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In Flames - I, The Mask

In Flames
I, The Mask
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 04 March 2019, 5:18 AM

IN FLAMES…legendary band from Gothenburg, Sweden. This band has been around for over 25 years and now present their 13th full-length, titled “I, The Mask.” Their sound has evolved over the years, much to the chagrin of some of their fans. They created the “Melodic Death Metal” sound, pioneering a genre which is huge today with thousands of bands. “Soundtrack to your Escape” was the turning point for many fans, as was “Siren Charms,” seeing them flirting with Alternative Metal instead of sticking with their Melodic Death Metal roots. I still enjoy the band very much, so I’m excited to hear the new album. Let’s get to it, shall we?

“Voices” leads off the album. Harmonic lead guitars give way into a heavy and aggressive main riff. Anders signature snarl breaks into the picture and this is signature IN FLAMES. The chorus is big and full; a staple of their sound. The title track, “I, The Mask,” has those harmonies you come to expect and rich Death vocals that remind us that Anders has not lost a step throughout his long and storied career. “Call my Name” has a combination of harsh and clean vocals and that big chorus that has made them famous throughout their career and made them stand out from the countless others who have played in the genre.

“I am Above” was the first single I heard off the album. It has a tough edge in the verses and it goes deep when he utters “I am above.” It’s a quintessential IN FLAMES song. “Follow Me” is a slower affair; a ballad of sorts. Keys can be heard in the song but it fails to impress overall; the melodies seem a bit forced. “(This is our) House” is…a strange song. It has a slow cadence and some darkness in the verses, and a big melodic chorus. “We Will Remember” opens with harmonic guitars and a thick sound, tough and abrasive. The chorus is a memorable affair with full on vocals. “In This Life” is a slower song with harmonized guitars opening to clean vocals in the verses. It has a tender sound overall. “Burn” gets back to that heavy and aggressive sound that you have come to expect from IN FLAMES. It moves forward with purpose and style, and when the chorus comes in, it smacks you in the face.

“Deep Inside” features raging Death vocals and a memorable chorus. The instrumental interlude in the mid-section is a poignant reminder of the power that this band can command when they are on. “All the Pain” opens with emotional lyrics that echo in the music. The power is turned up in the chorus, and two twin-leads push that sound that is familiar to fans of their music. It ends with clean guitars that are sad in nature. “Stay with Me” closes the album. The acoustic intro is new…something I haven’t hear from the band before. It’s a heartfelt plea and the perfect way to end an album, with real emotion.

Overall, it was a pleasant listening experience, but fairly far from the old days still. Bands change, and as a fan you have to know that coming into a new album. The fact that they’ve been able to hand around this long is a testament to their will and fortitude. Still, it’s a tough pill to swallow from a band that you hold so dearly to your heart. In the end, it’s a good album, but it felt a bit flat, and that’s about all I can say about the subject.

Songwriting: 7
Originality: 6
Memorability: 6
Production: 9

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Voices
2. I, The Mask
3. Call My Name
4. I Am Above
5. Follow Me
6. (This is our) House
7. We Will Remember
8. In this Life
9. Burn
10. Deep Inside
11. All the Pain
12. Stay with Me
Lineup:
Anders Fridén – Vocals
Björn Gelotte – Lead and Rhythm Guitars
Niclas Engelin – Lead and Rhythm Guitars
Bryce Paul Newman – Bass
Tanner Wayne – Drums
Record Label: Nuclear Blast Records
     


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