In Flames - Colony
Nuclear Blast
Melodic Death Metal
11 songs (41:35)
Release year: 1999
In Flames, Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by Dylan
Archive review
If you get into a discussion (or sometimes a very heated throat-shredding argument) about In Flames, I can almost guarantee you that three albums will be mentioned to support your argument of why they are one of the best melodic death metal bands around, or why they are horribly overrated and have been losing a lot of steam in recent years. The first album that will be mentioned is the one that all of their other work seemingly gets judged against: The Jester Race. A fantastic display of instrumentation heavily influenced by power metal, yet with the guitar tone and vocal style of a death metal band. Sure it was done before, and has been far beyond overdone since then, but it seemed like a really cool mix of styles when it first came out. The next landmark for In Flames came in 2000 with Clayman. The tempos slowed down, the production was huge, the band began experimenting with synthesized keyboards, and Anders Fridén began to show more variety in his vocal style, even throwing some clean vocals in a few of the choruses. It was a big success, and a big turning point in the band’s sound.

Then in 2004, in Flames pretty much doused themselves in gasoline and gave detractors a box of matches when they released Soundtrack To Your Escape. By now, the riffs were much simpler, Fridén’s vocals sounded way too vulnerable for a metal band, the riffs seemed to rely far too heavily on down-tuned chugging, and all of the melodic moments seemed to lie within the very prominent keyboard work. The band has since redeemed themselves (at least in my ears) with Come Clarity, but there is one album that has seemingly received the least attention from both fans and opponents, yet deserves the most praise and recognition. As you could probably guess, that album is the one time in In Flames’s ever-growing discography where everything was in perfect balance, and the piece of work that I am speaking of is Colony.

Colony always seemed like a mix of the best parts of The Jester Race and Clayman to me. On one hand, you have the fantastic riffs and melodies rolling off of Jesper Strombland’s and Bjorn Geolette’s fingers that are reminiscent of the former album, combined with the heavy mass and anthemic style of the former. The production makes every instrument shine, rumble, and punch with the best of them. This is about as huge and clear as a band can sound without coming off as sterile. This album was also the turning point for the aforementioned Geolette, for he was moved to guitar duties, while Daniel Svensson was brought in to take over the drums, and has remained a permanent member ever since. As for Fridén, he never has never sounded as fierce as he did before, or after this album. His mid-range scream is the tone of choice for his lyrical delivery, but on songs like Embody The Invisible and (especially) Resin, he pulls some of his deepest grunts out of his gut, resulting in fantastic displays of melodic aggression.

Each song is constructed in a way that makes it easy to latch on to upon first listen, but very difficult to get out of your memory. Except for the mellow interlude in Pallar Anders Visa, they all have tremendously heavy energy, and damn near impeccable musicianship. The solos deserve special mention, for they are among the best In Flames solos of all time, effortlessly weaving between scales that are so well crafted, they could be used for vocal lines. Songs like Coerced Coexistance and Insipid 2000 show the beginnings of Fridén’s use of clean vocals during a chorus, though he (unfortunately) never sounded as aggressive while using this voice as he did on the former. The title track and Ordinary Story are both anthems in their own respect, and are perfect songs for the band to use live. Another notable inclusion is the remake of Behind Space, In Flames’ Angel of Death of sorts. The remake sounds much meatier, but still retains all the qualities that made it such a good track in the first place. If only they could still manage to craft songs like this…

Each track here has something great to offer, though they all need to be played from beginning to end to get a full appreciation out of them all. They all come together to form a very consistent piece of works that packs a heavy punch, but manages to retain a certain sense of elegance in melodic structure that only one of the founders of the Gothenburg genre can manage to pull off. In Flames has managed to create a diverse discography in their long and evolving history, but I still feel that this album was the strongest thing the band has ever put out. Just listen to the short but sweet solo in Scorn, the beautiful interlude in Zombie Inc., or the straightforward aggression of closer The New World and you will understand why these guys helped bring melodic death metal to the masses.
Killing Songs :
Really , all of them.
Dylan quoted 95 / 100
Other albums by In Flames that we have reviewed:
In Flames - Sounds Of A Playground Fading reviewed by Khelek and quoted 55 / 100
In Flames - A Sense Of Purpose reviewed by Chris and quoted 86 / 100
In Flames - The Jester Race reviewed by Adam and quoted CLASSIC
In Flames - Come Clarity reviewed by Jason and quoted 95 / 100
In Flames - Used And Abused: In Live We Trust DVD reviewed by Ben and quoted no quote
To see all 13 reviews click here
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