In Flames – A sense of purpose (2008)

Now this is a very hard review for me because IN FLAMES are my favorite band ever! The first metal album I ever listened to was an IN FLAMES album, since then I’m still into IN FLAMES and Metal!

Of course IN FLAMES changed. The guys never wanted to repeat themselves and that’s why you don’t have to expect a melodic death metal album ever again! I’m kinda tired of the people complaining about this.

What IN FLAMES are doing is exactly what a band has to do. Creating new styles instead of repeating them over and over again and finally drowning like other bands! IN FLAMES give new levels to their music with each release. They are an Influence for a lot of other big bands of today!

I won’t talk about the past of the band here, this review is about the present and future of the band, and I guess everyone knows the band.

I was wondering what the guys from Sweden would try on this next album, which is their 9th full length album by the way.

“A sense of purpose”‘s 12 tracks were all recorded in their own “IF Studios” with Daniel Bergstrand who also was produced some of the last works. The production is very good, clearer than on Come Clarity, sometimes less hard, sometimes heavier. Nothing bad I could tell you though! Let’s move on to the artwork done by Alex Pardee, who also did the ‘The used’ artworks. It shows a dude in a labyrinth, searching for the way out and on that way he has to fight against some traps (what you can see in the booklet). I like the artwork, it’s something very different and I like the colours too. On the other hand I do also understand the ones who don’t like it (“OMG! It’s not metal!”). Anyways, the artwork is only one piece of the whole work of an album.

So let’s move on to the music.

The LP has 48mins of playtime. The first song “The mirror’s truth” is also the first single of the album. It’s a perfect song for a single, catchy riff and a full chorus. Second song “Disconnected” starts fast, going straight forward! A break leads into the chorus. Anders sings it very melodic, “I feel like shit, but at least I feel something”. Again, this chorus is very catchy, the song has various parts, changing from fast to mid tempo. “Sleepless again”, the 3rd song on the album, starts with an acoustic guitar. Oh, good old Jester race times right?! Those are leading into a cool riff. IN FLAMES are using more keyboards here, especially in the chorus. A slower part in the middle of the piece gives it more atmosphere, all in all a nice song. “Alias”, a mid tempo song, guitars are tuned very deep and the keys are giving this song a very intense atmosphere. The chorus is very melodic, there are some pop influences here! In the middle of the song IN FLAMES put a very nice acoustic part! “I’m the highway” the fifth song starts with a catchy riff, which I really like. The chorus is played in up tempo by Daniel Svensson (drums) the guitars are nearly not existent and the melody comes from Keys again. Anders sings with clean vocals. This is a weird chorus. I didn’t like it at all first. Besides this, the track is very easy to get into. “Delight and angers” breaks your neck! It’s a mid tempo song again but it has a lot of energy and power! The chorus is a killer! Anders tries to get that melodic screaming voice and in parts like this he has his best moments! “Move through me” begins fast, leads into a slower part, Anders keeps the song alive. The chorus is again an excellent one, “This is a call to aaaaarms!” In the middle parts the guitars are more in th background, giving space to the drums and keys. This song has, like all the previous ones solo parts which remind me of Whoracle and Colony times. Great song! “The chosen pessimist”, 8 minutes long, the slowest song on the album. Anders sings it clean and kinda psycho-like. If you are depressed, don’t listen to this song because it makes you feel even worse, the atmosphere gets you down. On the other side it can also build you up! In the middle of the song it explodes and guitars are destroying the quiet atmosphere. Violins are playing along with the band, the end of the song has a lot of power! Next song starts with up tempo. “Sober and irrelevant” is fast, the chorus is fast too, all in all it’s the fastest song on the album. But still, IN FLAMES manage to change the tempo and put nice breaks and arrangements between the different parts. The guitars on the song “Condemned” are tuned down, the low tempo at the beginning is followed by a faster part. But I don’t like the chorus here. IN FLAMES manage to get all those different parts together but the chorus doesn’t really fit into this song which is sad because the rest is done very well! We are coming to the end of this review: “Drenched in fear” has the guitars of the “Colony” album, the chorus lives with the clean vocals of front man Anders Fridén. Nice one! Last song “March to the shore”. Fast middle parts, mid tempo chorus. The chorus is kind of epic since there are more voices in it. Anders used different ways to sing here. The solo in this song doesn’t really fit, but still, it’s a nice one.

I do like this IN FLAMES album a lot. The band uses a lot of fast middle parts and tried to write full bodied and mid tempo chorus parts. Acoustic parts like in “Alias” or the intelligent use of Keys overall the tracks (without getting annoying) give the songs a new level and make them sound different to previous stuff of the band. You can find a lot of short but nice solos in the tracks, nice breaks and tempo variations. Anders Fridén does an awesome job! His screaming is not as aggressive as on the previous albums though. His voice only has some problems in the melodic “The chosen pessimist”. Daniel Svensson’s drums are more present than on previous works, and the guitars are amazing. Jesper Stromblad and Björn Gelotte are palying with different tunes. This gives the album a lot of new space for new stuff. Unfortunately Peter Iwers always has the part to be ‘only a bass player’. The bass could have been better and way more present.

Call this a good or bad point; you have to give the album a few listens to perfectly recognize the qualities of each song.

The album won’t do much to cheer those up who are already pissed off at the band’s evolution, all other fans will probably like the new album. After a few listens this record starts to get a hold on you, and before you know it it won’t let you go and you will sing along with Anders! You gotta see this for yourself!

On the 3rd of October the band will playat the Atelier! Don’t miss them because it’s probably one of the best live bands ever!

9/10

~ by charly87 on April 23, 2008.

4 Responses to “In Flames – A sense of purpose (2008)”

  1. Having read your review, there are several points that I probably don’t agree with, even though I really like IN FLAMES and they have been in my playlist for the last years. I still liked “Reroute to Remain”, was a bit disappointed by “Soundtrack to your Escape” but then again positively surprised by “Come Clarity”. Now the new album is the first of their records that I’m really disappointed in. After a few listens it gets old, really fast and I don’t feel the kind of challenge when listening to it than I feel with other records. A good album will have something new for you, every time you listen to it. This one however has not, in my opinion. Most of the songs are quite similar and I really start to hate their anthem like choruses. Give it up, you will never EVER recapture “Only for the weak”.
    All in all I like the “Mirror’s Truth” and “Disconnected” but I think it’s sad that the 3 tracks from the EP are better than this whole album.
    I give this album a 5/10 for an average, yet not horrible record, by a band that usually can do so much more.

  2. 9/10 ? I´m surprised🙂

  3. positive or negative?

    between i am surprised too;)

  4. review written by charel? ^^

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