After the release of “Colony” and subsequently having it grow on me like a nasty strain of the Ebola virus, I became an In Flames freak and tracked every trace of albums I could find by the band. Now, speaking as one who has heard every bit of their material, I’m telling you to seek out “Clayman” and buy it wherever you see it. “Colony” was a very innovative and mature work from a damn near revolutionary band last year, containing insanely catchy grooves from one of my all-time favorite guitarists, Jesper Stromblad. Anders Friden, formerly of Dark Tranquility before joining In Flames for “Whoracle,” has one of the most interesting voices in metal today – just listen to the tracks “Only For the Weak” and bruising opener “Bullet Ride” to understand what I’m talking about. His mellower, almost spoken-word softer passages are haunting in a quietly brooding way, but when the choruses crescendo, get ready for a demonic vocal assault, just as you’ll recognize from “Colony.” Friden’s voice hasn’t changed a bit – it’s just gotten better for this album. So no worries about commercial sellouts, catering to the radio or MTV or letting any fans down whatsoever. Overall, there’s really not a bad song to be found on “Clayman,” just as with “Colony.” Highlughts include “Bullet Ride,” “Only for the Weak,” “Swim,” and the title track. Fans of the band’s previous effort will be delighted to hear that nothing has changed with the band’s sound; as the first few seconds of “Bullet Ride” will alleviate any fears of In Flames going the Paradise Lost path and turning into Depeche Mode incarnate. (Though there IS a short segment of a techno-ish drum machine in “Bullet Ride” which is really not needed, but believe me, this album is so good I have no room to complain.)Just as I said with “Colony” – if you’re a metal fan, whether it’s black metal, death, grind, hardcore, thrash, whatever you’re into – “Clayman” will satisfy any expectations you have for it. Hail to In Flames!