Sound — 10
Right from the start, this EP shows why In Flames is still top of the game. Sure you can say they sold out, but not every band can sound the same album to album. This EP continues the trend started with Reroute to Remain and Soundtrack to Your Escape; for better or worse (better, in my opinion) this is the direction they are taking. Right when you press play, you can tell that it is, indeed, In Flames; the signature guitar work is hard to miss. Each song has a different feel; "The Mirror's Truth" is aggressive, with blinding drums, solid bass, amazing guitar (even a small solo thrown in), and it comes together amazingly; "Eraser" brings much the same feel, with a slightly more synthesized feel to it, which In Flames is getting the hang of; "Tilt" has a slightly slower pace to it, but still feels like an IF song; and "Abnegation", I can't say enough good things about this song. While first appearing on Viva La Bands Vol. 2, this is a reworked version of it; slightly different lyrics, better vocals, and an overall tighter feel. I didn't think they could make that song any better, and I was surprisingly shown wrong. This song is so tight, it is easily top 5 among their extensive career, along with Take This Life and Trigger. Unfortunately, only "The Mirror's Truth" will be on their new album, but if this is the stuff that didn't make the cut, I cannot wait to see what they pull out.
Lyrics — 10
Anders Friden has been criticized for changing his vocal styles starting with Colony and Clayman; However, he is now a prime example of a Grade-A vocalist. He hasn't lost any aggressiveness in his singing, and proves with these songs that he can sing a melody or two. His lyrics have shown that he is growing as a songwriter as well; I cannot describe how well thought out and constructed his lyrics are. The vocals are multilayered, allowing for a more focused sound, whether it be raw or melodic. Again, I cannot wait to see what the new album holds in store.
Overall Impression — 10
This, in my opinion, the strongest work In Flames has put out, which is saying a lot, as Come Clarity rarely leaves my CD player. As part of the Melodic Death Metal scene, they have shown an amazing maturation along side their counterparts, Soilwork and Dark Tranquillity (their latest albums also receive heavy, heavy, rotation with me). "Abnegation" has over 100 plays on my iPod in the last 2 weeks, I just cannot get enough of it; The only downsides I find with this EP is that (1) it is not longer, (2) 3/4 songs aren't gonna be on the new album, and (3) the wait for the next 2 weeks until "Sense of Purpose" comes out is going to be even longer. Even at 4 songs and 16 minutes length, I would buy new copies whenever something happened to it.