In Flames
Clayman (20th Anniversary Edition)


1.5
very poor

Review

by Johnny[Well] STAFF
August 19th, 2020 | 129 replies


Release Date: 08/28/2020 | Tracklist

Review Summary: In Flames: standing ablaze? or a simmering dumpster fire?

There are conflicting mythologies surrounding In Flames. The band have been making mediocre alternative metal for so long that devotees of their melodeath heyday are now a minority in their fanbase; what counts as their ‘good era’ has devolved into a matter of personal taste. The particulars of this discussion have lost much of their relevance: since after Sounds of a Playground Fading, In Flames have been sounded outright awful for long enough that it’s a moot point to ask where things originally started to go wrong for them. Few would dispute the direness of their position, with the likes of “Battles” and “I, The Mask” setting the benchmark for once great bands plumbing fresh depths of mediocrity like a drunk giant that has lived long and unhygienically enough to keep itself alive on an exclusive diet of its own fermented excrement.

Now, one of the other things all In Flames fans can agree on is that their 2000 album Clayman was something of a triumph. In a rare gesture of self-awareness, the band have acknowledged this by commemorating it with a 20th anniversary re-release. This package comes with a bonus disc of re-recordings of classic tracks that are brought low under the weight of every misguided trope that made their contemporary LPs such a chore to get through. We’re treated to gratuitous synths, misplaced beats, brittle production, and, above all, Anders Friden’s horrendous vocals, at this point a case study of why sandpaper worn too thin should be thrown in the nearest refuse container without regrets. He attempts melodic vocals on the formerly enigmatic “Bullet Ride” verses with disastrous consequences; he tries to bellow “Pinball Map” like he hasn’t spend the previous twenty years shredding his voice on bad Jonathan Davis impersonations; he affects earnestness on “Only For The Weak” with the calculated strain of a bad YouTube cover.

All of this is hideous, but the re-recordings’ failings aren’t entirely Anders’ fault; the instrumentals churn out timeless melodies with more listlessness than your average idol-pop backing track. “Clayman” suffers especially badly from this, and Anders’ performance on it actually comes off as an unexpected bright spot. Other highlights include the fireworks display of expanded riffage in "Bullet Ride", and the string medley “Themes and Variations in D-Minor”, which proves that the band can at least remember what their best melodies are. Unfortunately, this disc’s best qualities are also confined to the realm of memory; the band fail to bring the joy and energy of the originals into the present. What this means for their future is uncertain; perhaps they are irrecoverably lost, perhaps they are looking for inspiration in the right places. Who knows. The story of In Flames will contin



Recent reviews by this author
Poppy Music to Scream ToA. G. Cook Apple
Aimyon Oishii Pasta ga Aru to KiiteGazpacho Fireworker
Polvo Exploded DrawingTentenko Nineteen
user ratings (95)
1.4
very poor


Comments:Add a Comment 
JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
August 19th 2020


29369 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5 | Sound Off

Felt like making something ugly. This is terrible.

Digging: Tricot - 10

parksungjoon
August 19th 2020


22294 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

do i dare

Digging: Have Mercy (MD) - Armageddon Descends

Scoot
August 19th 2020


20199 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

embarassing



band needs to die

Digging: Chamber - Cost of Sacrifice

JustJoe.
August 19th 2020


9726 Comments


that album cover is not fiveable

Faraudo
August 19th 2020


3834 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

One of the most embarrasing products to come out of any artist in quite some time.

Digging: Crack Cloud - Pain Olympics

Gyromania
August 19th 2020


30803 Comments


didn't read the review since it's too long. can someone tell me why this is bad?

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
August 19th 2020


29369 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5 | Sound Off

lol one paragraph too many

Gyromania
August 19th 2020


30803 Comments


yeah that's like 451 or so words. i'm kinda looking for more of a 15-20 word description of why exactly it's bad compared to the original clayman release

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
August 19th 2020


29369 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5 | Sound Off

because it sounds like contemporary In Flames and contemporary In Flames are garbage [2 words to spare ummmm] you're welcome

Gyromania
August 19th 2020


30803 Comments


Ty bb muchas gracias

wildinferno2010
August 19th 2020


1083 Comments


No way would I listen to all of this. Thanks for doing it so I don't have to

BlitzPhoenix98
August 19th 2020


65 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

Yeah, not listening to this. Never has a band name sounded more appropriate in this time of day. Stopped caring about this band after Come Clarity.

pollastrerostit
August 19th 2020


268 Comments


not understanding what was the need for that, it's pissing on old fans faces and fans of the new shit (do these people actually exist???) probably don't dig Clayman anyway

Digging: Envy - The Fallen Crimson

parksungjoon
August 19th 2020


22294 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

honestly this is not as dreadful as their new material. track 1 might be the best thing theyve done in 20 years





that said... it's also a bunch of strictly inferior re-recordings of an album that barely holds up to begin with as far as i'm concerned. vocals are unsurprisingly trash, and the production is oddly toothless? like it doesnt pack a punch at all, you can hear it on pinball map and clayman especially. on top of that they randomly decided to change some small parts here and there? and add random ass lead guitars that dont belong

Flugmorph
August 19th 2020


23299 Comments


5/5 BABEEEEEEEE

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
August 19th 2020


29369 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5 | Sound Off

Yeah, agreed hard on production - the new versions sound flat as hell. I think the new leads on Bullet Ride are kinda cool but they blow chunks on Pinball Map and Only For the Weak

And let's not even talk about the Clayman opening

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
August 19th 2020


12053 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

Their new output clearly demonstrates that don't care at all to relive the glory days, but they decided to do so here for whatever reason. It's about as incredible as expected.



Production was definitely the first big flaw, there really is no 'oomph' to it at all. Much like a the group themselves.



Have to say, Anders actually does a decent job on occasion around here and sounds his best in years. Unfortunately, the rest of the band did not show up.

BlitzPhoenix98
August 19th 2020


65 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

Once Jesper left, this band was done for.

Kusangii
August 19th 2020


2957 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0 | Sound Off

It just baffles me how much they manage to embarrass themselves time after time after time. So sad

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
August 19th 2020


12053 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

It transitioned from sadness to comedy a while back for me



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2019 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy