Review Summary: Lumpy, stodgy and pathetically repetetive, Reroute to Remain is a trainwreck from beginning to end
When a band decide to change their sound to ensure that they don't become stale and irrelevant, it ends up in two camps- usually very good, or very, very bad. In Flames began their progressive journey back in 1999, with their career highlight " Colony" going for a more light-hearted, piano tinged affair that was still full of fantastic guitar work reminiscent of early Iron Maiden. Follower Clayman was more of the same, but a noticeable change in the vocal departement meant many were left fearing the worst. Had Anders Friden, one of modern metals most loved/loathed voclists lost his trademark cookie monster growl, turning it in for a more american tinged metalcore scream? Well, Reroute to Remain answered the question- a definite yes.
Now, I should explain that usually, I am a fan of musical prgression. It brings out a musical side to many bands that would otherwise be unseen, and can also coincide with some of a groups strongest work. But Reroute to Remain is nothing short of a trainwreck. While the opening track isn't half bad, when you realise that In Flames degenerate into playing the same tune with a slight switch-up for some 40 odd minutes, you realise just how bland this release is. "Cloud Connected" tries and fails, rather hilariously to become a metal anthem with its stuttering guitars, plenty of really bad synth work and pathetic clean vocals, while "Trigger" takes a hip-hop inspired bridge section and dumps it in among some tub hitting and dreadful guitar lines, ripped (you guessed it) straight from the opening song.
Furthermore, the middle of this album is so bland it makes watching paint dry seem as exhilarating asbeing chsed by a pack of wolves in Alaska. The corny opening keyboard lines of "Free Fall" signal the start of "that same old song" but this time, with some crooning and singing. Dear god. To be fair "Dawn of a New Day" switches the pace up a bit and its almost complete avoidance of the crap crunch guitars makes it just about listenable, but when it is surrounded by 40 minutes of monotony its star potential goes largely unnoticed.
M Conclusion? Avoid at all costs. Reroute to Remain is seen by many to be In Flames' magnum opus of melody (which barely features) and heaviness (which unfortunatley does in copious amounts). However, look past the initial praise and all you find is an album containing the same, rehashed riff over the umpteen songs it contains. Skip two albums and look at "Come Clarity" if you are at all interested in looking for decent modern In Flames. Otherwise, don't bother with anything this band has released in the noughties. And I'm not recommending anything, as virtually every single melo-death release is better than this.