“Sufferings purify the soul”, – that’s the first thought that came to my mind when I listened to In Flames‘ album “Foregone” for the first time. Maybe I’m wrong, but it looks like years of global suffering of the whole humanity had a serious impact on the band, ’cause, you know, many people reconsider their lives in such situations, and In Flames decided to reconsider their creative approach from almost a decade and, finally, turned back to their musical roots. But the most outstanding about this album is that it’s the perfect blend of “new” and “old” In Flames, that exact sweet spot, that will, at long last, please every one
The album begins with an unexpected acoustic tune “The Beginning Of All Things That Will End”, there seem to be some cellos even. The intro’s song mission is, obviously, to amplify the already strong effect of the next song, “State Of Slow Decay”, with its fast and aggressive heavy riffs and the signature death screams of Anders Frieden. In the third song, the groovy “Meet Your Maker”, the tempo slows down a bit, but that’s where we get confirmed that the avalanche of riffs and driving drums form that distinctive soundscape of the whole album, which is shaped into a multilayered metal paradise by a brilliant production.
“Bleeding Out” starts with electronic tunes and a curious dynamic rhythmical pattern, which then develops into something measured and predictable. Clean vocals here prevail and the guitar solo is mind-blowing. This is the first album that In Flames recorded with Chris Broderick being the official member of the band, so he’s responsible for memorable melodic solos on this album.
The previous song was for taking a breath, and so we, accompanied by the rageful blast-beats break into the next one, the first title track, “Foregone Pt 1”. Besides riffs and expressive screaming, this one delivers waltzing chorus, the atmospheric slow bridge with something like waves crashing in the background(which adds volumes to epicness), and the uplifting solo, which sounds like a lighthouse in this storm of doom and desperation. In “Foregone Pt 2” waltzing tempo takes over the whole song, and melancholic acoustic plays an equal role with heavy guitar melodies. I really liked how the chorus is repeated here, interrupting the guitar solo, in the hypnotic swirling way in the closing part of the song.
The melancholic acoustics don’t leave us in the “Pure Light Of Mind” as well. A calm ballad with a catchy and beautifully tragic melody and vocal parts that remind me of Imagine Dragons or something like that. If it were not for some extreme vox here too, it would be a perfect song for the radio. But hey! Remember what I told you in the beginning about the sweet spot between old and new? Don’t forget you had blast-beats a couple of songs ago! All in all, see this song as a time to restore energy for the banger of the year(not kidding!) which is “The Great Deceiver”. The kick-ass energetic beginning escalates with several tempo twists into a breakdown with a solo, and then you even have a small quiet interlude to take a breath. Believe me, you will need this on live shows as you will headbang the heck of yourself during the whole song. And I truly wonder if Joey Tempest liked this song:)
“In The Dark” is an aggressive marching type of song with some haunted sounds heard from the very depth of it. I admired the mechanical rhythm of this one, it truly gives the impression of a soulless machine, thanks to the drums, which set up the tone. And, once again, I can`t help noticing how lushly guitars sound, how visible they are!.. And then goes the nominee for the most intriguing song title, “A Dialogue In b Flat Minor”. The “dialog” starts with a scream and then goes one of my favorite musical moments when something that starts with a slight riff and a beat grows the musical “flesh” and ends up being a piece of great volume and atmosphere. Due to the balanced combination of clean vocals and screams, this song produces the split-personality type of effect. Well, it’s a dialog, after all…
In groovy “Cynosure” the bass-line guides us through the whole song, yet here I’d note the whole rhythm section even. The contrast between a relatively calm verse and a rainstorm-like chorus makes the song even more emotional. And viscous-riffed “End The Transmission” is the very symbolic ending for the album. The song ends all of a sudden, and “Nothing makes sense, and no one is listening” are the very last lines of the song. Sounds bitter at first, but here you can remember that you can start listening to the whole album from the very beginning!
If seriously, to sum up, the whole thing – the album is great. Lyricwise In Flames have never been about unicorns and cotton candy, and so “Foregone” is a typical In Flames album filled with existential questions, gloomy philosophy, and journeys towards the darkest parts of the human’s mind and soul. Musically and vocally “Foregone” delivers everything In Flames have been famous for for decades, and that made them the icons of melodic death metal from the start. But with a slight modern twist here and there.