In Flames – I, The Mask
Label: Nuclear Blast
Almighty In Flames are back with their 13th full length album “I, The Mask”. Expectations are high and we all were so excited when they introduced us with song “I Am Above”. So energizing song that allegedly introduced us to the album. Now the album is here after three years of waiting we finally hear the sound of new In Flames.
Personally, In Flames was one of the first metal bands that I was introduced to, and their songs represent the craziest part of my life – high school. My favorite In Flames anthems were “Jester’s Door”, “Dead Eternity”, “A New Dawn”, “Come Clarity”, “Wayfaerer”, “Scream”, “Zombie Inc”, “Dead God In Me”, “Food for the Gods”, “Embody the invisible”, “F(r)iend”, “Deliver Us”, and “Where the Dead Ships Dwell”. Somehow after high school, I forgot about them, so this album, for me, was new introduction to In Flames after long time. When I first heard their new song “I Am Above” I was overwhelmed and really excited to hear more. I mean if the rest of the songs are good as this one, wow. But sadly, video for this song was so weird, it looked to me as if someone would stand in front of the mirror and make faces. Everyone makes mistakes, no big deal, they will do better next time, right?
But let’s see what rest of the album is bringing us. After hours of listening I couldn’t decide. Whole album is so mixed. Kinda like it, kinda hate it. This is album that will divide fans as Moses divided sea.
It starts with song “Voices” and after slow start you can hear that beautiful growl, I like it so much. Just like in good old days. Growl is followed by really nice clean vocals and whole song combined sounds cool. And when you hear the riff it’s like orgasm. Next song is “I, The Mask”, and instantly you are carried by their energy. Again, first growl and then clean vocals. But as I’m listening the song it’s so cheerful. Almost makes you wanna dance, but okay. Song “Call My Name” follows with almost same pattern. Sure the riff is different, but still, everything is so cheerful, almost to the point where I ask myself “Who is that? That can’t be In Flames!” Of course, “I Am Above” is breaking that chain, and “Follow Me” puts us in some melancholy. After all that mix up at the start, “(This Is Our) House” is a bitch slap to your face where you can’t really decide if that’s still In Flames. “We Will Remember” and “In This Life” I honestly over looked by accident. Couple of repeating was necessary that I could realize that they are on my playlist. Next was song “Burn”, and I really don’t know what they wanted to do with this song. It sounds somehow forced and without soul, like they wrote it to fill in the album. Luckily, “Deep Inside” adds a bit of charm to this whole mix. They surprised me with riffs and melody is nicely done. “All The Pain” throw us back to melancholy and slow everything down, and gently to lead us toward last song, “Stay With Me”, and toward the end of the album.
Overall, I really don’t know. I’m divided. Old fans, like me, would probably be a bit disappointed. No more releasing anger through songs, you just can’t feel that energy. New fans will be okay with it, maybe even overwhelmed. It’s up to you to decide if you like it or hate it. I will put “I Am Above” and “Voices” into my In Flames collection, but I will stick to the “old” In Flames. Maybe thirteen isn’t lucky number for In Flames.