I guess one of the main influences for Italian death/doom metal outfit Into Darkness are pretty clear solely from the visual aspects of their eponymous debut release, with the band logo bearing such a strong resemblance to death metal legends Incantation. But whether their music can match up to releases of the aforementioned is another matter.
The band proves their abilities pretty quickly enough, and as the album starts off with the eponymous track, the crushing riffs, along with the doom pace that the band trudges along in, all bring to mind the ominous, oppressive form of death metal that Incantation has crafted over the course of their history. Yet this is more than simply an Incantation clone as the band certainly brings in quite a variety of influences. For instance, guitarists Doomed Warrior and Jex, while dishing out some extremely heavy riffs, clearly display their doom influences, ranging from ones that are reminiscent of the early days of bands like Sabbath, to some almost stoner segments that are not unlike psychedelic death/doom lords Acid Witch. This is especially obvious through the lead guitars, and that groove that is present on the title track Into Darkness.
However, not all is complete doom and gloom, and on the faster segments on the album one is reminded of the works of Asphyx, with the alternating between doom-paced segment to just pure death metal goodness, like on Nemesis Star of Catastrophe. Not only so, drummer Dave constantly switches between death metal blasting segments and more simplistic, almost punkish d-beats in his drumming, reinforcing the Asphyx and some Swedish death metal comparisons. There are even moments when Doomed Warrior’s vocals bear quite a striking resemblance to Martin van Drunen. It is in this ease of transiting between different styles that displays Into Darkness‘ versatility, and ingenuity in their songwriting, with each of the different segments complementing each other.
The production quality on Into Darkness is extremely raw, and this certainly helps to the overall charm of the release, a contrast to the polished, over-produced style that many modern death metal bands tend to prefer. For instance, while the guitars may sound rather thin and trebly at times, the thick and heavy bass presence helps to provide much of the low end, and that 80s-sounding drum tones certainly helps in giving Into Darkness a nice, old school sound.