In Flames – Clayman
Anders Friden = vocals
Bjorn Gelotte = guitars
Jesper Stromblad = guitars
Daniel Svensson = drums
Peter Iwers = bass
If anyone would be unfamiliar with In Flames sound, or officially called: Gothenburg style, I’ll explain how it sound. While most of the rhythmical death metal bands came out of America (hence the Florida sound), most of the more melodic death metal bands came out of the Scandinavian countries. In Flames, coming from Gothenburg (yep, that’s were the name comes from), was along with Dark Tranquillity the founders of the melodic death metal scene. While Dark Tranquillity referred the music to it’s name, In Flames did basically the same. At 1996, In Flames released their first official album: The Jester Race. The Jester Race had everything a melodic metalhead could dream of. Packed with melodic guitars, yet heavy vocals and a decent speed, The Jester Race became one of the most appreciated album in the Gothenburg scene. The following album, Whoracle, developed the sound into a more slowish, dreamy tempo, more focusing on the melodies.
Unknown with the success they made, people left the band because of having too many bands at once. Bjorn Gelotte, the drummer of Whoracle and earlier work, switched to the guitars, creating an empty space behind the drum kit. Luckily Daniel Svensson of Sacrilege became the permanent drummer of In Flames. Peter Iwers joined the band as a bassist and the band was again complete. Colony was later released, creating a whole new sound. Whereas Whoracle and The Jester Dance had many acoustic passages into their songs, Colony was electric to the bone. Colony did however not change the melodic sound In Flames was known for.
While many regard In Flames now as a Metalcore-edged Nu-metal band, their change to their new sound was the most eye-winking time. Many people see Clayman as the same state STYE and RTR was into. They are however terribly wrong. Although the change was noticeable to see at that time, Clayman sounds most as it’s earlier release Colony. The melodic guitars are just as present on this record as it was on the previous album, and the keyboards are minimal here. Some very notable songs are Swim
and Suburban Me
’s couplet features a very high guitar riff that somehow reminds me of Rush, while Suburban Me
’s chorus has a riff making it more emotional. Only For The Weak
is probably the most catchy song on the album, but again consist of In Flames their best guitar riffs. Square Nothing
shows their softer side at the first minute, before suddenly exploding into a very rhythmical death metal song (yet, the melodies are present) . It’s pretty good to see how they developed their attitude towards clean passages. Satellites And Astronauts
is also a perfect example. Although it’s obvious that In Flames took Jester Script Transfigured
(of Whoracle fame) as an example, they still managed to create a very decent song.
Of course not everything is based on melodies. Pinball Map
is a speedy headbanger which has a low couplet, exploding into a chorus which is simply brilliant. Anders vocals have never been so good, and the guitars make good use of the parts when Anders is quiet. The solo is a very good effort to bring up the melody in the song again, making it one of the best of the album. Clayman
, the song is another fast-paced heavy metal song, but successfully manages to switch between melodic guitar riffs into the rhythmical Pinball Map
-esque beats. If the chorus would be just a tad better… it had potential though. Nevertheless an awesome song.
Not everything is as good as it would seem though. Another Day In Quicksand
is by no means a bad track, yet it isn’t able to stun me as the other songs did. Nothing is really spectacular, yet it’s also not boring or filler. Bullet Ride
is a good opener of the album, but it suffers from the same problem Whoracle’s and Colony’s opening tracks suffer. The chorus and couplet sound to much alike, making it chaotic and impossible to make good build-ups. The intro of Brush The Dust Away
has Daniel Svensson at his best, creating a drum-roll beat that flows extremely well. The couplet and chorus never stand out though, losing interest in small time. As The Future Repeats Today
is probably the only bad track on Clayman. Nothing stands out, and moving melodies are barely present on it. It’s also more keyboard based than every other song on the album. This song pretty much shows of what STYE would later become.
Although many people see this album as a beginner of RTR and STYE, I see it as a follower of Colony. It’s basically the same, but it is seen from different aspects. While The Jester Race and Whoracle had a acoustic sound on it, Come Clarity was somehow more Metalcore based and STYE and RTR were keyboard based, low-tuned rhythmical songs (that’s why people love to compare them to nu-metal bands), this album was along with Colony the melodic successor. Although there are some songs that sound alike, this album is diverse enough to keep interest for a very long time. Melodies are presented on a beautiful way, and low riffing is done like every metal band should do it .(don’t take that too seriously, why would we else need so many bands)
Best top 5:
1. Suburban Me
2. Only For The Weak
4. Pinball Map
Songs that I don’t care for:
- As The Future Repeats Today
- Extremely good usage of melodies and heavy riffing
- Anders voice is probably at his best here
- Songs are diverse enough to keep the album interesting for very long
- It’s very obvious that In Flames ripped off themselves by remaking Jester Script Transfigured into Satellites And Astronauts, but making it more suited to this album.
- Daniel Svensson has some serious talent, yet he barely shows it.