In Flames - Down, Wicked & No Good album review
Sweden’s melodeath mavens fail to cover themselves in glory
Cover versions present a dilemma: does a band put its mark on a song, exercising creativity that might better be reserved for writing? Or do they retain what they liked about it, rendering the enterprise pointless? A good cover breathes life into the original, but for every Hurt there’s a hundred screamo takes on Taylor Swift. In Flames add little to the debate here, confirming that faithful cover versions can be great, or a total waste of time. Their run at Depeche Mode’s It’s No Good is brilliant, brimming with gothic claustrophobia and translating the original’s synth lines to sharp guitars. But Alice In Chains’ Down In A Hole and Chris Isaak’s Wicked Game do little but demonstrate that Anders Fridén’s accent is oddly distracting when he isn’t singing his own lyrics. And including a cover-of-a-cover in Johnny Cash’s take on Hurt is strangely meta. It’s all just a bit superfluous.