Review Summary: A superb compilation with one of the best songs ever recorded to close it up despite some questionable picks.
InMe are a band that enjoyed their brief five minutes of fame with the release of UnderDose before swiftly fading into obscurity. Why this happened is a complete mystery to many who have heard the band. They proved on their later albums that they possess immense mastery over their respective instrument, and skip to any second of Thanks For Leaving Me to hear a supreme vocal talent in Dave McPherson. Their early works are fun and enjoyable with some fast paced numbers, whereas their more technically oriented later works are also fantastically written. It was only a matter of time before the band released a best-of compilation so that many people could enjoy all their best work in one collection, and this arrived in 2010.
Entitled Phoenix : The Best Of InMe, this release documents their entire career up until that point, with fifteen tracks. Some of these are old and there were new recordings specifically for this release, so it is clear that the band went out of their way to attempt to create their definitive release. Sadly, this was not quite achieved as the track listing is somewhat lackluster and the absence of various songs is baffling, but credit should certainly go to the band for giving a good representation for each album and each phase of their musical progression. Both their hits from their debut, Underdose and Crushed Like Fruit, make their mark, whilst the best of their last two albums released at this point is found in Myths & Photographs, Single Of The Weak and Cracking The Whip.
For those who have never heard the band before, let this compilation serve as an excellent starting point. They initially used a very simplistic style of metal, rather in line with the nu-metal trends of the day, using highly depressing lyrics to cheesy but great effect. It is surprising how much charm the early songs by this band contain, before they shed their immature sound in favor of the more technically proficient instrumental work that carries tracks like Cracking The Whip on this excellent compilation. The band has the best possible voice to carry all their thoughts that they write about in Dave McPherson who absolutely dominates the microphone on many of the tracks here whilst laying down some fantastic guitar rhythms. This is certainly not a band to be trifled with.
Sadly, not all the songs here are that great and some could easily have been axed in favor of songs like You Won't Hear From Me Again from the Herald Moth album. Instead, the band dragged up songs like Nova Armada from that same album which really does let the release down. For every masterful accomplishment like Thanks For Leaving Me, there is a let down track which holds the release back. The new songs are also a mixed bag, containing the very best track the band has ever recorded but also the most pointless song ever. Thanks For Believing Me really lets the side down here, with some rubbish acoustic guitar work and a quite bad vocal performance that is shocking when one thinks about the talent Dave obviously possesses.
Thankfully, the collection is saved by the aforementioned masterclass song which is entitled Saccharine Arcadia and closes it off. This track was recorded specifically for the purpose of this release and was the finest note the band could go out on. It is far and away one of their heaviest songs, and is also one of the more screaming-heavy tracks they have used, with some crushing riffs and vocals that sound like a possessed demon toward the latter half of the track. The bludgeoning riff that opens it up swiftly passes in favor of a clean section where Dave really does put a lot of soul and emotion into the vocals and lyrics. One line in particular that really shows off the lyrical prowess they carry is "Three cheers for sweet patience, good things come to those who wait" which, when heard, is guaranteed to cause a tear to trickle down ones cheek. During the screaming sections of this track it literally sounds like Dave is calling the spawn of hell with his voice, shrieking and yelling into the microphone to great effect. If there is one song this band has put out that deserves to be heard, it would be this one.
InMe really did a great job in putting together a neat representation of all their years, and Saccharine Arcadia is a fantastic track but sadly there are a few killer cuts that could have replaced the worst of the tracks here. Thankfully, that one song more than makes up for anything here.