Many patriotic metalheads still deem Florida the Land of Supreme Death Metal over Sweden (home of Entombed, At the Gates, Dissection, Unleashed, Edge of Sanity, et. al.), but I say bollocks to that, In Flames' Colony being the final nail in the coffin of the tired debate.
Like fellow Gothenburg-ians past (At the Gates) and present (Dissection), In Flames have risen to prominence as a band that defines the city's extreme music scene, a sort of black/death metal hybrid that's simultaneously more accessible and challenging than any other around. Whereas the preceding Whoracle was a bit wimpish and meandering for die-hard fans' tastes, Colony is sure to rectify any doubts that In Flames is worthy of carrying the city's torch.
On Colony , In Flames injects major doses of '80s power metal (think Iron Maiden or Accept) into its lurch 'n' crunch. Whereas most of the band's contemporaries (namely American ones) flail in the dark for anything resembling a melody, In Flames possesses an innate melodic flair challenged by few, an anthemic sort that incites revelers to burn flags or pump their fists in the air. Keeping with the technical propensity -- doubtless evolving from the previous element -- native to its hometown, In Flames constructs dexterous, mathematical riffs that seemingly collide and congeal with each other, vital cogs in the band's catchy, structured anti-structures that are quite the antithesis of the aimless, ad nauseum riff-fests characteristic to our native, death metal-addled soil. No less the blackened screech, Anders Friden's vocals, a main component in the band's power overload, are thrashing mad instead of just plain thrashing.
Coupled with Entombed's recent works and At the Gates' Slaughter of the Soul , In Flames' Colony will stand as the most evolved, state-of-the-art form of Swedish death metal -- Tampa, shut your mouth, already.
Nuclear Blast America, P.O. Box 43618, Philadelphia, PA 19106; http://www.nuclearblast-usa.com
--Nathan T. Birk