Sound — 10
From the first pounding intro riff of Bullet ride, this album shows it's class and sweeps you away as the production marks the finest hour of this band's LPs. In Flames have used a few clear tricks that remain consistent throughout the record. This factor alone (recognisable consistency in style) is enough to praise any album and adds logevity and variability to a band's back catelogue. Point one, is the implicit echo/delay throughout, especially with the vocals. This may come across as muddy to some, but with the crisp riffs and heavy bass, the depth of the record shows a gold standard. It simply blows you away. Do not judge this record without large headphones/speakers with high quality bass output. It simply wont do the job as there is so much production to absord. A drinking buddy of mine once described In Flames as the Iron Maiden of later Death Metal/our generation and, without trolling, that's quite a suitable remark. The fast paced riffs swap interchangably with chugging chords, whilst the bass provides the vital floor of depth, but never trying to take the spot light. Each song is recognisable as distinguished and, though similar in tone (bar a couple) come across as completely independant songs with their own meanings and stories to tell. Truely fantastic, leaving you a little unsatisfied with other, more common bands, that just don't compare anymore.
Lyrics — 9
I've debated this matter with many people and can at least stand proud when I say "I don't listen to metal to analyse the lyrics and most of the time I can't understand what they're screaming"... There are very obvious sociologicalover and undertones to the lyrics. "Clayman is all about revolution" I once heard from drunk conversationalists. I can appreciate this remark, believing fully that Anders (singer) is sincere about his irritation at etc etc etc in the world. The specific lyrics can be left up to the hearer to appreciate at will. The tones and wails and screams and growls fit the songs almost flawlessly. The anger from this LP is relevant in later In Flames works, but the fury and pace has been lost (as with all metal singers as they age... which is understandable). Lyrics are given an extra push with this and similar placed records by adding delay to the chorus and mixing screaming lines with soft growling lines in the verses. You've heard it all before, but not quite as masterfully as Anders of In Flames.
Overall Impression — 10
I'd never heard of In Flames before first hearing this album in 2001. Drunk (and etc), a friend put the rocord on saying he'd received a recommendation from a guy at work. Everyone in the room was completely blown away within seconds and the feeling swept us into a comfortable empowerment. It was an hour before we were able to get past track 3 'Only for the weak!', as every time the song finished, we cried to start the album again. Growing up from 1997 to 2001, we simply hadn't ever heard of heavy metal of this depth, production, prowess and class. I've since heard their back catelogue, and though a favourite album is hard to pick (due to their relative variety) this one stands clear as one to be proud of and show off to your metal friends to blow them away as you once were; getting them wrapped into the band's massive story.