It’s been a long time since slamming In Flames became good rule; for mainstream sound, back off their roots and all that stuff. But, as Albert Camus said once, “I feel more fellowship with the defeated than with saints.” Especially because for the most part I really like their new album I, The Mask.
Vocalist Anders Fridén tells about the band’s 13th album: “Since our last record, ‘Battles’, we’ve established our own annual festival in Sweden and have been touring non-stop worldwide, creating an even stronger bond with our fans. You could say it was a big part of our inspiration for this album. It’s been such a long journey that just keeps going and growing. We feel extremely thankful for that, and for the support that makes it possible.”
Musically, I, The Mask balancing between Melodic Death and Modern Metal with a clear heeling to the last one. Though, it’s not exactly Modern Metal, but something more mainstream than In Flames‘ early music. Nevertheless, these are melodic and catchy songs, like “Deep Inside” with the bridge that stuck in your head for a long time and semi-oriental riff.
There are also some songs that going out from the overall music conception: “We Will Remember” sounds like a kind of 90s alternative or something close. It’s very “radio-friendly”, but at the same time it can’t be said that something bad, quite the contrary: it doesn’t reject, but surprising, because it’s very unexpected to hear such song from In Flames. Also, the ballad “Stay With Me” needs to be mentioned. It’s technically simple, little bit cheesy, but very emotional.
Moreover, I, The Mask pleases also with solid, fast paced songs, relatively close to early albums. An opener “Voices”, the first single “I Am Above”, fast and aggressive “Burn” – as for me that’s what was expected from In Flames. There is strong rhythm section with fast riffs and solos. Also Fridén‘s vocal easily and seamlessly passes from growl to clean and back.
No doubt, that metal elitists and other music snobs will sling mud on this album, telling that In Flames needed to stop and split up after Siren Charms, or even earlier. Well, they have their rights, and nobody can forbid them to write in Internet. But if we’ll take a step out of “true/not true” paradigm, it turns out that I, The Mask is quite diverse, melodic album with lots of catchy songs.
I, The Mask will be released on March, 1 via Nuclear Blast Records.