There are those who follow, and there are those who blaze the trails. *In Flames *are quite definitely the latter and they have returned with a stunning new album in Come Clarity. While the past few years have seen the American metalcore movement flourish, the common sound there of heavy duelling guitars and hardcore vocals, often with a synth backup, can largely be traced back to these fierce Swedes. This led to the sextet being a marginal, cult force in the US but over in Europe they know where the good shit is. They always found it with In Flames.
After the slower, more melodic Reroute To Remain _and _Soundtrack To Your Headrush, this record is, by and large, a return to their thrashier roots. The opening track ‘Take This Life’ is a masterclass in energetic metal with powerful kick drums used frequently but strategically to lay foundations for the equally rapid guitar play. The precise riffing of old has been abandoned now in exchange for the ability to play these songs live as truly as possible, without any alterations to the arrangement. Experience has led to a simplifying of some song structures. Fear not though; the kickass choruses are still right there and the guitars are still in constant, bludgeoning combat.
While Anders Friden’s harsh, rasping diatribes are still as exemplary as ever, his clean vocals have improved immeasurably as exhibited on ‘Crawling Through Knives’ _where the frontman blends with melodic and death vocals perfectly. However, possibly the best example of melody playing a massive part in the In Flames sound is the brutally driving _‘Dead End’ containing honeydew-sweet guest vocals from singer/songwriter Lisa Miskovsky. This is a new facet to the sound of a band that have constantly tried to further both themselves and their genre.
After a couple of below-par, more commercial albums that appeared watered down to appeal to the general public, _Come Clarity _will surely reclaim In Flames’ mantle as one of the leading metal acts of our time.
8Raziq Rauf's Score