Review Summary: A departure from their earlier works, with some enjoyable tracks but also plagued with a couple of boring and noise-ridden moments.
In Flames, juggernauts of Swedish metal, have now spanned a career lasting over a decade. Releasing such influential albums as The Jester Race and Colony, this band used to be a force to be reckoned with in the Metal Music Business. But in later years, the band's music took a change for the worst. Clayman was still an excellent album, but Reroute to Remain saw the band taking a new direction splitting people right through the middle, and Soundtrack to your Escape was just a complete disaster (bar the track Evil In A Closet.)
In Flames have got to prove their doubters wrong. Come Clarity could have been a total redemption. They could get their total fanbase back with one ***ing mofo of a record. But is Come Clarity what In Flames should have sought in their music?
The answer is: partly. Most of the album is still centered around the riffs and choruses, and harmonies/solos are still taking a back seat to the heavy riffs. Tracks such as Take This Life are exemplary of what the band did in recent years. Those songs won't convert back their fanbase, just get some new fans from the metalcore/nu-metal scene. In Flames veer more towards that nowadays, while they are not nu-metal in my opinion (the Iron Maiden influences are too obvious), they sure as hell try to reel that crowd in. But in my opinion, In Flames are sacrificing their musical talent here. In Flames used to have a knack for great solos and riffing, but Anders' premature voice wouldn't give on their older albums, especially hindering Whoracle from becoming greater than it is. Anders' voice has improved over the years, peaking at this album. But at the expense of this comes the guitar playing. While Jesper and co. were on fire during Whoracle, Colony and Jester Race, and even Clayman, they let me down here. The solos are less numerous and not even there on some songs. They are more prevalent than on STYE, and they redeem songs such as Come Clarity and Reflect The Storm from total disaster, but as a rule, In Flames stick to their new formula.
This makes for a whole load of unenjoyable and filler tracks. Take this Life is symptomatic of this. Whereas an opener should be a captivating song, kick you in the nuts and drag you into the album, on this album it is just meaningless noise. In Flames need the melody back in their songs, and they start off bad. Leeches continues in this vein, the chorus is alright though, still not what I'm looking for.
Reflect the Storm sees things finally picking up with a hugeass solo. The rest of the song is still In Flames trying to be what they're not, commercial metal, but things are starting to look up as the boys try to reel the old fans back in. I'm still not a big fan of this track, but it at least goes somewhere.
In Flames then decide to experiment with a female singer, a Swedish POP singer called Lisa Miskovsky. It sounds a bit like Evanescence in my opinion, forgive me the comparison, but it sounds like that, except the guitars are less stuffy, and the vocals don't blow. Lisa is definitely a good woman behind the mic, they should have her cooperating more in the future, I find it makes for a very nice change in In Flames songs, definitely a gold star here. Anders' voice is still a bit hoarse, but it works for the song, and it's better than the guy that did guest vocals on Bring Me To Life. At least I can listen to this guy now. (Earlier on, that's something totally different.) Also a guitar solo brings life back into the band. A definite plus here.
Scream then goes back into the boring filler path, suffering from Soundtrackitis again. In Flames alternate good songs with bad songs, and the chorus is just laughable. This reminds me of Children of Bodom gone bad.
However, the title track is a home run grand slam for the band. Possibly the most emotional song In Flames have ever done, featuring Jester Race style acoustic guitars, something I have sorely missed in STYE, is a track like this. The lyrics are angsty, just like the rest of this album, but the chorus is sung in such a way that I can start to appreciate even Anders voice. And the solo at the end is just pure sex. I can understand people calling this song a sell-out, but dammit play this on the radio. I'd much rather have this.
Vacuum is another Scream-style track, except slightly better, also the chorus redeems this. The rest of the album continues in this boring fashion, with the exception of Versus Terminus (love the chorus), and the bonus track, Your Bedtime Story Is Scaring Everyone, which is almost four minutes of ambience before any sort of vocals or guitars kick in, but when they do, they rock your world off.
Overall this isn't a consistent record. Some songs are absolutely ace, but others are symptomatic of the new formula, which can lead to very dull filler moments. It's not a comeback to form. But it is a step in the right direction, anyhow. I however have my doubts that In Flames can release another Clayman or Jester Race, but they shouldn't; they should just mix the new and the old style better. I at least have hope that they can record a decent album. But In Flames manage to underachieve, and that is sad, because with their talents they can do great things Let's just keep our fingers crossed that the next release is a real return to form.