In Flames

Nuclear Blast Records, 1999

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


One thing that I've noticed about metal these days (having the opportunity to listen to a lot of new bands as the pile in the inbox grows like a stack of child's blocks) is that there aren't a lot of chances being taken with the overall sound. I mean, you've got your crunching guitars, double-bass work on the drums and singers who sound like they've got their manhood inside a food processor. I love metal, don't get me wrong, but I often find myself wishing I could hear something different.

Enter In Flames, a Swedish quintet, whose latest album my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Colony sonically breaks the mold. And while it takes a bit of an adjustment period, the time you'll spend with this album proves to be worth it.

The group - vocalist Anders Friden, guitarists Jesper Stromblad and Bjorn Gelotte, bassist Peter Iwers and drummer Daniel Svensson - realize that going for the million-notes-per-second jugular isn't the best course of attack for them. Besides, that schtick has been done to death. Instead, they focus their energies on songs that have melodies that don't resolve with each other, but create interesting sonic overlays. All the while, Friden pushes the tracks over the top with his gritty but powerful vocals.

From the opening track "Embody The Invisible," you know that this is going to be an experience like no other you've been on in the land of metal. True, it's not something that you're going to warm up to in the first listen; the first time I sat down with this disc, once I got over the pleasant shock, I found my mind wandering. I don't know if it was because I was trying to digest too much of a new sound to my ears at once, or that I happened to be at work while I listened to the disc, but it became interesting background noise for a while.

Tracks like "Ordinary Story," "Zombie Inc.", "Coerced Coexistence" and the title track all show that this band has the potential to break out and make a name for themselves once metal makes its inevitable comeback (I'm pegging it to hit around May 2000). The difficult part, of course, is going to be getting listeners to take a chance on this one - and it might be more difficult because this is an album that takes at least three listens before one can really start to appreciate it.

I mean, there are moments you'll love right out of the box. The instrumental "Pallar Anders Visa" is an interesting "intermission" of sorts, while tracks like "Resin" and "Insipid 2000" all have more than their share of moments.

Colony is the kind of disc that you'll want to check out - but only if you're ready to put some time into the disc. Just like studying for the big final, all the hard work will pay off.

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 1999 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Nuclear Blast Records, and is used for informational purposes only.