In Flames - Foregone review
|Release date:||February 2023|
01. The Beginning Of All Things
02. State Of Slow Decay
03. Meet Your Maker
04. Bleeding Out
05. Foregone Pt. 1
06. Foregone Pt. 2
07. Pure Light Of Mind
08. The Great Deceiver
09. In The Dark
10. A Dialogue In B Flat Minor
12. End The Transmission
One small step for man, one big step for mankind.
Picking up a new In Flames album has long been met with trepidation rather than excitement, wondering what lows they will plummet to rather than what heights that they can reach. While they have taken small steps in the right direction, they're still far from their best. It is with Foregone that the band have made a meaningful stride back onto the path of quality. Perhaps rejuvenated by the process of re-recording and releasing Clayman 2020 or the recruitment of Chris Broderick on guitar, In Flames have seemingly found a balance between their roots, and the path the band have taken in recent years, culminating with Foregone.
Foregone isn't the hero's welcome many would have hoped, with it serving merely as a consolidation of In Flames's post-Come Clarity stylistic shift rather than an embrace of their previous Gothenburg sound. With this in mind, Foregone is the best album since Sounds Of A Playground Fading, and one that seemingly makes sense of the albums since, learning from their many, many mistakes.
"State Of Slow Decay" and "Meet Your Maker" raise hopes and expectations, two of the better and hard-hitting songs In Flames have released in several years, before "Bleeding Out" raises the bar further (even with the Matt Tuck chorus vocals). While it peaks early, there are still enjoyable tracks to be had throughout the rest of the album, the hard-hitting "The Great Deceiver" and the oddly named "A Dialogue In B Flat Minor" ensuring the album is not front-loaded.
Broderick's impact is felt immediately, with the guitar riffs and solos being a big upgrade on the band's more recent work. The traditional In Flames tone is still present, keeping the charm and familiar feel running through the diverse collection of tracks, with Wayne's understated, yet impressive drum work on tracks like "Cynosure" adding depth to the music.
It is then that we see the other side of the coin, one heavily foreshadowed earlier on; for all that Foregone has improved upon, it is still an average album when looked at as a whole. The theme of improvement is perhaps the crux of the issue with Foregone, one that, depending on which side of the topic you sit, will determine how enjoyable the album is. As much as Foregone improves upon their recent work, it is a relatively low bar to surpass, meaning an average album looks good in comparison. Much of Foregone isn't bad, it just isn't great (see "Pure Light Of Mind" or "In The Dark" as examples). The songwriting lacks the killer hooks that the band built their reputation upon; much of the album melds together, as it is not punctuated by enough strong and identifiable moments on a regular basis.
Fridèn's vocals have long been an acquired taste, and it is no different here. While Fridèn was one of the best growlers in melodeath, he is not the best clean vocalist, nor one who separates himself from the metalcore competition, with his performance on "In The Dark" being, well, average. While In Flames have honed their chosen style, it is one that isn't very engaging, nor one that isn't done better by other bands. Foregone lacks much in the way beyond name recognition to give you a reason to listen to the album on a regular basis, especially when you consider what other bands are doing in the genre.
Foregone is a big step for In Flames, but a small step for metalkind.
||Written on 16.02.2023 by|
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