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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
In Flames
Come Clarity
Ferret Music

Rating: 8/10 ?


April 14, 2006
After teetering on the brink of boy-band-emo since 2000's Clayman, In Flames have made the rather transparent pretense of throwing their newbie fans under the bus in this go-round, to the delighted schadenfreude of their death metal base. Oddly enough, more than a few melody-enhancing devices have stuck around, belying the facade from song one, and in the process some long-overdue evolutionary steps are being taken in the name of the genre (whether the style receiving this overhaul is emo or thrash could be claimed by either side).

What's known is this: in and around Anders Friden's polecat screamo yowling there are actual notes being sung, many of them genuinely ear-sticky, sometimes clumping together to form chorus-type thingies that sound neither like Thursday dittoheadedness nor the half-hearted risks taken by cliquey math-metal bandwagon-jumpers like - oh, you know the roster by now. As Theory of a Deadman-heavy as "Take This Life" is, "Leeches" pushes the arena-rock envelope, looking toward mummified spandex rockers like Quiet Riot for a vocal sound that's the reinvention of sliced bread after all the Lits and Simple Plans that've clogged up the works. Why no one else is doing this - if only to give modern headbangers a legitimate reason to buy CDs - really is a stumper.

Actually, that's a bit harsh. As alt-rock's stock has tanked in a post-90s world, metal's has risen. In Flames aren't the only rivetheads getting positive underground feedback these days; Sunn0))) - and this is the last I'll babble about them, honest, since I'm still squinting hard to find just one reason for all the hubbub - and a slew of others are doing the doom-ambiance thing, Asguard has put out a couple of wildly intricate (and hilarious) black/death hybrid albums, and the game's afoot to arm more bands with synthware, about bloody time. Crews like Sword and Ensoph are chucking the whole Sleep thing overboard to redo Sabbath as it's supposed to be done, the former with the base sound, the latter with - can our McBrains take it - actual jazz, like in Sabbath's debut.

Don't get too excited for the genre though. Minhags of mediocrity are still etched in stone (labels to remain nameless until I get really sick of all their shit), but it's encouraging to watch some of these bands maturing and actually feeling pressure to feed their families, necessity being the mother of yadda yadda. In Flames, though still a work in progress, is going to be one of the high-divers, no question.

Reviewed by Eric Saeger
An LAS staff writer based in New Hampshire, Eric Saeger was named alt.flame\'s Newbie of the Year in 2000.

See other reviews by Eric Saeger

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