Described as one of the curators of the Swedish “Gothenburg Sound” during the 90s, In Flames are returning with the release of their 13th studio album I, The Mask. The melodic death metal band are providing a social commentary on isolation, loneliness and the impact that technology has had on genuine human connection.
The follow up to their 2016 album Battles, sees the band joining forces with multi-Grammy nominated producer Howard Benson (My Chemical Romance, Motörhead) for a second time . The reunion with Benson has provided development and definition into the band’s sound even within two years.
The process for writing this album saw vocalist Anders Fridén and guitarist Björn Gelotte spending three weeks in Los Angeles, writing songs together, mulling over whether they would love to play the tracks live. Benson provided input into the direction of tracks that the two members has written before the production began. It was something new that the two hadn’t attempted before, but deemed successful in crafting of I, The Mask.
Claiming the title of one of the biggest metal bands in the world doesn’t go without its challenges, although this challenge has retained In Flames' notoriety for many years. Their ability to combine towering power ballad riffs with the subtle elegance of acoustic guitar as they showcase on 'Follow Me' gives off an encapsulating sense that this band are challenging their abilities both musicially and creatively every time they hit the studio.
Whilst the acoustic elements of the album, are a key part in the evolution of In Flames there are moments that shine back to where the band grew from. 'We Will Remember' adopts a hard hitting intro reminiscent of 'Graveland' from their 1996 The Jester Race debut, with heavy riffs that would open up any venue floor.
This is an album that showcases how far the band have come from their beginnings to their current status and ensures that there is no stopping them continuing to thrive within the walls of their own ‘Gothenburg sound’. With the constant reminder that this is a band who love playing live and are thinking about this when writing a new album, it’s sure to keep fans fed for a little while longer, before the festival season kicks off.
Score: 8/10 Facebook:/inflames Twitter: @InFlames_SWE