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ALBUM REVIEW: In Flames – I, The Mask

In Flames 2019

Melodic death metal quartet In Flames rose up in the early 90’s and have since been responsible for major changes in Swedish death metal, giving breath to it’s routes, affecting it’s entirety for almost thirty years. Now they’re back again with their thirteenth record to date, I, The Mask, the follow up to 2016’s full-length Battles.

Long time In Flames fans who have been following the band since their very first record, Lunar Strain, are aware of what time can really do to you, your taste in music and pretty much everything that’s able to link meaningless sound waves into a catchy sound or a feeling. While these death metal pioneers are able to live up to the expectations of their long-awaited fanbase, who tend to like their initial material, they’ve been able to catch the ears of the younger generation with their unique, more mainstream sound, which came later in the 2000’s.

Throughout listening to I, The Mask, the first thing you’ll probably notice is the slight turn in a softer direction with clean vocals, while the riffs in songs such as the title track, I, The Mask and Voices tend to lean towards the very harsh, death metal sound they once had. Anders Fridén shows great potential with singing cleans in Call My Name, or the end parts of I Am Above which approve of his very versatile range of vocals. That being said, the guitars do a great job at capturing what death metal is supposed to sound like. I, The Mask will leave people who bill them as mainstream metal with no choice other than to accept that there’s still death metal routes flowing in the veins of members of In Flames.

As we slowly reach the ending moments of the record, In Flames create a great passage with an initial hard rock sound and haunting acoustic sections, which climaxes before songs such as Burn or (This is our) House. Since I, The Mask is nothing short of a rock behemoth, the finishing song Stay With Me successfully builds a big wall of sound transiting from an acoustic initiation, and ending their collection of better material with a slight classic rock sound, which they do in the best way possible. The production of this record is achieved just as well as the song writing, with big names Ted Jensen, Howard Benson and Chris Lord-Alge mastering their art.

If you have previously missed out on In Flames, then I, The Mask will definitely win the hearts of both old and new fans as the band deliver fifty minutes of pure melodic death metal. Time will tell if this is going to be one of their memorable records or not, but for the moment it will bring pure joy to listeners.

8.5/10

Standout Tracks: I, The Mask, Call My Name, Burn, Stay With Me

For Fans Of: Dark Tranquility, Soilwork, At The Gates

Written By: Arman Dindar Safa

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