Montag, 8. November 2010

In Flames - Clayman

Good Day to you fellow viewers and followers.

I'm glad to say that I am fucking back and most of the problems that plagued me for quite a time now were sorted out. So I am feeling much much better and I am ready to review a CD by a band I loved for a very long period of time and still do - partially.

In Flames - Clayman

Ahhh .. In Flames, good ol' In Flames. What went wrong with this band? (At least in my opinion)
Just this: The band went pretty much metal-mainstream. Which is the downfall of every great band and musician in general.
In Flames was founded by Jesper Stromblad and became very popular amongst the many excellent bands from Goteborg (Goteborg's school of Melodic Death Metal). Their sound was unique while staying true to their Melodic Death Metal roots.
As they employed the new frontman Anders Friden, who would replace Mikael Stanne (Dark Tranquillity) the band started a progress of slowly discharging the "Death" out of "Melodic Death Metal". Slowly.

In Flames with the new frontman Friden (2nd from the left)

That said, In Flames' "Clayman" was the first really experimental approach to their music, implying more melodic and "calm" parts into their songs. Also Clayman was the last album done by them I really liked, as it really manages to keep both the melodic and the "Death Metal"-parts in balance.

I will do another post about the downward progression in quality of the band in the near future, so I can stop rambling and focus on the album now. Thank you.

We start out with the first song "Bullet Ride" and already you can hear what I tried to tell you before. The song starts out fast and perfectly for a well-chosen opener. But already after 20 - 30 seconds the pace starts calming down giving Anders a chance to sing with his charismatic voice, only to let him scream more vocals seconds later. The song changes fast between these passages: screaming - singing - screaming. And it's good. Anders is a very talented singer and it goes to show how much talent he really has to offer.

"Pinball Map" - being the second song - is not one of the most requested songs on live concerts for no reason. The mixing of melodic guitar riffing and the fast and heavy drum playing. Anders is superb again. He screams out the lyrics like he is going to attack somebody with every line just to change this to an epic singing voice for the refrain. Sweet. Check this one out, if you can't get a hold of the CD.

The third song is basically the one song that introduced me to the band and got me interested to hear more. Right from the beginning the opening of "Only For The Weak" caught me and it still manages to keep me listening to the whole song. Best listen to this song live. I think it's the best way to describe this masterpiece of songwriting. Enjoy.

The next track "...As The Future Repeats Today" is without a doubt my favorite track of the CD and I think it does everything right. It's definitely one of the highlights and you should check it out. Anders' voice is aggressive at its best and the guitar sounds as if it would suck you right into the song. I don't know. Maybe it's just me. Also the pre-refrain lines sound so good and the keyboard gives it a very mystical mood. Stromblad does a great solo and the song is great too. 'nuff said.

"Square Nothing" is a very slow song song and while I don't have anything against slow songs. This one is just boring and definitely one of the low points, eventhough it starts to pick up at some point, it's not really interesting. The guitar at least has some very nice parts and there are some very characteristic and interesting "growls" to pick out. But nothing too special. Moving on.

The title track "Clay Man" is another very nice track, nothing too special, but it has a very nice medium pacing, good guitar riffing, nice vocals and sounds like quintessential In Flames.

"Satellites And Astronauts" is not really interesting, one of the low-points on the album. It has nothing really special about. The refrain is a bit catchy at least. But that's about it. The same counts for "Brush the Dust away". Really. Listen to it, you will know what I mean.

(former) lead guitarrist Stromblad

The opening to "Swim" would be fitted as a CD opener as well, it is the last really very good song on the CD and it's your typical In Flames at their best, doing what they do best. Melodic guitars, interchanging vocals (growling - screaming - singing). Good times.

After "Swim" the last two songs "Suburban Me" and "Another Day In Quicksand" seem to fade in quality. Eventhough "Suburban Me" has a very nice guitar solo going for it and the duet between Daniel Svensson (drums) and Stromblad (guitars) in the beginning of "Another Day In Quicksand" is very nice to listen to. This song also leaves the hearer with a very nice feeling of being satisfied and kinda wantin' more. It's well-chosen to end one of my favorite CD's of one of my once-favorite bands (more on that later sometime).

This concludes my review of "Clayman". "In Flames" is without a doubt one band that left a very big impression on me. It was the first band I owned all CD's of (digitally, being young and poor at the time) and I think the only one I can recall every name of each song of them by only listening to it for about 10 seconds and this has to say something. For me at least. Because I am stupid. Sometimes.

Hope you enjoyed reading one very big part of my way into Heavy Metal. I - at least - enjoyed writing it, making myself reminisce of the past and listening to good ol' "In Flames" again.

See you.

Donnerstag, 4. November 2010

I have not been well

With this post I want to apologize for the lack of updates on my blog the last few days. I don't feel too good right now - both mentally and physically. This is mainly due to my work which is really hard right now and some private stuff that I have to endure (some of which are basically my fault, which is even more frustrating).

I will get back to posting longer and more in-deep reviews soon, but right now I have to keep it a bit short. Please excuse me.

But hey, things will get better, so I'll leave with you with a song I consider one of my favorite uppers.

So long fellow followers and viewers. See you soon :)