INCASSUM is a band that is made up almost entirely from bits and pieces of musical ideas that have all been done time and time again and, in most cases, more successfully, by other bands. They seem to fall somewhere in-between the melodic Death Metal and the Gothic Metal genres, but the elements borrowed from either genre feel very modern. As expected, there is some pretty heavy-handed AT THE GATES worship throughout the brief EP, but "In Vain" ultimately feels like an unbalanced conglomeration consisting mostly of the bastard offspring of bands like KILLSWITCH ENGAGE and LACUNA COIL.
Launching the EP, and as a perfect testimony to the aforementioned statement, is the overly groovy "The Beckoning". The song is a tight, mechanical melange of swaying groovy riffs and incessant pinch harmonics (ala KILLSWITCH) and somewhat distressing yet equally groovy Goth-styled music. Whilst catchy at times, the dominating riff and mid-paced tempo do wear thin after so many listens due to the repetitious nature inherent in the music. Bands of the post-"Slaughter Of The Soul" melodic Death Metal era are a dime a dozen these days, and INCASSUM do very little to separate themselves from the herd. Many of the tracks on here were obviously formulated from the same blueprint. The aptly titled "History Repeats" opens with a similar theme, constantly pushing the grooves and the pinch harmonics forward. The song isnít a total waste; the chorus which consists of layered clean singing forces the music into an odd albeit pleasant contrast.
The biggest problem with the EP, however, is that it isnít terrible, just mediocre. Every so often, INCASSUM will travel off the beaten path and explore new and exciting territory, and whenever this happens, the end result is fantastic. Be it the aforementioned layered chorus from "History Repeats", the title trackís explosive post-introduction or the epic harmony-driven climax from "So Red", when INCASSUM lets its emotions run free, the music benefits dramatically. Alas, these moments are far too intermittent, and the majority of the EP feels like a tedious uphill struggle against the ever prevailing hailstorm of mediocrity. What I see here is untapped potential. INCASSUM is more than likely a band that needs time to find its own identity, and I will look forward to whatever they have to offer in the future.
(Online January 9, 2009)