Sound — 10
Well, thank God for that. The guitar harmonies are back. Being basically their fanbase's favourite aspect of their music, In Flames were a bit foolish to lose them for their last album, Soundtrack To Your Escape. That wasn't a bad album in my opinion, but it was definitely nothing on their earlier, and far more metal work. This new album shows exactly how well In Flames have done to deal with this problem that struck them after STYE, they lost a lot of metalhead fans, but did gain a few more mainstream rock fans. What they have now done is come out with an album, which is a brilliant bland of (metalheads favourite) The Jester Race and (mainstreamers favourite) Soundtrack To Your Escape. They have returned to the great guitar harmonies of Bjorn Gelotte and Jesper Stromblad, and it has helped them no end. They still include the synths and other nu-metal properties in this album, but this is pretty much a melodic death metal album. I also noticed that Daniel Svenson has improved no end (Take This Life is a great example), despite already being one of my favourite drummers. Pete Iwers has also done a good job, using perfect metal tones on bass, but never really appearing from behind the guitars.
Lyrics — 7
The lyrics of In Flames have never been great in my opinion, still circling around the same themes of death and despair, although they use a lot of excellent words to catch the listener on to the song (Dead End, Vacuum). Anders Friden has been my favourite metal vocalist for some time, and he doesn't disappoint here. He has noticeably improved his singing voice from STYE (the title track, Come Clarity), and his growls are extremely well performed (Our Infinite Struggle).
Overall Impression — 10
01. Take This Life - a monster is unleashed as soon as this disc starts spinning around, with a great drum lick in the verse, and a seamless integration from slower chorus to a fast-paced verse. Jesper and Bjorn shine in the chorus, using some great rhythm techniques over the top of a melody. 02. Leeches - demonic vocals put Anders above the top league he was already in here, bringing the end of the world on top of your head in a split second. It is brought into the chorus which is sang very well, but the bass still keeps the menacing feel going. 03. Reflect The Storm - this is more of an old-school metal song, tainted with some nu-metal drumming. Combine that with a brilliant guitar line, and some incredibly catchy lyrics, and you've got a great song on your hands. At about a minute, you are sucked right into the chorus, not ever wanting to leave it (this happens more than once on this album). The singing on this part doesn't sound like Anders, but it is in fact the same demon-like menace from Leeches. 04. Dead End - joining Anders on this track is popular Swedish singer Lisa Miskovsky, and she performs brilliantly at the beginning of the verse, to add a brilliant epic theme, which is pounded on by Friden, then they join together, and the results are brilliant. The harmonized solo takes you straight back to the Colony era, very reminiscent of 'Swim'. 05. Scream - a more classic In Flames riff is used, but it is shredded to pieces when the vocalist joins the fray, he launches an assault on your senses, and right here is probably where a lot of older fans will be drawn back to In Flames. A fist-in-the-air chorus and an offbeat solo add to this, and put together the heaviest song In Flames have made in quite a while. 06. Come Clarity - this title track opens up with a haunting acoustic guitar, and this continues throughout the verse, with the bass backing up the instrumentals, over Anders Friden's emotion-packed performance. Possibly the most sing-along worthy song a death metal band have ever made. This song will stick in your head, whether you like it or not. That is a guarantee. 07. Vacuum - another brilliant drumming performance from Daniel Svensson here. Although the verse attack is rather different from the chorus, the song has a similar feel flowing through it, which I think is down to Jesper Stromblad. Easily forgettable though. 08. Pacing Death's Trial - featuring the best riff of the album so far, this song has everything. Sweet drum licks, some insane axemanship, and the feel of every In Flames album to date. Really. If you are just getting into In Flames, this is the song to listen to. The most consistent vocals on the album, never faltering a note or overdoing a scream, Anders shines here. 09. Crawl Through Knives - another nod to the Colony/Whoracle times, this is a triumphant song, which is glowing with confidence. I cannot imagine the band playing this live without smiles on their faces, and looking at an audience showing their full appreciation by moshing from start to finish. They almost name-check themselves in it too, but after checking the booklet, the line goes If Flames rather than In Flames, shame. A great accomplishment for the band. Some great lyrics as well. 10. Versus Terminus - more classic guitar harmonies consistently enlightening you, with some brilliant lyrics over them too. One of the more insanely fast-paced drum beats Daniel has produced backs up this song. During the interlude, you can hear Lisa Miskovsky in your head, but she doesn't actually sing on it. Interesting. 11. Our Infinite Struggle - a good use of wah effects, and some all out headbanging moments, during which if you don't move at all, your insides are composed entirely of stone. The best lyrics on the album as well. 12. Vanishing Light - wow, this riff almost has a punk feel to it! Very interesting, genre-switching song, which has influences of good ol' classic rock and metal, death metal, punk and metalcore. Very varied song, but it still has that same In Flames sound to it, which is yet again down to the guitar harmonies. See? They should have had them all the time. 13. Your Bedtime Story Is Scaring Everyone - a very interesting song, exactly what influenced the newsreader sounds in the background (or at least that's what it sounds like) I do not know. The piano and electric xylophone are thrown together, haunting you. A badly distorted drum sound accompanies most of it as well, which in my opinion ruins it slightly. Synths come in later on, adding more and more, building up the anticipation of the actual song, which by the end of it you think will never come, but it actually does. A brilliant song comes in right at the end, with nu-metal instrumentals layered on by some high pitched growls, and some great singing too. Then that nightmare comes back to haunt you. Anders is whispering, and the xylophone has gone is it coming back this time? The answer is no, and you are left with an amazing feeling in your head, an illusion that suddenly In Flames are the most genius band in the world, and although they are nowhere near as musically intelligent as bands such as Tool and Pink Floyd, to give you that effect takes a damn good band. As I have said, Come Clarity is a brilliant album, kicking ass when it needs to, being emotional when it needs to, sparking massive sing-alongs when it needs to.