Looking at the cover of Into Eternity's third album, it may seem rather easy to set one's expectations. The goofy, computer-generated evil temple complete with raven and evil statues generally signifies the same sort of fairly mediocre attempt at creating something genuinely interesting musically. "Buried In Oblivion," the band's third full-length album, and second for metal titan (particularly as of late) Century Media, is honestly unlike anything I've ever heard before. Blending the prog rock stylings of Dream Theater and the power metal of Hammerfall or Blind Guardian with a distinctly death metal edge, Into Eternity ventures into uncharted territory on this powerful testament to metal's enduring qualities. The opening of the disc's first track "Splintered Visions" consists of thirty seconds or so of guitar work that would make John Petrucci blush, immediately followed by blastbeats and demonic growling. The infusion of mid-tempo riffing and soaring clean vocals into this mix creates the basic formula for "Buried In Oblivion." What consistently amazes me about the disc is that, despite this relatively formulaic approach to songwriting, there is enough going on in every song to set it apart from the last and create a truly memorable album. Where many metal albums consist of a set of incredibly competent songs linked by a few great ones, this record has no lull or weak point. One can't help but be sucked into the world that Into Eternity creates musically: a world where all metal's influences, forms and bastard children share an equal space. My personal favorite moment comes early on in the song "Embraced By Desolation" as Tim Roth's layered harmonies blast out sans music, before the guitars and rhythm section return to bring the track to a close. It's honestly one of those moments that gives me goosebumps every time I listen, something that rarely happens, especially on metal records. The Pantera-esque riffing and harsh delivery of "3 Dimensional Aperture" somehow blends perfectly into the swooping anthemic chorus. There is never even a moment when the juxtaposition of styles can be questioned. It's honestly amazing that I can't think of another band that has done anything this entirely ambitious with traditional metal forms in years. On the band's previous effort "Dead Or Dreaming," the groundwork was laid for Into Eternity's sound, but the execution just wasn't quite there. On "Buried In Oblivion," everything just clicks into place. I started to list other notable tracks, but it was pretty much the rest of the songs on the disc, so there wasn't a point. Bottom Line: I could go on forever talking about how much I love each track, but by this point your interest is probably as piqued as it's gonna get. The guitar work is awesome. The vocals, both clean and otherwise are remarkable and the drumming and bass keep the low end rocking. The production is sharp as hell. The lyrics are pretty damn good too. My only complaint was the album's art, which I've covered already. The band's press release has this to say: "Buried In Oblivion is the 2004 album to remember, the one that will make your Top 5 list, the CD that amazed you from the moment you placed it in the tray." They're not lying.