Pushing boundaries, exploring new avenues and kicking down doors. 10/10
On March 1st, In Flames will release their thirteenth studio album, “I, The Mask”…… unlucky for some?
Not for In Flames.
Since the release of “Come Clarity”, In Flames have seen their style evolve from their brutal melodic death metal roots, to a more accessible, dare I say it, more “main stream” sound. With each new In Flames album comes a new evolution in feel and songwriting maturity. “I, The Mask” is no exception, delivering a cleaner, more crisp vocal sound, prior to which, vocalist Anders Fridén had taken vocal lessons. “I, The Mask” demonstrates how versatile In Flames have now become, heavy, brutal riffs with catchy, wailing, harmonious vocal lines. What’s not to love?
Opening track “Voices” hits like a freight train. A brutal, chugging riff which is quickly complimented by the tortured screams of Anders. An excellent opening that sets the tone of the album which lays to rest any misconception that In Flames have gone soft in their old age! Title track “I, The Mask” has the same impact. Relentless double bass drumming from Tanner Wayne compliment the heavy riffs and screaming, wailing vocals of Anders. An obvious, catchy single choice.
“Follow Me” shows the diversity of In Flames and highlights their songwriting excellence. Acoustic guitar interlaced with precision drumming, heavy riffs and catchy vocal lines demonstrate how far this band has come. Moving on to one of the more mainstream tracks, “(This Is Our) House”. Opens with chanting, violent lyrics and a recurring, catchy chorus. You will be hooked first time round. I think it’s a fair assumption that this track will be included in their upcoming tour.
The album concludes with “Stay With Me” a downbeat acoustic symphony that highlights Anders new vocal ability and shows that they could probably write a ballad… if they really wanted too!
Production on “I, The Mask” is stunningly good. Some of the best I’ve heard in a long time, the more I listen, the better and fuller it seems to sound. I can’t understand the metal “purists” who ridiculed In Flames going down a more mainstream route. Yeah, it’s not traditional “Death Metal”, and maybe they sold out, so what? Who can blame them? But hey, one thing you can’t say about In Flames is that they regurgitate the same old album over and over again.
For me, these guys are at the forefront of metal, pushing boundaries, exploring new avenues and kicking down doors. Long may it continue. 10/10
“I, The Mask” track listing;
- ‘I, The Mask’
- ‘Call My Name’
- ‘I Am Above’
- ‘Follow Me’
- ‘(This is Our) House’
- ‘We Will Remember’
- ‘In This Life’
- ‘Deep Inside’
- ‘All The Pain’
- ‘Stay With Me’