Imminence – Heaven in Hiding (Album Review)

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Just before 2021 comes to a close, Imminence have given us something of absolutely epic proportions. “Heaven in Hiding” is an expansive and transcending collection of tracks that are just as engaging and enthralling as any cinematic experience. If you’re already a fan of Imminence, then you’re going to be blown away. If you’re a new listener, then you’re going to become a fan pretty damn quick.

The Swedish 5-piece have been refining their sound over the years, bringing out some huge releases and gaining traction in the metal world. 2019 saw the band release their third studio album “Turn the Light On”, and that was certainly a monumental offering. It had massive Architects feelings through it, but it still had its very own identity. “Room to Breathe” was only one of the numerous standout tracks on that album. Even before that, their previous albums were ambitious and displayed a band that were aiming for something truly great. The group has always possessed a huge sound in their tracks, utilizing various instruments, themes, genres and layers to bring a really unique experience to the listener. 

Heaven in Hiding” is their latest album, and it is a stunning display of the band maturing and finding the ultimate version of their current selves. It’s a perfect combination of their discography and their enthusiasm to move forward sonically, experimenting with new sounds and timbres to really immerse the listener and take them on a journey.

The production is incredibly dense, full to the brim of interesting sounds and layers that the listener can almost swim through to appreciate and absorb. The record was produced from front to back by Henrik Udd, a master producer that has worked with some iconic groups such as Bring Me the Horizon, Architects, and At the Gates, among others. Despite it being full of sounds, it’s barely muddy at all, so it was completely effortless to explore everything that the group has to offer across this album. There are also some absolutely gorgeous music videos that I would recommend listeners to check out. They compliment the tracks perfectly, and really build that cinematic feeling I mentioned earlier. I haven’t felt like that about a music video since 30 Seconds To Mars did something on such a scale for “From Yesterday” back in 2010.

Of course, the violin is one of the big features on this record, as one would expect from Imminence. It should be illegal for Eddie Berg to be incredibly talented at both the violin and the vocals. His stringed performance across the album is something special; it immediately brings an elegant and beautiful feeling to the brutal and powerful sound that the rest of the band delivers. “Chasing Shadows” really puts the strings at the center of the listener’s attention, playing some charming melodies that blend in superbly well with Berg’s vocal performance. This happens across multiple tracks, too, so you don’t have to wait a very long for more. “Lost and Left Behind” has a similar performance that floats in front of you with a simple but velvety smooth melody, as does “این نیز بگذرد”, a seriously impressive track that has so much to offer in so many ways. The string performance in this track in particular is definitely a highlight.

Did you want a solo violin performance from Berg, though? No worries, he’s got you covered in “∞”. Admittedly, it’s a short track coming in at 52 seconds, but it’s a gorgeous little interlude. I can only say that I’d love to hear much more of Berg’s talent on its own.

“Heaven in Hiding” Album Artwork

When he’s not enchanting the absolute hell out of us with a violin, Berg is inciting goosebumps through his vocal performance on “Heaven in Hiding”. He has a strong ability to move from brooding and ethereal vocal melodies, all the way up to some straight-up bone-rattling growls and roars. The atmosphere and almost abstract feeling opening track “I am become a name…” has Berg shapeshifting across the soundscape, but we’re quickly reacquainted with the real him on “Ghost”, the following track. This track shows us the ferocity that he promises for this album, and it’s definitely something he doesn’t hold back on. His ability to go from punching out a gravelly and powerful melody to a smooth vibrato is best shown in “Surrender”, a track that is just as beautiful as it is intense. The breakdown in this track is one that will have you widening your eyes just a little bit…

Berg isn’t afraid to offer a more intimate and vulnerable side to himself in “Heaven in Hiding”. “Chasing Shadows” has some gorgeous little moments, and the emotion put forward in these clean instances is only matched in sincerity by the unbridled screams he lets out in the heavier sequences. This vulnerable yet measured approach is summoned once again on “این نیز بگذرد”. Whilst the vocals are captivating on this track, they’re only bested by his string performance.
The best thing about Berg’s performance, ultimately, is that it’s consistent across the whole album, and comes to a spectacular head in the final track “Heaven in Hiding”. He truly saved the best for last, for the title track is jammed packed with so much articulation and dynamic variance.

Harald Barrett and Alex Arnoldsso take care of guitars for this album, and they take on a plethora of different roles. They don’t sit idle in one position or sound, but constantly change in terms of tone, texture and dynamic and this works in smoothly with the strings and other layers floating through the soundscape. In “Temptation”, the symbiotic relationship between violin and guitar is best displayed. At certain points, the listener can hear a finger tapping melody from the guitars, but it’s slowly and seamlessly weaved in with a complimenting string melody. It’s the combination of these two instruments done superbly well that makes this album so much fun, and satisfying, to listen to.

Throughout this record, you’re being crushed by the guitars in breakdowns through tracks like “Ghost” and “Heaven in Hiding”, and in other moments you’re transported to worlds within your imagination in tracks like “این نیز بگذرد”. Behind Berg’s vocals, soft and spellbinding strings float around your head. I could be entirely wrong, but I believe it’s a mandolin that plucks away those accented notes to carry along that waltz-like melodic progression. Whatever instrument it is, it’s majorly different to the rest of the album, and it adds a wonderful amount of diversity to the sound in “Heaven in Hiding”.

On the heavier side of things, Barrett and Arnoldsso put out some awesome lead and rhythm guitar melodies. The guitar solo in “Moth to Flame” is an appropriately graceful addition to the heaviness in the moment, as is the solo in “Heaven in Hiding”. “Disappear” also has a really fun lead melody, but this track is really where you appreciate the heaviness and thickness of the guitars when they’re played on the lower strings.

The bass guitar also gets a bit of time up at the front of the stage, and Christian Höijer doesn’t take that time for granted. In the second verse of “Enslaved”, you can hear Höijer playing a funky little sequence to accompany the guitar melody, but through most of “Heaven in Hiding”, he is either following the guitar melodies, or laying down a solid bass line to heavily contribute to the thickness and fullness this album emanates. That short but sweet glissando down one of the strings during the choruses for “Ghost” is also a super fun feature, but the listener will be able to clearly hear the bass slinking away in the verses for “Surrender” and “Disappear”. That bit of grittiness was all that was needed to continue the brooding energy that advances along the track.

Speaking of energy, the drums in this album are huge; the skins are essentially annihilated by Peter Hanström and his drumsticks. The kick drum and snare are just as punchy as each other, but their aggression ebbs and flows throughout the album in the same way the rest of the band fades and grows in ferocity and elegance. Hanström’s intentions are made known to the listener early on when “Ghost” begins, and this dominance follows into “Temptation” without relent. Those blast beats at the end of this track were a great way to inject some brief but brilliant moments of chaos into an otherwise beautifully arranged sequence of heavy music. He pulls off a similar thing in the breakdown for “Surrender”, where he places the snare on the offbeat which can throw the listener off for a short moment, but this only serves to keep the listener on their toes and encourages them to be more engaged in the tracks.

It’s not all slamming and destruction from Hanström, however. The groovy little beat in “Enslaved” changes things up a bit, and “Disappear” displays a more subdued and modest rhythm to push the energy along. “این نیز بگذرد” takes a more percussive and ritualistic feeling to them, adding that sense of urgency and weight to an already fascinating track. As the violin begins its solo, the original drum kit shortly enters after, and a well-integrated combination between the early percussion and the drum kit ensues, bringing it all together in a fulfilling way.

It seems that the title track “Heaven in Hiding”, is the highlight track for me for more reasons than just Berg’s vocals. Hanström’s drum performance on this is top-notch. The heavily syncopated rhythm in the beginning of the track is really fun, giving the listener something new, even after they’ve been through 12 tracks already. The beginning beat is incredibly gentle, but it explodes into the chorus, and the track keeps the listener completely sucked in, all the way to the earth-shattering breakdown which leaves you in a void only accompanied by distant violins.

To put my rambles into short form, as you move through Heaven in Hiding” by Imminence, you will be hard pressed to really understand and value the thought and dedication that has gone into creating such a huge and overwhelming release. At face value, this album is a stellar performance from all members of the band, each weaving in their own special and authentic personality into the mix. On a deeper level, it’s something that the band has been building towards for over 10 years. “Heaven in Hiding” is immense in its beauty, as well as its formidable heaviness, and is without question their most remarkable release by far. Do yourself a favor and put this record on repeat. It will provide you with new and interesting sounds and layers every time you go back to dig a little deeper, and who knows… you might find your own version of heaven hiding in one of these tracks.

Releasing On: November 26th2021
Released By: Arising Empire
Genre: Metalcore

Musicians:

  • Eddie Berg / Vocals/Violin
  • Harald Barrett / Guitar
  • Alex Arnoldsson / Guitar
  • Christian Höijer / Bass
  • Peter Hanström / Drums

“Heaven in Hiding” Tracklist:

  1. I am become a name…
  2. Ghost
  3. Temptation
  4. Surrender
  5. Chasing Shadows
  6. Moth to a Flame
  7. Alleviate
  8. Enslaved
  9. Disappear
  10. Lost and Left Behind
  11. این نیز بگذرد
  12. Heaven in Hiding

9.0 Excellent

Imminence are fast becoming a dominant force in the metal world. 2019’s “Turn the Light On” was a war cry to declare what was coming, but “Heaven in Hiding” is the force that no one was ready for, but everyone wanted. The intense yet elegant combination of layers through this album make for a highly entertaining listen, and the stellar performances by all members of the band culminate to provide the listener with a fantastic collection of tracks that are easy to resonate with, but still offer something fresh. There have been some impressive albums this year, but “Heaven in Hiding” is undoubtedly a top contender.

  • Songwriting 9
  • Musicianship 9
  • Originality 9
  • Production 9
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