April 6, 2005

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In Flames, Come Clarity
Ferret Music, 2006

After teetering on the brink of boy-band-emo since 2000’s Clayman, In Flames has made the rather transparent pretense of throwing their newbie fans under the bus in this go-round, to the delighted schadenfreude of their death metal base. Oddly enough, more than a few melody-enhancing devices have stuck around, belying the facade from song one, and in the process some long-overdue evolutionary steps are being taken in the name of the genre (whether the style receiving this overhaul is emo or thrash could be claimed by either side). What’s known is this: in and around Anders Friden’s polecat screamo yowling there are actual notes being sung, many of them genuinely ear-sticky, sometimes clumping together to form chorus-type thingies that sound neither like Thursday dittoheadedness nor the half-hearted risks taken by cliquey math-metal bandwagon-jumpers. As Theory of a Deadman-heavy as “Take This Life” is, “Leeches” pushes the arena-rock envelope, looking toward mummified spandex rockers like Riot for a vocal sound that’s the reinvention of sliced bread after all the Simple Plans that’ve clogged up the works. Why no one else is doing this – if only to give modern headbangers a legitimate reason to buy CDs - really is a stumper. A-
— Eric W. Saeger


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