In Flames - _Clayman_
(Nuclear Blast, 2000)
by: Pedro Azevedo (9 out of 10)
_Clayman_ is already In Flames' fifth full-length record, yet they still sound every bit as enthusiastic as before and even more skilled. When a band has such characteristic elements as In Flames' very own blend of melody and aggression, it can quickly become difficult for them to avoid repetition without losing some of the most distinctive elements in their sound. In Flames managed to half-reinvent themselves with _Clayman_ -- not in the sense of such reinvention being desperately needed and having been left half finished, but rather in the sense of again having been able to change enough without changing too much. _Clayman_ still definitely sounds like In Flames, but rhythmically unusual riff patterns do appear, as do rather different keyboard elements occasionally. Vocals have changed as well, having become slightly more screamed and less raspy, which reflects an overall sensible increase in aggression throughout most of the album. Plenty of semi-spoken passages were included as well in order to create some contrast, which the band achieved very well. Without being revolutionary or the greatest album of the year, _Clayman_ is an excellent record that still sounds like In Flames, but a somewhat different In Flames: a band that has kept their style intact while still evolving and exploring, staying as fresh, memorable and energetic as ever.

(article published 12/8/2000)

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