Album: I, The Mask
Label: Eleven Seven Music
Release Date: March 1, 2019
In Flames ‘I, The Mask’ is set to release this Friday, March 1, 2019 and what an amazing album. Having already heard lots of buzz from fans and critics alike, I wasn’t sure what to expect with the new album. Today, I got that answer and it’s left me with many questions for those who’ve had complaints about sound of it.
Let start with the what I’ve heard loudly from many fans, the complaints that In Flames has lost their edge. I don’t hear that at all. I hear and band that’s poured their hearts into an album that reflects them personally and feel the vulnerability in the music. I get where some fans may not enjoy some of the elements they hear like the electronica bits in “All The Pain”. The folk feel to “Stay With Me”. The slower, melodies in “Follow Me” and even the push and pull of heavy tracks to slower tempo’d melodic tracks. I think what many fans are making judgement on are the singles they’ve heart thus far. But when you wrap the entire album up in entirety and play the album from beginning to end, it’s stunning.
Watch the official video for “Burn”
The guys have written so many albums in their 20+ years together. Through members coming and going, there’s been different influences in each album as the band has evolved and different writers have been involved. So of course their sound would organically change, shift and progress. I for one appreciate what ‘I, The Mask’ has to offer listeners. It shows the fans a different style in writing, while maintaining the always reliable clean and screaming vocals matched with incredible music instrumentals. I actually enjoyed just following along without any expectations and being quite surprised with the direction they went musically.
So getting down to the nitty gritty of the album tracks. What are fans going to get? Well the first 4 tracks “Voices”, “I, The Mask”, “Call My Name” and “I Am Above” are so heavy, I don’t get how anyone can say In Flames has lost their heavy edge! Especially with “I Am Above”, my absolute FAVORITE track on the album. It’s the one that the hair on my arms stood straight up while listening to it, then sent the chills through me. Such epic, angry vocals then the heavy as hell and glorious guitar solo. Match it with then insanity of the bass and drums, MY FAVORITE track on ‘I, The Mask’!
Watch the official video for “I Am Above”
As you reach track 5, “Follow Me”, the album shifts into a slow down with a haunting opening to this slower yet still heavy melodic track. It gives the listeners the push and pull through the entire track. A little slow down, then a little burst of energy and anger, then slides back into the melodic bridge. Although it slows and shifts directions, it’s amazing and don’t miss the solo! The next 3 tracks that follow do a bit of this as well then once you get to “Burn”, the guys rip the album open again with manic, angry vocals and intense tempos. It’s raw, it’s angry.
The last 3 tracks of the album, slow it down again, but still with the push and pull of heavy, slow, angry and melodic. There’s something for every fans to enjoy and to appreciate in what In Flames has down with ‘I, The Mask’. To me, I find it to one of their best albums in a while. It was a little unexpected, but still true to who they are as musicians. I prefer musical journeys that introduce something new, but at the same time still hold something familiar and that’s just what ‘I, The Mask’ does. So BRAVO to In Flames for knowing who they are and writing what they feel. I never have expectations for them when they put out a new album, I just go in with an open mind and let them take me on their journey.
Give the album a full spin. A few more times if you fall into the group that doesn’t appreciate what the band has done. Really, truly listen to what they have done. I think once you really try it out, you will get what they’ve done and grow to appreciate it as well.
In Flames is currently in the USA on tour with Within Temptation. Make sure to catch them live!
I, The Mask Tracklisting:
I, The Mask
Call My Name
I Am Above
(This Is Our) House
We Will Remember
In This Life
All The Pain
Stay With Me
In Flames are:
Anders Fridén | Vocals
Björn Gelotte | Guitar
Niclas Engelin | Guitar
Bryce Paul Newman | Bass
Tanner Wayne | Drums