In Flames
A Sense of Purpose


1.0
awful

Review

by Scott M. Baldwin USER (89 Reviews)
May 12th, 2013 | 85 replies | 2,185 views


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Meaningful line that sums this album up perfectly: "You receive what you give, and this is nothing."

2 of 11 thought this review was well written

No, I didn't expect "melodic death metal" from this album. In fact, they pretty much stopped playing such music a long time ago. And really, when you're a band that can near-flawlessly blend death metal's brutality with the classiness of bands like Iron Maiden, why would you need to stick around in such a ghetto for your whole career? Opeth are an example of a band who have transitioned into something so beautifully far from what they started off from. But the thing about In Flames is that they always had a sense of humour and an ability to make their music catchy and memorable, especially when they started to drift into just more straightforward metal.

And then this album happened.

This is the perfect example of a band straying too far from what made them who they are, getting too cute with the "experimentation", and it's sadly detectable right off the bat with "The Mirror's Truth". It's very short, runs only 3 minutes long and as soon as we get to the pre-chorus, we're greeted with one hell of a radio-friendly guitar riff followed by an equally vomit-worthy chorus. Whereas most bands make songs that use the 5 minute mark with this stuff, In Flames managed to cram it all into two minutes and fifty-six seconds, and strangely, I'm impressed. It sadly also sets the tone for the rest of this album, which is 48 minutes of pure, commercialized crap.

The biggest problem with this album is the lyrics. Look, I know death metal lyrics are mostly incomprehensible, but it doesn't mean they have to be terrible. Granted, In Flames' songwriting was never one of their strongest points and has always been hit or miss, but it's taken way up to 11 here. They're some of the whiniest, angstiest lyrics in death metal history (and could possibly have been the inspiration for the dialogue in David Tennant's final Doctor Who episode). Want a sample? Here's from the second song alone: "You receive what you give, and this is nothing/I feel like ***, but at least I feel something." Not whiny enough? The opening lyrics to "I'm the Highway" are worse: "I am my deepest shadow/Something I can't ever neglect/Rise above these ashes/On fall and fade away". Or, how about the aptly named "Sober and Irrelevant": "Used to be original,
but now I tremble in fear /I am like everyone else, an embarrassment
".

Enough of the lyrics. The music itself is pretty awful. They've gone downright radio-rock with this album, and GS painful to listen to. I guess Soundtrack to Your Escape can be forgiven if you look at it as an "experiment"; sadly there isn't such redemption here. Ironically enough, for radio-rock, there's virtually NO HOOKS here. Or maybe there is, but whatever ones there were float in through one end of your head and immediately out the other. The chorus for "Disconnected" is en example; the chorus takes a dangerously safe and radio-friendly route, but weirdly has no catchy melodies. "I'm the Highway" is another example. It can't decide if it's an Iron Maiden ripoff or an Iced Earth ripoff. So it tries to be both at once, and the result is a mess. Sadly, not much else on this album can be noted because every song on it sounds exactly the same. And quite frankly, with a band as talented as In Flames, you'd expect so much better.

What is especially shocking with this album is that before it came Come Clarity. That album is particularly impressive, because it blends both their old style of brutal melodeath with a newer, more straightforward metal style. It was a winning formula because it sounded both fresh and nostalgic at the same time, and it was catchy, full of hooks, full of energy and even better, full of life. I wish I was able to say the same thing about this album, but instead, it sounds like they believed their own hype and decided to go farther than the limit let them.

If you're new to this band. Don't start here. Start with Come Clarity or Reroute to Remain, and thank me later.



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user ratings (1502)
Chart.
2.9
good
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • DinoX (4)
    A brash outing and a step in the right direction for In Flames...

    Crimsontide57 (4.5)
    They age like wine, getting finer with the years....

    Matthew Roe (3)
    Another In Flames album, another style change, yet strong production values and relentless...

    BloodOfDemons (1.5)
    The pioneers of melodic death metal have hit rock bottom. They even admit it themselves....

  • Jorn van Schaïk (3)
    There's something new on every In Flames album, but nothing radically different, and the b...

    when_darkness_falls (2.5)
    In Flames continue on their crusade of changing music, but this time fall flat on their fa...

    Corey (3.5)
    Are the best days of In Flames gone? Yes. Does that mean they can’t make a quality relea...

    Adam Thomas STAFF (2)
    In Flames continue their evolution from Melodic Death Metal to generic radio Metal with th...

  • itachi1452 (3.5)
    Accessible, catchy, melodic, and somewhat loyal to their roots....

    Jom STAFF (3.3)
    The legendary Swedes' ninth studio album is a slower, softer affair with a few irritating ...


Comments:Add a Comment 
TheMoonchild
May 12th 2013



480 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

Forgot how bad this album is.

NeoSpaz
May 12th 2013



4518 Comments


Not sure how I feel about this review, so I'll neither neg or pos. Album is eh

Artuma
May 12th 2013



12170 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

album isn't that bad but incredibly dull and generic, i should bump it down for 2

Digging: Le Pre Ou Je Suis Mort - Le Pre Ou Je Suis Mort

TheMoonchild
May 12th 2013



480 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

Can't remember the last album left me feeling so cold. Back in 08 I was in for a shock either way.

Gyromania
May 12th 2013



15479 Comments


1/5? for real? the music itself definitely isn't awful imo. i can see your gripe with the lyrics and overall direction of the band, but a 1/5 just screams 'i'm upset that IF isn't death metal anymore.' also, why is it that whenever someone's trying to make a point about something sounding bad they cling to lines like 'radio-friendly.' sure most of what's played on commercial stations sucks, but it's basically the go-to criticism for bands that become more streamlined to reach a larger audience.

TheMoonchild
May 12th 2013



480 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

Read the first paragraph of my review again.

Gyromania
May 12th 2013



15479 Comments


my bad, i somehow skipped over that entirely. i'm definitely with you that reroute and come clarity are infinitely better than this, but if you liked the formula on the latter i would think this is at worst average.

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
May 12th 2013



50043 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

2.7

Digging: Tiny Moving Parts - Pleasant Living

Gyromania
May 12th 2013



15479 Comments


2.87

FiveLeavesLeft
May 12th 2013



9838 Comments


album is stinky

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
May 12th 2013



50043 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Sometimes it's good to writhe in filth

Artuma
May 12th 2013



12170 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Reroute is definitely the best "new IF" album, after that they have been declining all the time

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
May 12th 2013



50043 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

nah Come Clarity is great

Artuma
May 12th 2013



12170 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Come Clarity is good yeah but the last two are average at their best

Gyromania
May 12th 2013



15479 Comments


come clarity is so good but i get why people like reroute more. come clarity has my fave IF song (versus terminus)

Artuma
May 12th 2013



12170 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

i actually like STYE too

Conexus
May 12th 2013



74 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

This album gets way too much hate.

Gyromania
May 12th 2013



15479 Comments


^ agreed. it's nothing special but my god

TheMoonchild
May 12th 2013



480 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

STYE was bad but I excused it the same way I excused Load. Bad but you have to give them credit for trying something new.

Load is a pretty bad album but there's some songs on there that I really enjoy.

Artuma
May 12th 2013



12170 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Outlaw Torn m/

but yeah, Load sucks and so does every Metallica album after it too

just realized IF is going pretty much the same path, damn



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