The tomtits review something new!
‘Foregone’ by In Flames (TMR 37)
Environmental apocalypse, nuclear apocalypse, virological apocalypse, A.I. apocalypse. . . Take your pick. Doomsaying is nothing new, but there does seem to be a growing sense that things really are getting worse. And from the sound of In Flames on Foregone, the band’s 15th full-length studio album, the Swedish metal legends are among the pessimists.
For many, it was a foregone conclusion that this one would suck. There’s a consensus that The Jester Race (1996) is one of melodic death metal’s crown jewels, but there’s also a consensus that the band took a wrong turn somewhere around Reroute to Remain (2002) away from tastes great toward less filling. Recent albums such as Battles (2016) and I, the Mask (2019) overshadowed Niclas Engelin’s solid riffs with vocal melodicism. That in itself never bothered the tomtits, but it tended to be a bit much track after track, with some choruses grating every nerve. Those albums needed trimming, but Foregone doesn’t have any obvious choices for the chopping block.
There are even moments when Foregone feels like pre-Reroute releases Whoracle (1997) and Colony (1997). Those moments remind you of why you first fell for melodic death metal, and In Flames above all. Everything locks up, fast and heavy: the riffs driving, the drums driving, the growls angsting, like the band is possessed by Blaine the Monorail on a one-way trip out of Lud. Then there’s the guitar solo on “Bleeding Out,” which sets everything on fire in its first measure. But the Bono-esque cleans are also there. Throw in rad cover art by Blake Armstrong and if you’re still not happy, then you need to get back in touch with your metal roots.
Sure, the lyrics aren’t exactly a handful of uppers. In case you missed it, though, neither is any rational assessment of our current trajectory. Face it, the future is the lovechild of Greta Thunberg and Immortan Joe and we’re the bloodbags. Don’t worry about getting bugs in your grill, though, because there won’t be any left. Until then, celebrate this triumphant release from what used to be your favorite band.
Note: I wrote this for Medium.com. If you are reading this on another platform, it has been pirated. I quit the Medium Partner Program, so I’m not doing this for money. It is nice, however, to know someone’s reading, so please clap or comment to let me know somebody’s out there. Gladius adhuc lucet.