Clayman (20th Anniversary Edition)

Clayman (20th Anniversary Edition)

To commemorate the 20th anniversary of their revered fifth album Clayman, Swedish metal veterans In Flames have unveiled a remastered version that also includes complete re-recordings of four of the album’s most popular songs plus an all-new instrumental medley. “We’ve never celebrated one of our albums like this before,” vocalist Anders Fridén tells Apple Music. “Usually we only remember the anniversary of a record when a fan tells us at a show, so we’ve always missed opportunities.” Generally speaking, Fridén is against the idea of re-recording old material, but he made exceptions for Clayman staples “Bullet Ride,” “Pinball Map,” “Only for the Weak,” and the title track—partly because he and guitarist Björn Gelotte are the only members still in the band from Clayman’s original 2000 release. “When you create an album, it’s like a time capsule,” he says. “You shouldn’t go back and try to recreate it. But we wanted to do something more than the usual remaster, so we decided to re-record the songs with the guys who are in the band today.” Here he talks about the recordings—new and old—for this edition. Bullet Ride “For me, it’s very important to create a whole album that fits together, and ‘Bullet Ride’ is a great opening. Apparently we love it, because we still play it live and it goes down really well. Lyrically, the whole album is me dealing with someone who is at the end of a long, long relationship and trying to get a grip of him- or herself and the world around them. ‘Bullet Ride’ is where you realize you're at the end but don't want to admit it.” Pinball Map “We did a video for this song when the album was originally released 20 years ago, and it’s one of the worst videos in the history of heavy metal, I think. I don’t know what we were thinking. But the song has to do with wondering what the future is going to be like. Are you happy that you’re uncertain what’s going to happen, or would you want to know what the future is going to be like and who is guiding you and what is driving you? And now we’ve got a new video for the song with retro-type art and an old-school vibe. It’s a million times better than the first one.” Only for the Weak “Some people tend to get angry if we don’t play this live, even though we’ve played it like a million times and we’d think you guys would be tired of it and would want to hear some new songs, but no—‘Play this!’ In Europe when we play these huge festivals, you look out and see a sea of people going crazy for this song. It’s a fantastic feeling. We played a festival in Gothenburg that was on a big pier next to a bridge. I think there were 30,000 people there and everybody was jumping, so the earthquake alarm went off on the bridge. They actually had to move the festival to a different location the next year. So this song can close down festivals—it’s that heavy!” ...As the Future Repeats Today “I’ve always said that we’re not a political band at all, but this to me has more of a political theme than most of the songs on the album—‘Swim’ is the other one. But if I read these lyrics and look at the world situation today, it’s like I’m a seer or whatever you call it. It’s kind of crazy. We’re supposed to learn from history, but apparently we don’t. I hope the young people today, when they become leaders, actually remember these times and change things. I’m kind of scared for my own kids, you know? COVID aside, there’s so much shit going on. People are suffering left and right. It’s insane.” Square Nothing “I think that the title speaks for itself, like where you try to do better but you end up at the beginning or it does nothing—nothing will become better. It goes back to what I said before about learning from your mistakes, but that was more on a global level. Do you actually do it within yourself as well? You kind of have to go back to the very beginning to build something new, and you shouldn’t fight it. It’s easy to deny your demons or your faults, but you have to feel them up close to learn and become a better person.” Clayman “This song is what I’m talking about all the time on this album, but in different words and different music. The ‘Clayman’ is someone who is just trying to fit in and cope with the world outside. You’re falling apart but at the same time you don’t want to look like a weak person to the outside world, so you adapt to the situation. You’re carrying a lot of sadness, guilt, anger—whatever—and it doesn’t do you any good. Like in ‘Square Nothing,’ you have to admit that to yourself. But in ‘Clayman’ I’m talking about that person who’s trying to adapt, so the one you see in the mirror is not really you.” Satellites and Astronauts “I think I wanted a lot for this song when we recorded it. At that point in my life, I didn't sing—I was more of a screamer than a singer. And it was a ballad-esque type of song, so I think it was tough to do the music justice—it was a little bit of a struggle. But looking back at the result, I like it. The song kind of talks about how you need to travel far to look back at your mistakes and realize they are not as big in perspective. That’s something, maybe, we need in humanity. We are working our asses off to justify certain things, but we’re just this little dot in the universe.” Brush the Dust Away “I don’t really remember this song. I mean, I remember the song itself, but I can’t remember recording it. I don’t think we ever played it live, to be honest, so that’s maybe why it kind of disappears. Also, it’s been a lot of beers while we were recording this album, so there might be a song here and there that’s just a little bit intoxicated. So I don’t really know what to say about this one.” Swim “I love this one. To me, it’s a perfect In Flames song. We don’t play it live that often, but I think it has everything that In Flames stands for—the melody, the aggression, the dynamics, everything. It’s one of those songs that is political without trying to be political. It’s not Rage Against the Machine political, and I don’t feel I want to be part of that debate, but it’s a reflection of the time. In the song, I’m saying that we’re the leaders of our time, we’re heading for a downfall, and we’re at the threshold of revolution.” Suburban Me “This is another one that I don’t really remember because we don’t really play it live, but I do remember that Chris Amott did a solo on it that’s really good. Obviously, we knew him from Arch Enemy, and he was playing in a band called Armageddon as well. I helped record that band when I was working in the studio, so we were friends, and he’s an amazing guitar player. It was cool to have a different flavor from [former In Flames guitarist] Jesper [Strömblad] and Björn, just to give a twist to the song. I remember being in awe when he was doing his solo. For him it was probably super easy, but for us it was like, ‘Whoa. Holy shit.’” Another Day in Quicksand “This is the end of the album, and that’s how it feels at the end of a relationship. You come to terms with that—it won’t go anywhere—and you just end up in quicksand. If you stay longer, you’re going to drown, and the more you fight it, you’re going to drown. It’s just better ended, and you feel like you’re fading away.” Themes and Variations in D-Minor “When we decided to do this anniversary edition, we didn’t want to re-record every single song, because that was never the point and it felt unnecessary. But we have Johannes Bergion, who has been playing cello with us live for some time now, doing his interpretation of some of the riffs [from the album] that he likes and giving them a different twist. Björn is playing some guitar on there as well, but it’s basically someone else’s—someone that knows us—take on our music from the album we are celebrating.”

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