Over the past 10 years Swedish melodic death metal band In Flames have regularly been roasted for deviating from their roots and creating more standard alternative metal. Let’s see if this trend is continued on “I, The Mask” (their latest album).
The album opens with a strong ‘Voices’ and I hear the melodic metal I would expect. I think everything is right with this track.
Title track ‘I, The Mask’ continues this way. Fast and heavy, vocals only sung in the chorus (with keyboards), the verses screamed. Bridge, solo, all good.
‘Call My Name’ is for me the best track. It’s complete, all I want from melodic metal (and I hear a definitive Dream Theatre influence).
‘I Am Above’ shows a more mainstream chorus but it’s surrounded by biting verses and a nice guitar solo.
In ‘Follow Me’ we land in ballad country, including the obligatory acoustic guitar and keyboard tapestry. Double time bass drum on the chorus does not change that fact.
On ‘(This is Our) House’ I hear what the critics were on about. A poppy chorus, no direction of style. Hmmm nuff said.
Down tuned ‘We will Remember’ is in my opinion a filler around an in itself interesting guitar riff. But so much more could have been done.
‘In This Life’ is also one of those generic metal songs. What happened after those few first songs with the band? And what to do with a song when you don’t know anymore? You modulate..
‘Burn’. Ahhhhh there we are, back on track. Fast, screaming over a constantly running guitar line.
‘Deep Inside’ could have been a great song if they had worked it out a bit better. The poppy chorus of the song kinda destroys it.
‘All The Pain’ consists of two power ballads that were glued together with Swedish metal.
Last song ‘Stay With Me’ is the return to full ballad mode. Yes, the acoustic guitar is back as well. Not sure what this song is adding to this In Flames album?
All in all, In Flames partially returns to their roots. I understand where the criticism comes from but I’m not a hardcore death metal fan. But when the band leaves their core business, they are no longer on top of their game.
At least, when they are at their worst they still have songs that consist of verses, choruses, bridges and solos. And for me that always makes it far more interesting than a lot of mediocre crap that we find in mainstream music.
Do you agree or disagree with me about this In Flames album? Leave a comment below and let me know. Feedback is appreciated and welcome.
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Musician. Music Critic. Born and bred in Holland, but living in South Africa