In Flames "Come Clarity" CDPosted on Monday, March 6th, 2006 @ 12:17pm » permalink
I'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:
Don't be an ass, if you like it, buy it: