Coasting on old sounds and riffs

Sorry, In Flames. I tried really hard, but we grew apart a long time ago.

Last time I listened to this band was on the Come Clarity album, and I can now see why. They just sound like they are coasting on old sounds and riffs.

I believe in a band, as artists, always wanting to challenge themselves. As fans, we should be happy to follow, or step off the crazy train when it gets too much. It is something you are fortunate enough to see a lot of if you are a fan of heavy metal, bands trying things from album to album. Even AC/DC and Slayer tried different things here and there in their storied careers.

But this album, only two tracks in, sounds as bland as every album I have tried to listen to since Come Clarity, like another uninteresting second rate emo/metalcore band, and continues in this fashion until the end save for a few interesting guitar solos peppered throughout. A largely forgettable album.

I don’t like to cast aspersions. As a father, I like to think most music has a place in the world, and stuff like this is good as a gateway to checking out heavier, better music. But there is also so much better that can leave an impression and push people to look into it in both this band’s back catalogue and much other great music, than is presented here.

Perhaps I am being a little harsh, but knowing what this band has done in the past for them to come down to this, just another forgettable emo/metalcore band, saddens me. The only high point is Anders Friden’s vocals; the lyrics themselves are more forgettable, radio friendly, teen angsty stuff. The production, courtesy of Howard Benson, is loud in places and soft in others, and with a high sheen.

I listened to this album several times over the course of a few days, and I just could not believe what I was hearing from a band I once enjoyed. So, I tried to get back on the train after an (admittedly) long time away and it still doesn’t work for me. Nobody should apologise for their taste in art, or the art they perform, but surely In Flames could put a little more effort in, rather than coasting on former glories alone.

1. Drained
2. The End
3. Like Sand
4. The Truth
5. In My Room
6. Before I Fall
7. Through My Eyes
8. Battles
9. Here Until Forever
10. Underneath My Skin
11. Wallflower
12. Save Me