No more Jesper Strömblad in In Flames? Will that work?
Perhaps it was the subconscious awareness that a founding member of the band is
out, I don't know, but when I first listened to 'A Playground Fading', it
sounded exactly as the album title predicts.
After a series of brilliant albums culminating with the tour de force that is 'A
Sense of Purpose', this new album from one of the most powerful metal combos to
come out of Sweden ever came across as a watered down version of In Flames.
I listened once, I listened twice. And stopped listening. Put it away for two
Then I forced myself to listen again, this time entering into it with the
awareness that I could potentially be disappointed. This time it worked out much
What I heard now was a slightly more complex and demanding album than the past
efforts. An album with more melody and less full-on power, which is probably why
I in the first place couldn't quite 'feel' it.
There is definitely more the investigate and
dive into on this album, more diversity in Anders Fridén's singing, more synths
scattered across the effort, and once you accept that, this is actually a very, very
good album that keeps growing on you.
How this will work in the live setting, I can't tell (having just missed In Flames
playing one of the nearby venues), but I could imagine e.g. some of the more straight-forward
songs like Darker Times or Enter Tragedy to tear some shit up across the live circuits this
Try it, bin it, and then listen again!