Almost a decade ago, InMe burst onto the British rock scene with their explosive brand of metal infused emo rock as teenagers, on their impressive debut album Overgrown Eden. Since then, the tags of "bright new hope" and "your new favourite band" have worn off. The following three albums, impressive as they may be, were seemingly a case of diminishing returns with InMe slowly dropping off the radar. Phoenix, a collection of 12 songs from their back catalogue coupled with three brand new tracks is as good a way as any to re-introduce yourself to a band who - almost a decade on - still sound as fresh faced and youthful as they ever did.
All the big radio singles are on show here: Overgrown Eden's Underdose and Crushed Like Fruit as well as Faster The Chase and Safe in a Room from the follow up album White Butterfly. These songs are still as anthemic as they ever were, with crushing riffs that Helmet would be proud of sitting next to huge choruses that Muse would have killed for when they still rocked.
This collection also showcases some deeper cuts from the InMe catalogue like the wistful acoustic strains of Thanks for Leaving Me and the epic orchestral All-Terrain Vehicle. This collection shows just how much this band have evolved over their career, and that the later songs, although not receiving the same level of public attention as their debut did, are still just as powerful.
The three new tracks on this collection are well worth a listen as well. Bury Me Deep Beneath Your Skin opens up with a bizarre electro section before going into one the most brutal and technical riffs of InMe's career. The instrumental section in the middle is just as riffy and technical, showing growth in the band members' technical abilities as players. Thanks for Believing Me is like an even more mellow cousin to Thanks for Leaving Me. It is soft rock at its best, although it really isn't anything you haven't heard before. The chorus is undeniably catchy and heart-breaking though. The album finishes on a final new song: Saccharine Arcadia. This begins with another typically heavy drop-D riff, with a calm before the storm verse leading into a brutal and epic chorus with beautiful harmonised guitars and one of the most passionate vocal takes in the InMe back catalogue. Too many bands take releasing a retrospective as an excuse to put out the odd filler track (Door to the River from The Manic Street Preachers' Forever Delayed collection springs to mind); not InMe - they used the opportunity to put out three brilliant tracks worth the asking price of the full CD alone. This is evidence of a band firing on all cylinders once again.
As if the quality of the music wasn't enough, each song is accompanied by some brief liner notes describing where the song came from and how it earned its place on this collection. They make for a very personal and occasionally funny read. As a collection, Phoenix works as an introduction (or re-introduction) to a great band still at the top of their game. If you are a die-hard InMe fan, the three new songs are well worth a listen.