Review Summary: The album that is the turning point of In Flames' career, and you know what, it is a damn fine record.
Before releasing this album, In Flames, one of the innovators of the melodic death metal genre, were a band known for their firm use of two lead guitars, deep death growls and fantastic melodies. In 2000, after the release of Clayman, the band finally realized that they want to try something new; they wanted to progress their sound further and experiment a bit. They readied themselves for two years, spent a lot of time in the studio and in 2002 they came out with the album Reroute To Remain.
Reroute To Remain is a remarkable step forward from In Flames ( though it is for the listener to decide if it was for the best or for the worst). This can be heard right away in the opener of the album which is simply titled "Reroute To Remain". The track kicks off with a weird synth melody but shortly after that guitars and drums arrive. Right away it is seen that this album will be 100% different from In Flames' other works. The almost metalcoreish riffing in "Reroute To Remain" and the fierce drum beats that mainly consist of double bass, snare drum and cymbal hits are a great deal different from their other works. The "two harmonized lead guitars playing over a rhythm guitar" style is dropped and is replaced by heavy, aggressive riffing and fierce drum beats. The vocalist of In Flames, Anders Fridén, has also changed his singing style. The deep death growls are gone and are replaced by fast, angry shouts in the main parts and with clean vocal parts in the choruses.
On the previous releases, In Flames were concentrating on creating breathtaking melodies and complex guitar lines. Not anymore. Reroute To Remain offers the listener a high dose of extremely angry, fast and loud guitar lines which draw influence from the American alternative metal and metalcore scenes. The drumming has also become much more notable and faster than on previous releases. While on albums like The Jester Race and Whoracle, the drumming was in the background and was solely meant just for keeping a pace and giving some smooth cymbal, tom and bass drum hits, however on this record the drums as a whole really begin to stand out. The drumming has not become much more complex but is has become much more eminent. The fast, fierce use of double bass and the sometimes even metallic drum sound meet the ear right away and are a big standout on this album.
This album is the one that is highly accused by the so called old In Flames fans and is the album that brought In Flames some initial success in the west. The three main problems that the older In Flames fans had with this album were the proper change in vocals, the more accessible sound and the absence of harmonized lead guitar melodies, and so, based on this new sound, In Flames were quickly considered as sell outs by the old In Flames fans. But the fact is that here is still plenty of melody found in this album and it has a lot of alternative sides to it. The choruses are very catchy and melodic throughout the whole album. They are perfect for headbanging or are just fun to sing along to. It is true that the amazing, complex dual guitar melodies aren't there anymore, but that doesn't mean that the album is dull and just full of fast, mindless riffing and drumming, no sir. The bass and the drumming still create a very neat rhythm section and the guitar lines have quite a lot of melody left in them, it just needs a deeper listen to really catch all the great guitar gears.
In Flames have never been great wordsmiths but they do know how to put a lot of atmosphere into the songs. In here, songs like "Free Fall", "Metaphor" and "Trigger" have a great momentum and atmosphere to them. "Free Fall" and "Trigger" are both medium paced songs that have a bit softer guitar lines and a very catchy chorus. "Free Fall" really gives you the feeling like you are falling from somewhere and "Trigger's" energy is impressive. "Trigger" is also the song where are some rare harmonized dual lead guitar melodies and on that track Anders' clean vocals actually fit very well (not that they are too shabby on this album anyway). "Metaphor" though is this album's most emotional song. It has a sad atmosphere and with the nice use of acoustic guitars, the song really enters your heart (which is not common for In Flames). It is a slow song and whilst Anders' clean vocals may be a bit whiny on this track, surprisingly they seem to fit again.
The final track that definitely needs to be exteriorized is this albums most aggressive song titled "Transparent". With a fast metalcore like riff, fierce metallic drumming and a distorted chorus it has something for everyone, even for the old In Flames fans.
Although this album is considered a sell-out by many it is an album that brought In Flames some fame. The change in sound is a very welcome sight because when you produce nine studio albums ( although this was their 6th), they can't be all alike. Taking a more aggressive, fierce and appealing sound, In Flames proves that they can make something else than just tracks that feature amazing harmonized dual lead guitar melodies and deep death growls. Foremost though, they prove that they are a progressive band and while they did change their sound, it most certainly does not suck; on the contrary, it is really fun and easy to listen to.