Already the 13th album by melodic death metal legends In Flames from Götenborg, Sweden! Throughout the years, In Flames have formed the metal scene with their iconic music, going from melodeath to today’s more commercial modern metal. Whenever you hear their more new songs, it’s easy to identify them due to their unique style. I’m talking about emotions, heavy guitar riffs, pounding drums, fast bass lines and on top of that, the voice of lead singer Anders Fridén.
With ‘I, the Mask’, you can expect the same sound as you are used to from In Flames. In great lines, they didn’t change the formula they use to make songs. Though it seems for some of the tracks they went back a bit to their older sound of the ‘Come Clarity’ era. Of course if you compare all the albums together, there’s definitely a musical evolution to be seen.
The album starts of with ‘Voices’. A search through the soul. On your journey finding different voices that guide you to different places in your life. ‘Could you be an angel left in the dark’? ‘Could you be the devil left in my heart’? Next up is the title track ‘I, the Mask’ and brings back an In Flames sound, that combines heavy harshness with melodic catchiness, many fans have longed for. Also the chorus says it all: ‘Who am I? So many faces dressed in rags for all to see. Here I am, in the mask. The Jester that wants to be free’. The album cover puts these words into picture by showing a jester standing in a dark place.
‘Call My Name’ has a lot of frustration and some cool guitar riffs in it. ‘Why don’t you call my name’? Wanting to be with somebody but for some reason you can’t be with that person and it drives you mad.
After ‘Call My Name’, next song ‘I am Above’ seems to be the opposite. Not wanting to be around a person. A person that hurt you. This is another of the tracks that showed that In Flames still could bring up the necessary amount of heaviness and harshness besides melody and catchiness.
‘Follow Me’ surprised me with it’s acoustic intro. this acoustic part is the beating heart of this song and it returns at the end. In the middle the distorted guitars take over. The song talks about going to the light. Being stuck in darkness and holing on to someone who you believe that can take you out.
It becomes clear that this albums subject it thorn between darkness and light. Hiding behind a mask, not being able to be your true self, but wanting to be your true self. You have to find a way to the light. The darkness is about to take over in this album, yet, even if there’s a spark of light, that can get you out. So don’t give up. Dare to take of your mask and show your true self. Says Anders Fridén:
Lyrically, ‘I, The Mask’ is in many ways a social commentary on the state of the world when it comes to isolation, loneliness and the way technology has subverted our need for genuine human connection. “Instead of being connected we divide ourselves into all of these little groups and if you scratch the surface most people’s lives are miserable. I thought about that and how we all carry a mask around and how in our striving to become better, I think we’re actually going backwards. However there is also a level of hopefulness that’s inherent in the sentiment of I, The Mask.
What does this album do to you? I think the message is clear, but the way you take this message is completely up to the person listening to it. Anyhow, a lot of people will recognize themselves in this album and even though it’s okay to feel down, always find the courage to climb back up. I think this album can help with that. For longtime fans of In Flames, it has some real bangers on there finally!
I’m going to leave you alone with the album now.
Release date: March 1st, 2019
Label: Nuclear Blast
02 I, the Mask
03 Call My Name
04 I am Above
05 Follow Me
06 (This is Our) House
07 We Will Remember
08 In This Live
10 Deep Inside
11 All the Pain
12 Stay With Me