In Flames indulge themselves in a selection of covers that almost seem like they were penned by the Gothenburg five-piece themselves. Opening the EP is Depeche Mode’s sensational ‘It’s No Good‘ which much like a moth to a glowing ember flame, pulls you in with an infectious muted darkness that pulses beneath the audio night sky vocals of Anders (Fridén). DM has a knack for creating a beautiful sonic landscape of melody and darkness to which the guys pull off, all the while injecting their own DNA into it.
Next up is Alice In Chain’s classic ‘Down In a Hole‘ which gets an organic and delicate remodel that gushes with depth and respect for the iconic masters of dark melody. Known to us all as one of AIC’s precious gems, In Flames explore their gentle side with this attempt and give plenty of room for their own twist and flavour, which flickers throughout, slowly flourishing into a heartfelt homage to one of the worlds most cherished anthems. Again, Anders handles the vocals with careful pauses and an equilibrium of his own God-given talent fused with a sensitive admiration for the late great Layne Staley.
A personal favourite of mine, “Wicked Game” brings a new perspective on this Chris Isak classic. Whoever remembers the 1990 David Lynch classic “Wild at Heart‘ will no doubt know that this was the track that propelled Chris Isak into the stratosphere (for a moment) has been covered a multiple of times by many bands including HIM back in 97′.
With a slower and more subtle approach to the arrangement, this attempt brings a ghostly presence to the forefront and allows the piano melody to breath with ease as the layered vocal melody leads you through a ghost town of memories and forgotten encounters, which is exactly the premise that Isak was reaching for himself. Not quite as satisfying as the original, but a strong and infectious effort all the same.
Closing this short affair is the anthemic ‘Hurt‘ which not only catapulted NIN’s into the mainstream but also regenerated the last stretch in Jonny Cash’s impressive career thanks to his tear-jerking rendition under the gauze of infamous producer Rick Ruban.
Not forgetting the origin of the track, In Flames follow in the footsteps of the mastermind that is Trent Reznor’s, creating a familiar atmosphere that ticks all the boxes regardless of this version being a live recording. Anders gives a heartfelt performance here (as with all tracks on the EP) that encapsulates just the right amount of emotion without overdoing it.
I’m sure naysayers will find fuel here to bitch and moan, however, ‘Down, Wicked & No Good‘ shows an undeniable level of talent from a group of guys that want to pay homage to some of their own idols and why the fuck not? More power to them! 3.5/5
In Flames, ‘Down, Wicked & No Good‘ is out today (November 17th) via Nuclear Blast. Get your copy via this link.
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