THE HALO EFFECT - Days Of The Lost
September 16, 2022, a year ago
Essential old school In Flames, as 3/5 of the Colony/Clayman line-up have been joined by guitarist Niclas Engelin (a 10 year veteran of the band) and Dark Tranquillity singer Mikael Stanne, who actually sang on the Flames' debut, Lunar Strain. As such, the musical approach shouldn't be too surprising, although Stanne seems to have adopted a more venomous vocal for the ten modern metal selections. Although the lyrics are delivered with a rough edge, there's an inherently strong sense of melody within most tunes. Check out the almost pop-punk sensibilities within the title track and pomp of "The Needless End", as but two examples.
Actually, the first sound heard is the unmistakable low moan of the Aussie Aboriginal instrument, a didgeridoo, gradually morphing into electronic noises and the opening "Shadowminds". As In Flames wrapped up the last millennium, they shelved the speedy Iron Maiden influences and while the creative core here, was also there (back then), The Halo Effect is NOT a return to those days. If there's any similarities, it's to the aforementioned Colony/Clayman period. The sound is busy with the samples and whirling effects that have long been an In Flames trademark.
After a few seconds tease, "Conditional" delivers a vicious, heads down, headbanger. Come the chorus, the ferocity is dialed back, but once the verses kicks back in, so does the vehemence. Stanne offers a clean vocal (alternating with the more blackened throat) for "In Broken Trust". Industrial dance floors across Europe seem to be the target market for "Gateways", a mix of Pain, Rammstein and their former employer. A second stab at sinister/clean singing comes during "A Truth Worth Dying For", but only in the chorus. It ends as a solo strummed acoustic guitar. A bit of an aggro throwback, "Feel What I Believe" charges out of the speakers.
Cello introduces the otherwise pummeling "Last Of Our Kind" (any veiled messages in that title?), which features a guest shouted vocal spot, courtesy of Trivium head honcho/singer/guitarist Matt Heafy. Even without the personnel, couldn't help but feel "The Most Alone" finale wouldn't be out-of-place on any of the last few Dark Tranquillity albums.
Welcome back guys. Could make for some interesting festival pairings in 2023.