Monday, August 21, 2006

In Flames - Come Clarity

If you enjoy Shadows Fall, Lamb of God, Killswitch Engaged, and HATED Soundtrack to Your Escape, you'll love:

In Flames - Come Clarity

Is there anything close to a band returning to their old form? When bands change their sound, it's incredibly rare that they ever return to anything close to what they were once before, save they release an album so god awful they realize they need to go back. Helloween's album Chameleon comes to mind. But this is the closet thing we're getting to "classic" In Flames; a return, somewhat, of the guitar harmonies, wonderfully brutal vocal performances, and songwriting of the caliber that was lacking so much on Soundtrack to Your Escape.

The album opens up on a relatively harsh note; literally. The distorted guitars combined with the drums open up the album "Take this Life" with a feeling of getting clobbered in the head repeatedly! But, god dammit, it works out to be a damn good opening! That takes your life and takes you a sort of "outer-body experience" that leaves you feeling like you have just gone to heaven (or hell, your pick). The dual-guitar harmonies begin to swell and the ferocity returns with every verse, returning to a nirvana-like (not that Nirvana!) state with every chorus. "Leeches" is a combination of old-In Flames, new-In Flames, and some industrial elements. As odd as that may seems, that's exactly what it is, and it works so well!

"Leeches" is a combination of old-In Flames, new-In Flames, and some industrial elements. As odd as that may seems, that's exactly what it is, and it works so well! "Dead End" is a beautiful song! I am, quite frankly, shocked that the result came out so great; a female Swedish pop-singer, guitar solos, dual-guitar harmonies, and death-metal vocals and guitar work. Seriously, In Flames makes this work!

Tracks like "Scream", "Vacuum", and "Versus Terminus" all hail a return to the more thrash/death metal In Flames with the new stuff mixed in for flavor. Then you have the more melodic songs like "Pacing Death's Trail" and "Crawl Through Knives". They sound more like left-overs from Soundtrack, but with the same knowledge the band had back on Clayman.

As odd as it is, my friend has forced me to listen to Top 40 radio and Breaking Benjamin. Most metalheads don't give two shits about them, myself included. So imagine my complete and utter shock when I heard In Flames on the radio. The opening non-distorted guitar part, the overall melodic structure. It was a song so melodic and commercial, I found it incredibly odd and catchy. So imagine my complete and utter surprise when I heard "The Diary of Jane" by Breaking Benjamin. It is the same exact song, save a few technical flairs here and there, a lack of a guitar solo, and the words being changed. But a comparison of the two songs shows you that Breaking Benjamin stole the song by In Flames. That song is the title-track, "Come Clarity".

There is a lot of praise that this album deserves. First and foremost, like I said, it's a close return to form. It is, in other words, the result of old and new In Flames combined; a band that can write some brutal tracks, melodic hooks, guitar solos, and some nice lyrics. Save the incredibly-inane album closer, "Your Bedtime Story is Scaring Everyone", this actually is a great album on a whole. Admitedly, I'm a little hesitant to give even more praise to this album right now because it has the stigma of being so close to after Soundtrack and the album is a bit of a modern-day pop-metal offering than others by this band and of metal in general. I only say pop-metal simply because it actually is popular with modern metal fans, namely kids 13-21. Not that's a bad thing, but... well, fuck, I feel old!

This album deserves a 4.1 out of 5, and a gold star for effort!


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