Archive for In Flames

In Flames – I, The Mask

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , on 24th February 2019 by Pieni

In Flames
“I, The Mask”
Metal
Released: 1st March 2019
Via Nuclear Blast Records

inflamesithemask

It’s been a while since I’ve stopped considering In Flames “melodic death metal” (even if I labelled them as such when I reviewed “Battles”, after going with just “melodic metal” on the previous one, “Siren Charms”). The truth is that they’ve developed such a characteristic sound that one would either come up with a genre described in a whole sentence or just fit them in one that pretty much covers it all. Let’s go with “metal” then (which, whoever runs their Facebook page, seems also okay with).

I believe I’ve said this several times – not just regarding In Flames – but I don’t see toning down the aggression as a bad thing; in this case, losing the “death” angle. All I care about is listening to quality music, whatever its nature, and “I, The Mask” is full of that.

Out of the three songs they’ve chosen to promote the album with, the title-track was the one which least impressed me. Curiously enough, one of the fastest tracks. It’s not a bad song, don’t get me wrong. It’s just too straight-forward in the middle of the richness that the rest of the album turned out to be. But then again, come to think of it, maybe that’s precisely its strength. “Burn” is up there as well, but with a less catchy chorus.

“(This Is Our) House” is sort of anthemic, with all that talk of standing your ground and the teen choir’s they’d already used on “The End”. At first I thought a spunkier chorus would sound better, but after hearing it a few times, this one is just right. In fact, this album needs a couple of rounds to grow on you as a whole.

“I Am Above” and the ballad “Stay With Me” are my favorite, as they’ve got that something-I-can’t-put-my-finger-on that just enthralls me. Perhaps the attitude of the first and the depth of the second, but I believe is much more than that, as it usually is when a song hits you hard.

There’s another ballad in the form of “Follow Me”, where you’ll certainly hear an echo of “Come Clarity”, but only on a musical level – the message in it bears a sense of hope that their old classic misses. And even though I can’t remember a title to compare – in a good sense – “Voices” with, you’ll see that the opening track is very much an In Flames song. Not so much with “Deep Inside”, the Arabian hints catching me somewhat off guard, but it worked out in the end. The only song I skip when it comes up is “In This Life”. I’m sure it will be someone’s favorite, but for me, it’s annoying as hell.

When I’ve first listened to this album – their 13th – I’ve automatically given it a “4”. Then, as aforementioned, it started growing on me and I thought a “4,5” would be more accurate. Now that I’ve put into words what I think about it… hell, it deserves a “5”!

5/5

Renata “Pieni” Lino

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In Flames – Battles

Posted in Metal with tags , , , , , on 10th November 2016 by Pieni

In Flames
“Battles”
Melodic death metal
Released: 11th November 2016
Via Nuclear Blast

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When “Siren Charms” was released a couple of years ago, I complained about “its lack of ability to embrace my senses and leave a positive remark” (review here). Well I’m happy to say that ability has returned. Not that “Battles” is a masterpiece, but it features some memorable tweaks, in both ear-worm and impressive meanings of the word.

I remember a lot of people complaining when Anders Fridén gave up on growling. I wasn’t one of them not only because I appreciate Fridén’s current tone but also because I don’t think that measures a band’s level of heaviness – listen to all those pop-metal acts with a growler and you’ll know what I mean. Plus, the desperate inflection his voice carries is just as brutal; the opener “Drained” will prove me right.

Still on a vocal analysis, but the teen choir’s in “The End” and the ballad “Here Until Forever”. I’m a sucker for gang backing vocals, but the cheer of this 2.0 version of it has been growing on me; it’s just as catchy and it will have a hell of an effect live, as I doubt anyone will be able not to sing along. That and the march-wise clapping hands in “The Truth”.

There’s a loud guitar work in here as well, but that has never been an issue for In Flames, so it’s really no surprise. Still I’d like to mention “Underneath My Skin” and the 2-minute dark, almost experimental instrumental piece featured in “Wallflower”. Oh, and the seduction of “In My Room” – no sexual pun intended. It just gives away this enthralling vibe.

So again, no, this isn’t In Flames best work, but it definitely has its moments – lots of them.

4/5

Renata “Pieni” Lino

In Flames – Siren Charms

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , on 4th September 2014 by Pieni

In Flames
“Siren Charms”
Melodic Metal
To be released on 5th September 2014
Via Epic Records

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A smile lit up on my face when I heard that In Flames would release a new album. That smile still glowed when the first single “Rusted Nail” was available. Not a spectacular track but good enough – the guitar licks in the intro flow pretty easily through your ears; Fridén’s vocal tone – mainly clean but harsher here and there and backed by occasional screams – sounds quite pleasant; an exquisite bridge preceding the first chorus, and the catchy melody of the latter…  There’s something standard in the riffing, though, hence the “not a spectacular track”.

Then the aforementioned smile got wider with the release of “Through Oblivion”, a melancholic song, almost depressive, that stirred something in the darkest side of me.

But then I listened to the whole album and the smile faded, almost completely. We already knew the “melodic” was growing stronger and the “death” was dimming, so it isn’t a big surprise that “Everything’s Gone” is the only true heavy song in “Siren Charms”. What disappoints me is that it’s not a very good song. The heaviness of “When The World Explodes” is better, but the softer parts are weak, not because they’re, well, soft and slow, but because they don’t seem to have any spirit in them. This one features soprano Emilia Feldt, who has a beautiful voice but doesn’t help this track at all. Weren’t sirens supposed to have an enthralling vivid chant? Feldt uses a very languid tone here.

Also “Paralyzed” and “Dead Eyes” make justice to their titles, being quite dull tracks. “With Eyes Wide Open” is a nice ballad, though, and “Filtered Truth” has a rock-ish vibe, a lively sound that’s refreshing to hear in the end.

The production is amazing, but something’s missing in “the whole musical picture”. And it’s not the more melodic approach that bothers me. It’s its lack of ability to embrace my senses and leave a positive remark.

3 / 5

By Renata “Pieni” Lino

Burial Vault – Incendium

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , on 27th April 2013 by izaforestspirit

Burial Vault
Incendium
Released 24th May
Melodic Death Metal
Released via Apostasy Records

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Incendium is the second album from the German melodic death metal band Burial Vault. It is the follow up to last year’s debut release ‘Ekpyrosis (Periodic Destruction)’. This album was inspired by Ray Bradbury’s famous book ‘Fahrenheit 451’.

Straight from the off it’s clear that Incendium is true to its namesake. The intro to the opening track The Stench Of Burning Thoughts features what sounds like the striking of a match followed by the sounds of a fire burning. The music itself is fairly standard melodic death metal complete with a mixture of growls, semi-shouts and mid-paced guitar riffs. Then there are thrashy, more melodic guitar patterns which remind me a little of old In Flames with hints of At The Gates. The short instrumental Soil & Green is a good example of this.

Speaking of the guitar styles, these guys like to use the occasional stop-start patterns on tracks such as Peculiar and The Nightly Horror. The aforementioned Peculiar takes a turn for the worse half-way through the track as the vocals suddenly shift from growling to clear. Luckily this change is only temporary. The album also has a few surprises such as the sample-infused, atmospheric Prelude To Peripety sandwiched between two death metal tracks. The rest of the album follows the tried and tested formula of melodic death metal. Other noteworthy tracks include Catharsis which features some thrash metal style guitar riffage giving the song a somewhat catchy feel, and closing song Black Into White which features some catchy guitar solos combined with some acoustic guitar melodies towards the end.

Overall it’s fairly evident that Burial Vault have been influenced by melo-death acts such as In Flames and At The Gates. Having said that, Burial Vault are definitely not a clone of these two bands thanks to the acoustic and atmospheric elements in their music. I’m just not convinced that there’s enough variety here to set this album apart from other melodic-death metal releases out there.

3.5/5

Iza Raittila