Review Summary: The start of the change, Reroute to Remain is by no means the best In Flames album, but it is still a good listen
In 2002, this album proved to be the most important one of In Flames career. The bands previous effort, Clayman, had proved to be a more focused, tightly strewn affair, with down-tuned guitars and In Flames’ most mainstream attempt to date, with “Only for the Weak”. This was almost an omen for this album, mixing a distinct European sound with an undeniably catchy musical idea, taken straight from the emerging American metalcore scene.
In fact, Reroute to Remain in parts sounds like a completely different band wrote the music. The album puts a lot more focus upon the backing crunch guitars that have steadily grown more prominent in In Flames music, saving flourishes of lead guitar work for some magical moments. Some of the best tracks for examples of this are the title track, with a magical chorus, “Trigger” goes along at a right old pace until some fabulous solo work from Gelotte kicks in, and “Dawn of a New Day” harks back to work off Whoracle and Clayman with great lead melodies and cool, almost folk sounding acoustic work. This album is a bit of a mixed bag, but perhaps this works to its advantage, as most songs sound fresh.
In Flames also launch their campaign with this album to try to expand out of Europe, and you can tell with lead single and one of the best tracks on the album, “Cloud Connected”. Having a more rhythm driven section than “Only for the Weak” and heavier guitars, it not only tops its predecessor, but sounds a lot better than many American alternatives as well. Containing a mix of most of Friden’s singing styles, it not only shows the abilities and his vocal maturity, but it helps create a great overall sound as well.
However, for many this album signalled the downfall of In Flames, and I suppose it is easy to see why. Too many songs on the album just sound like filler. “Transparent” starts out with a heavy riff and pounding drumming that simply drags all the way through, sounding like next albums version of “F(r)iend, far from an In Flames best track. “Minus” is a similar track, and just sounds like bog-standard, and slightly weird, heavy metal. Moments like this stray all too often into this album, and just drag the overall quality down, thus making this no-where near as refined an effort as Clayman.
In fact, that will be my conclusion. A solid album “Reroute to Remain” certainly is, but it is far from a legendary album and far from an In Flames best as a result. Combining all of the classic techniques used by the band into a more modern sound would ultimately work for the band with 2006 and Come Clarity, but this is only the beginning. Pick it up as an easy listening metal album.
1. Reroute to Remain
4. Cloud Connected
5. Dawn of a New Day
6. Black & White