CD Review of Come Clarity by In Flames
Label
Ferret Records
In Flames: Come Clarity

Reviewed by Jeff Giles

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W
ith all of the flash-in-the-pan bands that come and go in the blink of an eye these days, In Flames represent a dying breed. These guys have been around for over a decade now and virtually invented their own breed of melodic death metal. 1997’s Whoracle really cemented their place as the force to be reckoned with in the genre. Since the turn of the century, however, the band has made attempts to be more accessible to American metal fans with releases such as Reroute to Remain and Soundtrack to Your Escape. While certainly still solid efforts, questions began to arise regarding the direction In Flames was heading. The dreaded “sellout” tag was even applied by some disgruntled fans.

Those fans have nothing to worry about with Come Clarity, the band’s latest studio release. The signature blistering riffs and soaring, borderline beautiful, choruses are on full display as one would expect, but In Flames actually manages to mix things up and continue to evolve – all without alienating their core following. This is nearly impossible to do. Just ask Korn.

Come Clarity kicks off with the single “Take This Life,” far from the best song on the album, but nevertheless catchy enough to make it a logical choice for radio play. The chorus almost sounds like it could be played without a hitch at a disco, but the verse riffs are tight and drummer Daniel Svensson is the thread holding it all together. His work on this album is its most impressive attribute. Vocalist Anders Friden is a raging force of a singer, ranging from growls and screams that would have a wild tiger ducking for cover to a delicate, engaging singing voice. Guitarists Bjorn Gelotte and Jesper Stromblad have a fantastic interplay and still deliver the increasingly rare guitar solo.

The tone has been set and the band cruises through familiar territory throughout the record, but some surprises are in store. The first, and most interesting, is the inclusion of Swedish pop star Lisa Miskovsky on “Dead End.” She handles all of the verses and her angelic voice adds an undeniable uniqueness to the track. The title track sports a nicely layered acoustic guitar melody with a big-time chorus and breakdown. This is a great mid-album tone change. Tracks such as “Scream,” “Vacuum,” “Crawl through Knives,” and “Versus Terminus” more than adequately deliver the kind of ferocity old school fans expect from In Flames.

Lyrically, Friden, Gelotte and Stromblad have written some dark and angry pieces. “Dead End” features a line that seems especially haunting considering the times in which we live: “What will it take for us to realize / The more we provoke / Winter will come twice.” The band has matured lyrically, particularly on the title track, where Friden reflects “rushing through 30 / Getting older every day by two / Drawing pictures of innocent times / Could you add color inside these lines?”

Come Clarity should play well to In Flames fans across the board, but more so to those who prefer the material on Reroute to Remain and Soundtrack to Your Escape. Make no mistake about it, In Flames can still bring down the house and continue to be an influential and important band in the metal realm. Come Clarity has literally done just as the title suggests regarding the direction of the band, all the while being a rousing success.

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