Review Summary: In Flames combines the best of both worlds to create their Colony.Colony
are often cited as the climatic transition
albums that paved In Flames' way for their controversial, commercial change in direction with 2002’s Reroute To Remain
. There’s much debate as to which of the pair is actually the better of the two; some prefer Clayman
’s more melodic approach, and others opt for Colony
’s more interesting guitar leads and production values. Whatever the case, these two albums are often cited as In Flames' perfect combination of the melodic elements present in their recent releases with that of the stellar instruments and pure melodic death elements found in the band’s earlier albums--The Jester Race
This album marks the first appearance of their classic line-up as we now know them today. Björn Gelotte was originally the full-time drummer during the days of The Jester Race
, but here he is moved up to second guitarist to assist Jesper Strömblad. The duo is a striking pair throughout the album, offering some of the genre’s best melodic leads and solos throughout. Opener and standout "Embody The Invisible"[/i] is an exercise in melodic guitar play, featuring catchy leads and perfectly-placed riffs that reverberate and stand out in the listener’s mind. Many can walk away from this song--as well as many others throughout the album--with more than just Ander’s vocal line in their heads; a true sign that the band is incorporating the melodic aspect of their music properly. The pair continues on to excel consistently throughout the album, arguably becoming the reason many of the songs featured on Colony
are now concert fan-favorites.
Other songs that stand out due to the two guitarists are those such as the title track with its unforgettable opening riff and spacey vibe. "Zombie Inc." incorporates varying tempos and features a stellar bridge section in the middle of the song that starts with a melodic solo lead plucked on a clean setting before switching over to a classic distorted tone. The song then continues from there with a renewed drive and intensity. "Coerced Existence" features impressive riffs and one of the band’s premiere solo samples as well. "Insipid 2000" arrives near the end of the ride to offer a similar style of leads and riffs with that addictive chorus chemistry that made opener "Embody the Invisible" so catchy and memorable. Colony
is strewn with examples of the duo’s outstanding chemistry when placed together; their part in the songwriting is clearly heard and experienced throughout.
That’s not to say the rhythm section isn’t excellent as well, as Peter Iwers and Daniel Svensson--bassist and drummer, respectively--are competent and deliver the essentials. Daniel offers up stellar work behind the kit in such songs as the titled track, "Resin", and "The New Word". Unfortunately, bassists typically get the short hand of the stick when it comes to metal albums; as is the case here, trying to distinguish Peter’s inclusion to the overall sound can be slightly difficult.
Popular vocalist Anders Fridén delivers his best performance here up to this point in the band’s career. The thorough production of Colony
gives his voice a brutal, yet melodic and comprehensible tone best suited to both groups of fans looking for a catchy or passionate delivery. Throughout the course of the album Anders delivers his characteristic snarl on topics such as religion, living above one’s station, and creating a better society. The band points the finger at all of us--themselves included, when it comes to the mess we now live in today--as a line from the title track demonstrates, 'When we can no longer, Cry and reality is torn, Then it's easy to forget, That the responsibility lies on us all'
. It’s nice to know that In Flames deviate from the all-too-common consensus of many metal bands who scream that their problems are because of someone else.
In Flames deliver an album that is drenched with hidden melody and an excellent production job to match. Not only this, but the album combines the best of both worlds, featuring the first appearance of the band’s popular guitar duo and their impressive fret board interplay. Ander’s vocals are recorded perfectly for the desired brutal and melodic effect, adding a catchy new element into their music that would later go on to eventually lead them down controversial paths. May I not forget that there's not a dud here song-wise, making this album an essential listening experience that any In Flames fan would surely be incomplete without. While listeners may gloss over the album with their first listens, subsequent replays will bring out an album that is arguably on par, or on top of, the best this influential band has to offer.