In a message board thread a few years back, people argued that if Metallica really wanted to challenge themselves they would choose bands like Opeth, Morbid Angel or Vader, and not Godsmack, to support them on tour. While In Flames weren't mentioned as candidates, they should've been.

On the evidence of 'Come Clarity', the Gothenburg quartet are at the point where Metallica were 20 years ago: big but on the brink of something far bigger and not compromising on their sound.

Copied by countless bands across the world and renowned as an outfit that can move in and out of styles from album to album, 'Come Clarity' eases back on the experimentation and is a return to the punishingly heavy.

The results are both sublime and predictable. In Flames can teach plenty about playing fast and ferocious; whether they can learn anything new about it themselves at this point is a different matter.

The likes of 'Take This Life' and 'Versus' are as good as you'll hear in the genre, but more melody and risks feel like the way to go. As their collaboration with singer Lisa Miskovsky on 'Dead End' shows, often the most memorable moments are the most unpredictable.

There's no doubt that 'Come Clarity' does everything it set out to do; there's also no doubt In Flames can better it in the future.

Harry Guerin