A week or two ago, Jon reviewed the new In Flames album, and favourably too. He called the album “suitable for rock radio”, and was relatively happy with it.
With all due respect to Jon, I must disagree. The new In Flames album is awful.
Having stripped away anything that made In Flames In Flames, the new album bears absolutely no resemblance to the band that recorded Lunar Strain.
And it’s not surprising, either. After all, the band has gone through a complete lineup change to the point that no original members remain. That begs the age-old philosophical question: if the original lineup of In Flames reunited, legal rights aside, which would be the true In Flames?
No, the modern band we now call In Flames should never have happened.
But somewhere, in an alternate universe, things were different. Founding members Jesper Stromblad and Glenn Ljungström never left In Flames. The band never hired singer Anders Fridén. And the band In Flames continued to make music that’s worth listening to.
Until we discover a way to travel between dimensions, we’ll never get to see it. But what we get must be just as good.
The true heart and soul behind In Flames, Jesper Stromblad, is no longer a member in the band. Having moved on once he realized Anders was more interested in writing commercial radio rock than anything resembling metal, he decided to form a new band, The Resistance.
And who did he recruit for the band? None other than In Flames founding guitarist Glenn Ljungstrom. The two of them are responsible for In Flames’ most memorable guitar work, on their first three albums. To round out The Resistance’s all-star lineup they recruited Marco Aro, former vocalist of The Haunted, and drummer Christofer Barkensjö, who’s played with Nightrage, Carnal Forge, Grave, Repugnant, and a number of other big names in Swedish death metal.
Key phrase there: Swedish death metal. Though Aro’s vocals are in more of a “tough guy hardcore” style which I’ve never been fond of, the band more than makes up for it with its musical prowess.
The album’s opening track, “Clearing the Slate”, is a perfect metaphor for Stromblad’s career. He’s been responsible for some of the best albums in the world of Swedish death metal, and he was also on board as his band sold out harder than almost any metal band ever has. But put all that behind you, because this is a new chapter in Stromblad’s career.
And though it still has the same distinct Gothenburg sound Stromblad helped found, it’s something fresh and different.
And it’s a hell of a lot better than anything In Flames has done, with or without him, in a very long time. Glad to have you back in the metal world, Jesper.