This Day In Music History: July 3rd, 2000 – In Flames ends an era with ‘Clayman’

Bob Dylan once said “the times, they are changing”. Or something like that. There’s something particularly interesting about experiencing a final record from one of your favorite bands, before they change their sound around. And when you consider the genre of metal as a whole, there are few places that change is more evident than In Flames. By the time the band released their 2000 album Clayman, they had gained a huge audience in Europe, but hadn’t made the breakthrough to North America and other territories just yet.

Clayman would not quite be that album for In Flames as far as international success, but it did continue to move their popularity needle in a big way. However, it represents the last real melodic death metal effort from them (for a while, anyway) before they seriously switched things up with their next album, the keyboard-heavy Reroute To Remain. They’d become stars abroad with the streamlined shift in sound that was offered throughout the 2000s, which was quite successful for In Flames.

Interestingly, the album, which was released on July 3rd, 2000, remains one of their most focused efforts to date. That’s particularly impressive when you consider that the band has released over a dozen full-length albums over the years. Fourteen, actually. And it’s loaded full of ridiculously huge tracks that almost play out like an In Flames greatest hits record.

There are few better 1-2-3 opening salvos than “Bullet Ride”, “Pinball Map”, and “Only For The Weak”. Instrumentally, they’re a tour-de-force – these songs are some of the most exciting in melodic death metal. Vocalist Anders Friden is also near the peak of his abilities on Clayman, turning already instrumentally brilliant songs like “Only For The Weak” and “Swim” into some of the best the genre will ever see (well, hear). Most of all, Clayman is fun to listen to in a way that many bands of this nature fail to do over an extended runtime.

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