In Flames
A Sense of Purpose



by Flamingabdabs USER (4 Reviews)
September 13th, 2010 | 14 replies

Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Another In Flames album, another style change, yet strong production values and relentless drumming remain, even if not quite as spectacular as previous albums

Album number nine is most certainly impressive for any band, and an album that occassionaly shines through with some of their best work to date is even better. What In Flames undertook in 2000 with Clayman (still their most consistent album in my opinion) was a major stylistic change, partially leaving Death Metal's usual constraints behind and adapting a slightly more fun, american sound that not only expanded their fanbase, but brought around some of modern metals finest works. However, the main problem with A Sense of Purpose is its an under-achiever, and at times feels simply lazy, exactly the same problem with 2004's Soundtrack to Your Escape.

But lets start with the good stuff. Yet again, In Flames have made an album that many could argue incorporates some of the groups finest work to date, especially in the signature guitar licks that have helped make their work so distinctive in a genre cluttered with many so-so bands. Tracks such as "The Mirror's Truth", "Drenched in Fear" and "March to the Shore" are littered with these aforementioned techniques, and they help raise the album from an average par status. They also mean that they actually make this album sound like the group actually believe in what they are playing. "

"The Mirror's Truth" kicks into life with some nasty fretwork that almost sounds like punk, followed by a nice snare fill and a brief pause, before the albums most balls out track lurches into life. The chorus in this song is, for me at least one of In Flames best, partially because Anders actually proves his singing voice is actually rather good. Another song worth a shout for its chorus is "Condemned" that is not only the albums heaviest track, but because Anders gives us some superb growling in it, right on par with his best vocals from "Come Clarity". "Drenched in Fear" partially works so well because it sounds like the slightly worse half brother of "Crawl through Knives" and "Pinball Map" but is probably the best song on the album to show of Gelotte's and Stromblad's workmanship. The song is, at least from a guitar players perspective, brilliant. The album's final track, "March to the Shore" is probably the only one In Flames "old" fanbase will care about. Sounding like it should belong on "Come Clarity" it features a good, yet simple guitar solo and rather interesting vocals from Anders due to the presence of Anders old school death growl coming through in the background of each verse, right before the chorus. By far this album's best track overall.

However, with the change has come several bad points for the album. One of them is that this record sounds like it has been polished until it gleams and as a result has very little substance. "Delight and Angers" starts out with a promising heavy crunch of guitar, yet fades into a weak vocal performance and weird bridging sections that are unfortunately constant throughout the album. "Disconnected" suffers from the same fate, starting out promising and then falling flat, mainly due to Friden's contribution. At least this one has a good bridging part, unlike its follower "Sleepless Again". Starting off badly, with repetitive guitar and finishing badly with Anders weak vocals, this is by far the albums worst track.

Obvious American radio hit-friendly "Alias" in many ways feels like "Only for the Weak" without the trimmings, and to be fair is pretty catchy, but yet again suffers from weak bridging parts, going into a mid section that doesn't go anywhere. One of the albums most disappointing tracks for me however was "I'm the Highway", starting out with a great guitar line that sounds like "Colony" through and through, but again falls short as the band fail to build upon it. That said, the last minute or so of this song is actually pretty good, with Anders stepping up the vocal contribution considerably and to good effect.

So, in conclusion, A Sense of Purpose is certainley worth a shout, mostly due to the fact that it is, in many ways In Flames best attempt to return to their roots in all four of their "new" style albums. Gelotte's and Stromblads guitar work is, for the most part great, especially on "The Mirrors Truth", "Condemned", "Drenched in Fear" and "March to the Shore". The album also in parts is varied beyond first imaginations, especially on the eight minute epic "The Chosen Pessimist". But, perhaps like all bands after such a good career, "A Sense of Purpose" at times sounds laboured, unimaginative and everything an In Flames record shouldn't be-boring.

Tracks Recommended:
1. The Mirror's Truth
2. The Chosen Pessimist
3. Condemned
4. Drenched in Fear
5. March to the Shore

user ratings (1839)
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • Athom EMERITUS (2)
    In Flames continue their evolution from Melodic Death Metal to generic radio Metal with th...

    Jom STAFF (3.1)
    The legendary Swedes' ninth studio album is a slower, softer affair with a few irritating ...

    Altmer (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...

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

    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....

    TheMoonchild (1)
    Meaningful line that sums this album up perfectly: "You receive what you give, and this is...

  • Marinatchae (5)
    A Sense of Irony....

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

Comments:Add a Comment 
September 13th 2010


Bit of spell check in the summary dude.

September 13th 2010


"I want to fly on a music man ship."

good review though, posd

September 13th 2010


Uh oh. Is this terrible next to Come Clarity?

September 13th 2010


wut am spel cheq?

September 14th 2010


Album Rating: 2.0

@Josh lol thanks for the laugh!

Spelling problems here are are quite bad. Anyway, I won't neg or pos.

"Uh oh. Is this terrible next to Come Clarity?"

If you like In Flames for their earlier stuff, then the answer would be a definite yes. To me this album seems like their worst album since Soundtrack, even if I've only heard a few songs.

September 14th 2010


Album Rating: 2.5

Decent review, you got my vote. Definetly needs tweaking in the spelling departament.

""A Sense of Purpose" at times sounds laboured, unimaginative and everything an In Flames record shouldn't be-BORING." - it may not be my place to say it, but I think you shouldn't end a fairly positive review on a negative note like this.

Anyway, the album is ok, then again, my stardants for music aren't exactly very high.

September 14th 2010



Captain North
September 14th 2010


Album Rating: 4.0

Apart from spelling/grammar issues this is a brilliant first review.

September 14th 2010



September 14th 2010


Album Rating: 3.0

Sorry for spelling guys, but then again English was never my strong point. Thankfully, I have now tweaked it a bit, shortened the paragraphs and checked me spelling! Even I was appalled at the number present in this review

September 14th 2010


Pretty good first review. Album is average. But then In Flames have never been the same since the release of RtR

September 14th 2010


Album Rating: 2.5

Wow, I went to read this one and realized that I had this at 3.5. I really need to go back and change some of my older ratings. But anyway, good review.

September 14th 2010


what were u thinking

September 14th 2010


Album Rating: 3.0

This one really grew off me a lot. Still enjoyable every now and then, but I don't like it anywhere near as much as I used to.

Digging: Gamma Ray - Land of the Free

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