Review Summary: In Flames has been extinguished.
There comes a point in a band’s career, where they begin to grow bored of their current sound, and they vie for a change. There’s two basic actions, either to “sell out”, or to mature and progress forward. In Flames has chosen to compromise, “selling out” slightly in the process, but still maintaining enough of their roots for the album to be considered a progression. I’ll admit that Reroute to Remain was my first In Flames album. “Trigger” was catchy as hell, and it still retained some of Anders Fridén’s former shrieks, which I enjoyed (“I am running from something I don’t know, I am…” those growls), and the song finally built its way up to a definitely well-done melodic chorus.
Upon purchasing the album, my original reaction was missed. I could see why many fans or In Flames’ old works were disappointed. There’s nothing wrong with adding some clean vocals to the music, but only if the clean vocals aren’t overdone, or are just plain bad. Later, when I bought Clayman, I realized that In Flames had really taken a fair step back.
Overall, Reroute to Remain continues where Clayman left off, only with some new changes. While Clayman was packed with dual-guitar harmonies bursting with melody, Reroute to Remain only contains a few. The most notable guitar harmony is probably in the intro of the titular track. While Clayman featured Anders growling much more harshly, Reroute featured the same Anders, growling just as harsh, but with a slightly higher-pitched voice. In Flames even threw in a few additional changes to the album, which really just makes a person say, “What happened to melodeath In Flames?”
Melodic Death Metal may be going a little too far for Reroute to Remain (I hardly consider Soilwork’s new works melodeath either). While the album still retains portions of their original Gothenburg sound, In Flames has shown that they’re not afraid to tweak around with their music. As many know, Anders starts singing. However, what many people may not know is the fact that quite frankly, he’s pretty bad at it. It’s obvious that In Flames have some great melodies in their heads, but they’re pretty bad at expressing it through singing. The choruses are almost all overdone, overproduced, and overly doubletracked (thank god the music doesn’t focus too much on his singing). It’s obvious that In Flames always held a good level of respect for the American alt-metal and nu-metal scenes, judging by a good portion of these choruses and riffs. In Flames are essentially Soilwork at this point in time, only Soilwork was able to accomplish a lot more with melodic singing.
Overall, this album contains both very good songs, as well as pretty poorly played songs. The titular track is a certain standout, with an excellent guitar harmony shining its way through the song. “Trigger” is another standout, showcasing the traditional Gothenburg sound fused with a more modern rhythm. “Drifter” is another standout, with an excellent balance of clean and screamed vocals during the chorus (though both are pretty muffled up). “Black and White” is another excellent track, with a pretty catchy chorus, featuring Anders singing and screaming at the same time (courtesy of modern studio production). However, this album isn’t without its weak points. “Cloud Connected”, the hit single, is certainly one of the worst tracks on the album, featuring a rather simplistic song, along with a chorus that just gets old so quickly. “Dawn Of A New Day” is another poorly done track. It’s a ballad that just, wasn’t even good on the first listen, which proves that ballads aren’t In Flames’ thing. “Metaphor” is another ballad, which frankly, paints In Flames in a rather emo/mallcore light, with the word “sickness” being repeated so many times, that you’re just waiting for an “OOO AH AH AH AH!” (for those who don’t know, it’s one of David Draiman from Disturbed’s signature screams). The rest of the tracks are really, just too much of the exact same thing, and while they’re still solid songs, they no longer boast In Flames’ reputation as one of death metal’s elite.
To wrap it all up, Reroute to Remain is still a fairly decent listen, but it’s absolutely nothing compared to In Flames’ older works. It’s a pretty natural progression on, so if you’re a fan of “Soundtrack to Escape” or “Come Clarity” or any new Soilwork, you should check out this album. Overall, this album just about reinforces that at this point in time, In Flames may have “matured” a little too fast for their own good, and as a result, this album may come out sounding quite strange to both old and new listeners.
Reroute to Remain
Black and White