With a new In Flames album comes a certain level of fan animosity, some feeling that the band expanding their sound is alienating the original sound of In Flames and the others see it as a band that’s progressive and pushing the envelope into the Metal ethos.
Still with each new album comes this debate and the aptly named `Battles` their 13th studio album, an unlucky number for some, extremely lucky for others, it all depends on which circles you travel in. That pretty much sums up In Flames, both loved and loathed for the same reasons.
So does `Battles` return In Flames back to their melodic death roots or is it another push into the foray which they have been pursuing especially over the past decade?
`Battles` is very much In Flames in 2016 and shows their progressive departure from Gothenburg Death Metal titans to much more of an arena heavy band with big catchy choruses, easy to sing along to parts.
`Drained` opens up the album- pretty much the overall sound of the album, chucking chunky riffs throughout the verses and Anders voice is pretty gritty however not as deep or guttural maybe this assists with the transition to the cleaner choruses, which might is the ultimate goal for Anders. After all voices change over time, look at Lemmy, did he sound like Lemmy from Motorhead in Hawkind yeah kind of but still it changed over time to become more gruff.
`The End` is one of major singles which really does showcase the album as a whole especially the more melodious aspects, the riffs are a lot lighter in tone than on `Drained` and certainly this one will be played live as it really has that sing along atmosphere that In Flames are pushing especially with the added vocal parts that make it sound huge. It’s a huge track, expansive, everything sounds prime and ready for a 10,000 seater.
This is pretty much the staple for the album as a whole from `Like Sand` through to `Wallflower` and `Save Me`, you’re going to get a lot of very similar sounding songs, very expansive, huge sounding and progressive for what In Flames were known for. Now is going to hamper their future endeavours, well this is the way they’ve been going for a number of years now so a few keyboard warriors aren’t going to stop them doing what they want and for that they should be commended.
Ok, so let’s get this sorted for all the die-hard In Flames that wish their beloved would go back to how the band begun, this won’t be for you. In Flames have evolved into a more expansive areas and as a and certainly if you look at it from a several points it makes sense, firstly expanding their audience base, within `Battles` there are plenty of heavy moments, heavy riffing and gritty vocals for `Battles` to not be eaten up by the masses, yet `In Flame` are never shy of doing what they want, however they damn well choose and certainly this is a very “metal” outlook on life. There’s a huge amount of cleaner vocals, coupled with big hooks, catchy choruses that are destined to go down a treat when they hit the arenas. Perhaps they are looking to their influences like the Maiden’s and the Priest’s that fill arena’s with big songs yet I suppose the major difference here is that In Flames have dramatically distanced themselves from their roots.
6.5/10- In Flames stretch further away from their roots, yet the transition to an arena band is in full swing.
Stand out tracks:
`The End`, `Like Sand` and `Wallflower`
2. The End
3. Like Sand
4. The Truth
5. In My Room
6. Before I Fall
7. Through My Eyes
9. Here Until Forever
10. Underneath My Skin
12. Save Me
In Flames on the net: