ReviewsIn Flames Proves As Strong As Ever On Its...

In Flames Proves As Strong As Ever On Its Latest LP


Veteran metal act In Flames has been crafting music for the metal masses for more than three decades, reaching audiences the world over with its music. This is the case even with so many changes in its lineup and label homes.  Now with the release of the band’s 14th album, Foregone, Friday through Nuclear Blast Records, the band’s popularity and relevance remains just as strong as ever.  This is due in part to its featured musical arrangements, which will be discussed shortly.  The lyrical themes that accompany the record’s musical content makes for its own share of interest, and will be discussed a little later.  The sequencing of that collective content rounds out the album’s most important elements and will also be discussed later.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the record’s presentation.  All things considered they make Foregone a welcome addition to this year’s field of new hard rock and metal albums.

Foregone, the latest full-length studio recording from In Flames, is a strong new offering from the veteran metal act that is sure to engage and entertain the band’s established audiences and metal fans in general.  That is proven in part through the record’s musical arrangements.  From beginning to end, the arrangements featured throughout the record take audiences in a variety of directions.  They lift from the band’s existing catalog – in terms of stylistic approaches – at points while also presenting something less familiar at others.  That variety in sounds and styles makes the listening experience engaging and entertaining from the record’s beginning to its end.  Among the most notable of the more familiar style compositions is the record’s first full-length track, ‘State of Slow Decay.’  The heavy “chug” from the drums and bass here are immediate throwbacks to the band’s established death metal sound.  The shredding from the guitar and the creaming vocals add an equally familiar sort of thrash approach that audiences familiar with the band’s work will appreciate just as much.  The whole makes this arrangement so overly familiar while still maintaining the song’s own identity separate from the band’s existing works, making for all the more enjoyment and engagement.

Among the most notable of the album’s newer stylistic presentations is the metal ballad (if one could call it anything) that is presented late in the album in ‘Pure Light of Mind.’  The heavy, melodic metal composition is perhaps among the most mainstream style compositions that the band has ever crafted.  The juxtaposition of the contemplative verses and the more powerful choruses gives the song an almost power metal approach that is rare for In Flames to take on.  Even with that in mind, the song is an easy fit for so many mainstream active rock and metal radio programmer’s play list.  The closest possible comparison that can really be made here is to ‘Dawn of a New Day,’ which is featured in the band’s 2002 album Reroute to Remain.  Even in that case though, the comparison is loose at best.  That is a good thing because it shows once again the unique identity that this song has from the band’s existing work despite at least some subtle stylistic similarity.  It is still quite new territory for the band, showing even more, the importance of the musical content in this record.

While the musical content featured throughout Foregone is unquestionably important in its breadth, it is just one part of what makes the album worth hearing.  The lyrical content that accompanies the featured arrangements is largely very cynical in nature, or so it would seem in going through each song. Even with that seemingly overwhelming cynicism, much of the lyrical content still hits hard, such as in ‘The Great Deceiver.’  Front man Anders Friden pointed out in an interview with Metal Edge magazine, the song’s theme is a social commentary about how divided the world has become.  He said in the interview that the theme addresses people’s behavior online and how that has played into how divided the world has become, even citing a specific line in the song to explain the theme.

“There’s a line that says, ‘Bend the truth to fit your opinion,’ and I feel that speaks a lot to the narrative happening online, between people, and nations, etc. today.”  Such a theme is quite familiar especially in the world’s current age.  Sadly, it is a theme that remains as relevant as ever because of that reality.  That that end, it makes this just one strong example of what makes the record’s lyrical themes so important to its presentation.

‘Meet Your Maker’ is another notable example of what makes Foregone’s lyrical themes so important to its presentation.  Friden said during an interview with well-known online music outlet Blabbermouth, this song “became the song that set the tone in terms of what we were aiming for sonically and well as thematically.”  Noting the content here, that comment makes sense, especially in looking at the lyrics.  The lyrics state in the song’s lead verse and chorus, “Meet your maker/Say something that makes sense/These are your last words/So make them worth the wait/Meet your maker/It’s time to set things straight/These are your last words/So make them count or it’s too late/In time we all disappear/We’re pushed to the edge/The countdown has begun/At the end of the masquerade/Your time’s up/Now there’s hell to pay/It’s only down from here/You think you have a choice/But there’s no other way.”  This is just this critic’s interpretation, but this opening statement comes across as a reminder that we all live only a certain length of time, so when our time comes, we need to make sure we go out on a positive note, so to speak. We have to make sure when we go, we haven’t left any hurt feelings among ourselves and others and that people remember our final words as impacting and important.  If in fact this is the message delivered here, then it is a rarely delivered message, making it interesting in its own right.  If other acts have delivered such message, then the fashion in which it is delivered here makes it just as impressive and unique.  Keeping that in mind, it is just one more example of what makes the album’s lyrical themes so important to the record’s presentation.

‘Pure Light Of Mind’ is one more example of the importance of the album’s lyrical themes.  That is because in this case, this is a theme that In Flames has rarely if ever presented.  Instead of all of the cynical and nihilistic sort of commentaries delivered in much of the record, this song’s theme is much more positive.  It seems to deliver a message of hope and some optimism.  This is inferred in the song’s lead verse and chorus, which state, “A perfect storm in a turbulent time/I know my days are numbered/But life seems to end up right/You by my side/My guiding light/Wave goodbye with tearful eyes/Wait for me/I won’t be long/I wanna tell you before I die/I walked the mile/And I’d do it again/The darkness that became me/You’re the reason I’m still breathing/I walked the mile and I’d do it again.”  The seeming positive message continues in the song’s second verse, which states, “When I was about to break down/You took the car/Heading down south/Dim the lights/I’m going to panic/It’s settled/This is forever.”  In the song’s bridge, Friden’s subject begs that other person to “Take away my pain/Take away my sorrow/Save me from tomorrow/Save me!”  This comes across as someone who is showing an appreciation and need for that emotional support from someone else.  Listening to the song’s unique musical arrangement, that inference becomes even stronger.  Hopefully the interpretation here is at least close to being correct.  Regardless, the seemingly optimistic message here is definitely apart from the rest of the themes in this record and from so much of In Flames’ works.  To that end, it shows yet again, how important the lyrical content is to this album.  It shows that growth from the band, lyrically speaking.  When it is considered along with the other themes addressed here and with the rest of the album’s lyrical content, the whole makes fully clear why the album’s overall lyrical content is so important to its presentation.

Keeping in mind the importance of the lyrical and musical content spread across Foregone, it is clear that the record’s general content is positive.  That overall content is just part of what makes the record worth hearing.  The sequencing thereof is just as important to the album’s presentation as the content itself.  The brief instrumental opener, ‘The Beginning of All Things That Will End’ is a surprise way to start the record, what with its classical guitar style approach.  The immediate, heavy contrast of ‘State of Slow Decay,’ which immediately follows makes it (and the second track) all the more intriguing.  To go from such polar opposite extremes so quickly is certain to engage listeners.  The heaviness continues through the next song, ‘Meet Your Maker’ before the band turns more into its equally familiar melodic metal approach in ‘Bleeding Out.’  This changes things up just enough to make for its own share of interest, again.  The band continues to offer more unique changes in the sequencing in the album’s two-part title track, going from more extreme metal style and sound to more of the melodic metal approach in the second half of the song.  ‘Pure Light of Mind’ offers even more of that melodic metal approach in ‘Pure Light of Mind’ before the band goes back to the days of, say the band’s 2000 album, Clayman in ‘The Great Deceiver.’  The stylistic differences continue from that point on to the album’s end, in each arrangement, offering just as much to keep listeners engaged and entertained.  Simply put, from beginning to end the sequencing of the record’s overall content does just as much to ensure listeners’ engagement and entertainment as the content itself.  Considering this, the whole of Foregone becomes a work that is certain to impress In Flames’ established audience base and metal fans in general.

Foregone, the latest album from In Flames, is an interesting new offering from the band.  The record’s interest comes in part through its featured musical arrangements.  The arrangements present influences from the band’s existing catalog while also showing hints of perhaps the band’s future.  That whole gives audiences reason enough to hear the album.  The lyrical themes featured throughout the album are of their own interest.  That is because they offer their own variance within their commentaries.  The sequencing of the overall content puts the finishing touch to the whole, ensuring in its own way, audiences will remain engaged.  Each item examined is important in its own way to the whole of the album.  All things considered they make Foregone a welcome addition to this year’s field of new hard rock and metal albums.

Foregone is available now through Nuclear Blast Records.  More information on the album is available along with all of In Flames’ latest news at: