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In Flames "Come Clarity" CD

Posted on Monday, March 6th, 2006 @ 12:17pm » permalink

In Flames - Come ClarityI'm short on both time and motivation today, so I'm gonna keep it relatively quick since this is an easy one. Not unlike the Bleeding Through disc I touched on a couple of weeks ago (except far better), this is another example of inexplicable levels of hype being generated seemingly out of nowhere. I was surprised enough when the kings of melodic Swedish "death metal" (Yeah, I know, it's really not "death metal" at this point, is it?), In Flames, signed to Ferret Music, but holy shit… "Come Clarity" seems to be selling like hotcakes, and almost every review I've read about the thing makes it seem like some kind of astonishingly creative effort. Well, not to burst anyone's bubble, but come on, let's be realistic: We're talking about In Flames. What's the big deal, you know? At this point you pretty much know what to expect from the band, and that's what they deliver. This is an album offering 13 tracks in nearly 50 minutes that are chock full of patented dual guitar harmonies and peppy songwriting with the band's more recent mix of sneering screams and singing. It's not as "out there" as "Reroute to Remain" in terms of (at times aimlessly) branching out from the foundation of their earlier classics, and it's a little speedier and more diverse than "Soundtrack to Your Escape". But that's about it, to tell you the truth. It's nothing particularly new.

But hey, I don't want to discredit In Flames at all, I just don't understand the hype factor. This is a very solid record and I'd drop $10 on it without a doubt. I stand by pretty much everything the band has ever done ("Clayman" is the only record I never bought), and 1997's "Whoracle" was a crucially important release that, in my opinion, is the absolute benchmark for melodic Swedish death metal. I don't think In Flames will ever top that record (nor will anyone else for that matter), but I'm a huge fan of theirs and will always follow their efforts. For the band to still be going strong after all these years is quite a feat, and I guess I'd probably say that "Come Clarity" falls sort of in between "Reroute to Remain" and "Soundtrack to Your Escape": Taking the songwriting experiments of the former and applying the more direct "throwback" focus of the latter to the end result, thus making for a more cohesive and streamlined album than "Reroute…" that's not as one-sided as "Soundtrack…" (though for my money the best songs on "Soundtrack…" are a smidge catchier and more energetic than the best songs herein).

So, you know, ignoring the hype, when it all comes down to it there are two kinds of In Flames fans: The ones who think "The Jester Race" (or something prior) was their best work and gave up on 'em years ago, or those who are pretty much always going to be there. Throw me into the latter category. It's nothing fancy, but it's a good record and I enjoy it:

In Flames "Take This Life"
In Flames "Come Clarity"

Don't be an ass, if you like it, buy it:

@ Ferret Music
@ Very Distribution

15 Comments...

  1. Anonymous says:

    "I know this because I actually downloaded the new record by one of my absolute favorite bands.."

    katatonia?

    i guess the new in flames isn't too bad, but right now i just can't stand anything even remotely melodic.

  2. xbenx says:

    couldn't have put it better myself ;)

  3. Samir says:

    It seems like In Flames was taking notes on all the other bands that are currently ripping them off. I found the album to be an amusing cycle.

  4. Frank says:

    Must be the Katatonia. Damn. I guess I'll just have to wait.

  5. Anonymous says:

    What is this incredible band you rave about for 6 paragraphs?

  6. AVERSIONLINE says:

    The above guesses have it. And if for some reason you don't agree, don't argue, you're WRONG! Ha, ha…

  7. Howard says:

    Couldn't agree with you more, Andrew. I do download cds to preview new stuff and then delete the files once I've decided whether or not to purchase cds [I only keep mp3s for out of print stuff or downloads sanctioned by the artist(s).] I had the same agonizing experiences with both the new Katatonia set (which is also one of my favorite bands ever) as well as with the new Decapitated cd that I wanted to check out before purchasing, and needless to say I was enraged with the absurd voiceovers that basically obliterate my capacity to enjoy the music. While I will buy the new Katatonia regardless, This voiceover crap makes it harder for me to make decisions on new albums when all the labels put out there is one measly sample. It's absurd enough that many labels are asking $15 for a 30-40 minute cd, but it's really insulting when they won't even give listeners a chance to actually check out the cd before investing one's hard earned cash on something they may or may not like. While there are a lot of reasons why people download shit over purchasing, the rising price factor I think plays a huge role in this, and if one could reasonably get new releases for $10-12 on average, my sense is that the problem would be less endemic and we wouldn't need all this voiceover bullshit.

    BTW, thanks for the honest review of the new In Flames. I've been on the fence about this one and didn't want to buy into the hype about a "return to form", since I was disappointed with "Soundtrack…" and had mixed thoughts about "Reroute… " Sounds like this may be worth investigating further.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Fuck yeah! Great rant…

    I wasn't too hot on the singing vocals on the new In Flames album, reminded me too much of Korn's singer. But the music sounded better than I expected.

  9. Adam says:

    Howard, where are you buying your CDs? Most of the CDs that you can get through The End are around $10 to $12. But $15 really isn't too much to ask for when you consider all the costs for studio time, production, mastering, design, printing, advertising, and shipping that labels and/or bands have to pay for. Plus, there's probably other costs that I don't know about. And if the cost of CDs is rising (something that I haven't noticed) it could be due to an increase in rates for any one of those services and not just the labels' greed.

    By the way, good rant, Andrew. I heard that Katatonia sample and was so annoyed by the voice over, I couldn't listen to it again. I felt unimpressed by the song and now I'm thinking it must be because of that.

  10. Carlzilla says:

    I got to the part where he started singing…and I practically choked on my food. A simple ouch just doesn't suffice.

  11. AVERSIONLINE says:

    Adam, watch the video for the new Katatonia track to hear it uninterrupted. It comes off almost like a totally different song to me in complete form. I love it, too.

  12. Bryan says:

    The new In Flames are horrible, besides 'Dead End.'

    For now I guess I'll stick with the former In Flames vocalist, who jumped ships to the much better (now) Dark Tranqulity.

  13. Adam says:

    Thanks for the tip, Andrew. That song kicks ass and the video is pretty cool too, but I wish they would've shown more of the girl…hahaha.

  14. Regan says:

    jeez i didnt think itd sound this good

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