In Flames - Come Clarity
Ferret Records
Melodic Death Metal
13 songs ()
Release year: 2006
In Flames, Ferret Records
Reviewed by Jason
Album of the month

As a twist to the standard review format, I’ve decided to include some creative fictional writing as to what may have been the lead up to In Flames’s new album Come Clarity:

The director yells “That’s a wrap!” on the set for the In Flames’s video Touch of Red, and in the scorching California heat Bjorn Gelotte thumbs the kill switch of the chopper he was lent for the making of the video. Stepping off the bike, he spots Anders Friden bopping away to a tune on his i-pod amidst a crowd of camera crew busily dismantling recording equipment. While standing beside the bike whose radiator already began crick-cracking from cooling, he decides to confront Anders with something that had been on his mind for a while. He walks towards Anders simultaneously dodging the busy camera crew and hollers “Hey Anders…Aaanders….ANDERS!!”

Startled, Anders turns to Bjorn and removes his earphones, “Oh damn! Sorry man, just listening to some tunes. Hey, have you tried those fucking salmon wraps over there?! Holy shit they’re awesome!”

“Ya they were pretty good, look Anders…”

“Christ! Remember when we recorded the video for Only For The Weak!? All we got were some lousy sandwiches and beer. Heck, remember when we recorded the video for Pinball Map! Daniel was sitting on a fucking tree drumming on a branch and I was spinning like a moron on some damn rocks looking like a retarded Jesus. Now look! You’re driving awesome motorcycles and… well… Jesper is getting free tattoos”

“Well, Anders, that’s what I wanted to ask you. Don’t you think this is a little much? I mean, this may be awesome and all, but we’re still a Metal band, and… this feels like we’re on the set of a rap video”.

Anders removes his sun glasses un-shielding his perplexed look, “What do you mean?” he says.

“I mean I feel like we’re maybe straying a little. When we recorded Lunar Strain the idea of touring outside Sweden blew our minds, and now look, we’re in L.A recording videos with gorgeous women and touring the world over and over.”

“Dude, I think you’ve inhaled too much exhaust from that motorcycle you’ve been riding all afternoon. C’mon, let’s go get more of that salmon befo…”

Bjorn interrupts, “ No, no…listen, I’m trying to say that the success is awesome and all… but I miss writing solos, and on Soundtrack we decided to keep it more simple. You laugh about Daniel drumming on a tree, but our last album sounded like he was drumming on a tin can. All I’m saying, Anders, is that we may have put something aside in our music that we shouldn’t have… I kind of miss writing nice solos and, shit, I bet Jesper misses them even more than I do.”

Though listening attentively, Anders scratches a nagging itch between his dreadlocks and stares at his feet, and says, “Ya… I sort of know where you’re getting at.”

“I remember reading reviews about other bands that said 'Oh this acoustic guitar sounds like In Flames' and 'Oh this melody is such an In Flames ripoff', and now I go and read a review for Soundtrack to Your Escape, and some cocksuckers on this website called have the nerve to compare us to St-Anger. Like what the fuck is that!? I’m not saying we should do another Jester Race or Colony or anything like that… I just think we should remember the old days, the At The Gates we used to rock out to, and the crusty sandwiches we ate on the set for Only For the Weak that made us write good music when we decide to record our next one”.

Anders lifts his head and stares into the distance over Bjorn’s shoulders. “Yeah,” he says, and then looks at him in the eyes, “you have a good point, a very good one in fact. Should we get Peter and tell him about this?”

Bjorn laughs and says “No, I think he’s still lathering the Hummer with the chicks… let him finish first.”

O.K, chances are this isn’t the way the Come Clarity was spawned, but based on the sound of the new album it’s a possibility that entertains my mind.

I predict right now that people will hold extreme sentiments towards this album. The extreme sentiments will be shared by three separate groups of individuals, the first being those who believe that In Flames has once again released a horrid album that bears virtually no semblance to their previous masterpieces, the second being those who truly enjoyed the last two efforts and think this is an awesome follow-up, and the third being those who believe In Flames have risen from the ashes with an album that, although is very different from their old material, is still very special in its own way. I happen to fall into the third category of individuals.

I should point out that In Flames is one of the few bands I never get tired listening to no matter what. I’ve been listening to The Jester Race, Whoracle and Colony every time I go to the gym for roughly three years now and would likely be a millionaire if I was given a dime for every time I’ve listened to Clayman. Another thing I should also point out is that when Reroute to Remain was released I was very disappointed with all the tracks except Trigger, and well don’t get me started on Soundtrack to Your Escape. These albums, in my mind, traded in their beautiful and trademark sound that people held as masterpieces for drier melodies, monotonous chugging guitars, and vocals that when sung clearly sounded prepubescent. If one was to ignore In Flames’s previous albums and influence on the metal community, then I’d say that these albums were not all too horrible, but if one keeps their past in mind, In Flames simply failed to meet the standards of musical quality they managed to set time and time again. So what’s so different with Come Clarity that makes me say they’ve risen from the ashes? The answer is simple, everything.

The solos, the melody, the heaviness, the technical musicianship and the overall feeling that was believed to be lost is once again back into the music. If one thinks that this statement suggests that Come Clarity is a return to anything pre-Clayman sound-wise, you’re wrong. What this statement does suggest is that In Flames has managed to progress with time, learn from their mistakes, and write an album that even though is COMPLETELY different from their old material, stays true to their roots in the sense that it is powerful, eclectic, heavy as hell, and just downright Metal. Anders’s screams on this album are more intense than ever and his clear sung vocals, though seldom apparent, sound quite decent. Daniel Svensson has traded in his Pepsi Cola snare drum for a normal one and has again begun pummeling the other skins on his drum set which on the two previous releases received less attention. The string section of the band are the ones that are most worthy of attention as they must have realized that songs filled with downtuned chugging that are equally accompanied by synths rather than rippin’ riffs and solos don’t sound nearly as good as the latter. Every track on this album including the short female sung vocals by pop star Lisa Miskovsky on Dead End and the slow semi-acoustic title track Come Clarity are amazing tunes, making this another In Flames’s albums that lacks fillers.

One of the reasons why I argue that In Flames have come to their senses is simply because of the way the album kicks off. The album begins with Take This Life which is a pummeling track that explodes with speed and just screams At The Gates in it’s style. It may not sound anything like Coerced Coexistence, but it’s still fast in tempo, has several beat change-ups, is aggressive, and is laden with catchy riffs and melodies. It’s from the beginning that one will see quite the change in In Flames’s music, but the surprises definitely don’t end there. Four tracks through the disc I was quite shocked to hear female vocals on the tune Dead End for the first time since Lunar Strain. At first listen, I really wasn’t sure if I would be able to digest this new element and told myself “Oh great, here we go, Evanescence crap round no.234523”, but after a few listens I realized Miskovsky’s vocals flow well with the tune since they’re quite brief and serve more to add color to the tune than anything else. I believe that if In Flames added more quirky elements such as female vocals to the album the effect would have been negative, but seen as these elements are only occasional throughout the disc, the result is one that definitely improves the quality and originality.

I could write pages and pages on each of the tracks on this album since all of them have distinct features worthy of mention, but for the sake of brevity I will have to refrain. The remaining tracks which should be mentioned in my opinion are Vaccum, Pacing Death’s Trail, and Crawl Through Knives. Vacuum is a track similar to Take This Life because of its speed and aggression, but roughly 2 ½ minutes through the tune the band delivers a fairly short but extremely catchy solo interlude that reminds me of something you’d hear off on an older In Flames album. Vacuum along with Pacing Death’s Trail are my favorite tracks on Come ClarityPacing Deaths Trail is another heavy track but differs to most others as it features an amazingly catchy chorus which is accentuated by melodious guitar work that one can easily point out as belonging to In Flames. While Anders delivers an excellent vocal performance throughout the album, it is on the track Crawl Through Knives that he is at his best. While the tune may be slower in tempo and less aggressive than the others, Anders still manages rip some of the most impressive screams I’ve ever heard. Shortly after singing the clear-sung chorus, Anders utterly brutalizes with drawn-out high pitch screams that make vocal performances on older albums pale in comparison.

Like I said several times, Come Clarity differs quite drastically from the older classics, but is also quite different when compared to the likes of Reroute to Remain and Soundtrack to Your Escape. The reason I think so highly of this album is because In Flames has done what every true and successful band and musician has done - and that is change and progress. People fall in love with an album or two and expect a musicians to make something in the same vein of those discs they hold so dear year after year, and when the band decides to explore new ground what they get met with most of the time is castigation from their so-called devoted fans. While sounds may change, what matters most is that a band stays to true what they are, and though In Flames jeopardized their Melodic Death Metal title on Soundtrack To Your Escape they certainly made up for it on Come Clarity by exploring new boundaries and still staying Metal at heart.

Killing Songs :
Take This Life, Dead End, Vaccum , Pacing Death's Trail, Crawl Through Knives, Versus Terminus, Our Infinite Struggle, Vanishing Light
Jason quoted 95 / 100
Dee quoted 50 / 100
Other albums by In Flames that we have reviewed:
In Flames - Sounds Of A Playground Fading reviewed by Khelek and quoted 55 / 100
In Flames - A Sense Of Purpose reviewed by Chris and quoted 86 / 100
In Flames - Colony reviewed by Dylan and quoted 95 / 100
In Flames - The Jester Race reviewed by Adam and quoted CLASSIC
In Flames - Used And Abused: In Live We Trust DVD reviewed by Ben and quoted no quote
To see all 13 reviews click here
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