Review by Death8699 on July 2, 2019.
I'd have to say that this is a "happier" sounding In Flames piece of work. The riffs are much better than they were on Colony. They're heavier, more memorable, better constructed, and everything seemed to fit better song-wise on this release. It's less aggressive as I stated, but that doesn't take away from the magic that this album portrays. Similar lyrical topics i.e. astronomy and fantasy, yet they blended well with the guitar. This release is anything but half assed.
The production quality is also much better than their previous releases especially the bass guitar. They do a little more experimenting on this album, but it doesn't take away from the overall release as a whole. The guitars again are tuned way down and are thick with heavy distortion. They do incorporate some clean guitar parts on here, not overly much though. Their melodic death roots are heavily portrayed here and that I can't stress enough.
It's a less aggressive album than their previous releases even with Anders screams, they're not as intense and more clearly heard out which makes it easier to make out what he's saying. This one has to be a favorite of theirs because of their innovation and creativity/experimentation on here. Again, there are harsh and clean vocals. However, for the most part, Anders' screaming is as I've stated less intense and fits the music perfectly. This to me is their last monumental release. Everything afterwards doesn't sound like them at all.
Out of all In Flames albums I've heard in the past, this one has definitely the best overall production quality. Nothing is left out i.e. none of the instruments are poorly mixed in together and everything seems so balanced. To me, it's an album that I can't really get sick of. Other critics may disagree, but I'd have to say that every song on here deserves praise. "Brush the Dust Away" is probably my favorite track, but like I said, all of the songs are good. It's actually a release that you can appreciate every time that you hear it. It's anything but dark and depressing. A very good vibe to each song and the guitars is so superb. I'm surprised that they were actually able to write all of the material on this album within about a year's time.
The deluxe edition features some bonus tracks and other material. If you want something to put you in a good mood, then listen to this album. Like I previously said, it's their "happier" version of melodic death. Nothing falls short here and all of the melodies are just perfect. A challenge to play these riffs if you're a guitar player. They are once again lower tuning and the lead guitar work is amazing. I'd have to say a lot of preparation and getting things exact on this recording.
Tremendous musicianship on this album and the most memorable songs that they could have entrenched on here. If you like melodic death metal, then pick this one up ASAP. It really is amazing, I'd say the best work that they could have ever done. Nothing disturbs me here, it's just everything after this album that is the pits. That's why I stressed their abandoning the melodic death roots really turned me off on this band. Instead of continuously getting better and better with each release, they threw it all away with their newer style.
Rating: 9.5 out of 10
Review by Tobias on March 15, 2001.
Before I gush, I want to tell you that I first listened to this at my other job. I was wondering how I’d rank this up against Gardenian’s Sindustries. Then I got home and I listened to it loud….
I have since then acquired $8000 dollars in collectibles from eBay, including Anders Friden underoos, an In Flames lunchbox and Clayman cologne, and I have painted the Clayman cover art on the front doors of my house; I expect to be dead by my wife’s hand tomorrow morning.
This album is immortal. It is a Titan, the likes of which has only been previously attempted by bands such as Dark Tranquility, but none had the intensely vast vision of guitarist Jesper Stromblad… and none were as successful as Clayman.
This album opens up with the neck-breaking Bullet Ride, which is already turning into a classic among die-hard fans. This is followed by the two tracks (Pinball Map, Only For The Weak) that are the most easily marketable due to their massive, jaw-dropping, melodic chorus arrangements.
One of the best tracks that has been overlooked by many (particularly according to fan polls at http://www.InFlames.com) is Square Nothing; a blazing claymore of introspection.
I suppose I could prattle and profess my undying love about every track, but let me get back to the big picture here. The deathly blade-strokes of Anders Friden’s voice combined with his monsterously powerful chorus arrangements make for the most badass beast among all melodic death metal vocalists. The razor sharp honing over the years of Bjorn Gelotte and Jesper Strombland’s musicianship is the godly crème metal has needed for years.
This album is as important as Reign In Blood.
Bottom Line: This album will make you feel as if you are leading an army of immortals on an uphill charge against the enemy, beating their asses every step of the way. Flat out Godly.
Rating: 10 of 10