Illustrations: In Vain

Crusty Texans search for the spark of individuality

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A metallic hardcore band from San Antonio, Texas, Illustrations originally released this album in limited form earlier in 2013 and it’s now ready for official launch.

Injecting all that is bleak and menacing in the world with more volatile, grindcore influences, In Vain houses an attitude that brings to mind Trash Talk or Nails.

They are certainly credible as far as passion and guitarwork is concerned but their vocals, while undeniably brutal, are indistinctive, with the possible exception of the more reflective Swan Song. One of the most striking tracks is Never Feeling, which packs serious punch with heavy riffs, skidding fretwork, and bullish, slavering vocals. Faithless and Widower are other memorable efforts.

On the whole, a lack of killer tracks hold them back – but this is a solid effort for a debut album and the dark, ominous artwork courtesy of Give Up also helps their cause.