3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Incredible new album from an incredible band,
This review is from: Come Clarity: +DVD (Audio CD)
Thank the gods of metal for In Flames. In a stagnating metal scene with mediocre power metal bands mushrooming endlessly, stuck in their Helloween rut and aping bands they grew up listening to, there have still thankfully been at least a few bands that have emerged and carved their own unique, original and solid niche.
In Flames are a more recent forefront to the long line of quality metal coming out of Sweden, following the likes of Yngwie Malmsteen and Evergrey. "Quality" is key here - In Flames are incredible in their technical proficiency, like many of their Swedish brethren, masters of their craft - not only in writing and playing, but producing the music as well. The two guitarists Jesper Strömblad and Björn Gelotte are as at home with massive crunching riffs as they are with harmonious melodic interplay, the drummer Daniel Svensson amazes as much with colossal power and speed as he does in the quieter moments requiring more deft and subtlety, while bass player Peter Iwers is as dependable as a rock, chugging out the rhythm and perfectly complementing the band as a whole.
The vocals have become the all-important facet, though, the final puzzle-piece to make all the music work together, because, let's face it - early In Flames vocals weren't very good. With a struggling vocalist the power of the effect as a whole was diminished from how good it could have been, but the problem turned around c.1995 with new front man Anders Fridén - there was not only instant improvement, but In Flames took off to a totally new universe.
Fridén complements the music in every aspect - he's been a total revelation, igniting the In Flames revolution and improving with every album release. He is also amazing live - showing great energy and consistency. There have never been many vocalists with the sheer range and ability to produce incredible explosive ferocity, while also being able to switch effortlessly to melodic singing. Eric Adams (Manowar) springs to mind, and metal god Rob Halford (Judas Priest) - though from different genres, of course.
The current In Flames band line-up has gelled together over several years now, and this latest release "Come Clarity" is a flagship testament to their advanced skills as song-writers, musicians and producers. I can only describe the In Flames style as "extreme progressive melodic metal". No incomprehenisible neanderthalic death metal ramblings here - only pure, ferocious heavy metal with extreme vocals, switching to colossal anthemic melodies, verging on the beautiful... The effect and impact of an In Flames song as a whole is quite breathtaking: spanning one end of the metal spectrum to the other, with many shifts, progressive elements and changes from start to finish. The lyrics are thought-provoking and meaningful, giving the songs a strong purpose, even morals, sometimes verging on the political.
In the past, the band really gave something back to the fans with their 2DVD+2CD collection "In Flames - Used and Abused", which also had the best DVD packaging I've seen from any band, and they have done no less with this new album. The special edition version comes with a DVD that contains, incredibly, a video recording of the entire "Come Clarity" album - every song bar the last - being played by the band in the studio. This is a great addition, surprising and insightful as well, and will be much-welcomed and cherished by the fans.
"Come Clarity" is a clear progression from the last two albums, thankfully in similar vein to "Reroute to Remain". With this new release, and anthemic title-track "Come Clarity" (the highlight for me), the In Flames inferno has risen even higher - it doesn't get much better than this. A big thanks to the band. Long may In Flames reign.