In Flames has been my favourite melodic death metal band for ages and they are of course one of the pioneers of the Gothenburg sound along with Dark Tranquillity and At the Gates. Their early albums were genre defining and set a whole genre alive. Albums like “The Jester Race” and “Whoracle” are milestones in the genre and many do still consider “Colony” as their opus magnum, because in 2002 their musical journey took them unto new and untested territory; all of a sudden they began a change that not all fans found thrilling.
“Reroute to Remain” was the first album to introduce catchier and more melodic pieces, and even clean vocals… ohh the horror! “Colony” will forever represent the best from their hard and heavy era, while “Reroute to Remain” marks the beginning of a new and to be honest more accessible era, after which the band has grown stronger and stronger.
The albums from 2002 onwards all have the new more alternative and modern In Flames sound, which starts and ends with Anders Fridén’s unique singing style; his clean singing, growling, screams and whispers and his style is in my humble opinion exactly what sets In Flames apart from the rest. Which brings up to 2016 and their new album “Battles”, which is treading new territory again. Dare I call it exploring more pop’ish sounds…?
But fear not, the transition comes naturally and they have integrated the melodies and hooks very well into their well-established sound universe. It feels like a natural transition for them and the blend works, because Anders is still bringing it all together with his unique vocal style.
In Flames proves with “Battles” that it is possible to stay current without repeating themselves. Sure old-school fans might not be as thrilled as I am about their new and more melodic direction, but I think it’s liberating to hear a band in perpetual motion forward and upward.
Best moments: “The End”, “The Truth”, “In My Room” and “Save Me”.
- The End
- Like Sand
- The Truth
- In My Room
- Before I Fall
- Through My Eyes
- Here Until Forever
- Underneath My Skin
- Save Me
Playing Time: 47:45
Release date: November 11, 2016
Label: Nuclear Blast