With the last two albums, IN FLAMES have caused uproar in the Metal community rivaled only by METALLICA. Many fans felt alienated and even betrayed by the more modern, experimental sound of “Reroute To Remain” and “Soundtrack To Your Escape”. Even those that stuck by the band had to admit that those two albums marked a definite change in IN FLAMES.
But then again, have IN FLAMES ever been a band to rest on their laurels and be content with releasing the same album over and over again? I think not. And with the much-anticipated release of “Come Clarity”, IN FLAMES have once again redefined themselves.
As promised, “Come Clarity” sees the return of guitar harmonies and solos and the great melodies of IN FLAMES’ past have crept back in as well. Some of the most aggressive moments of the band’s career can be found on “Come Clarity”, as can some of the most introspective. The whole band, guitarists Björn Gelotte and Jesper Strömblad, bass player Peter Iwers and drummer Daniel Svensson sound absolutely rejuvenated. They’ve not played this way in years. And vocalist Anders Fridén has become a master of his craft. His vocals, whether growled or cleanly sung, are so full of emotion, you can’t help but feel it.
“Come Clarity” has an almost epic feel laced throughout its thirteen tracks, thanks in no small part to the huge choruses in “Reflect The Storm”, “Dead End” (featuring Swedish singer/songwriter Lisa Miskovsky) and “Crawl Through Knives”. With the more aggressive moments shining through on “Take This Life”, “Scream”, “Vacuum” and “Versus Terminus”. The title track is what I can only describe as an IN FLAMES power ballad. Fridén sings cleanly throughout the track, with enough emotion to bring tears to your eyes. The mostly ambient piece, “Your Bedtime Story Is Scaring Everyone”, finishes out what I can only call IN FLAMES best album since “Clayman”.
From a lyrical standpoint, “Come Clarity” seems to be a very personal album for Fridén. He contemplates life and growing older, lashes out at copycats and naysayers and many things in between. And from a production standpoint, “Come Clarity” is untouchable. The sound is clear, heavy and powerful.
“Come Clarity” should go down as one of IN FLAMES’ greatest achievements, a proverbial return to the band’s roots without taking a single step backward. All the while retaining the modern edge that made “Reroute To Remain” and “Soundtrack To Your Escape” so controversial. IN FLAMES is a band that is certainly not afraid to experiment with, change, or expand its sound. “Come Clarity” is an absolute testament to that. IN FLAMES is at the top of its game with “Come Clarity”. This is, without a doubt, my album of the year! (Online March 2, 2006)