In Flames
Battles


1.5
very poor

Review

by Chamberbelain CONTRIBUTOR (193 Reviews)
November 11th, 2016 | 630 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Extinguished.

In Flames were once the innovators of melodic death metal. No In Flames means no celebrated metalcore bands around today. After releasing their first album in 1994, they then proceeded to release 5 genre-defining albums, 4 of which are universally considered classics. Established as a force to be reckoned with, they then released “Reroute To Remain” in 2002, but it differed from their trademark Gothenburg Metal and introduced cleaner vocals and more accessible harmonies. To most of their fans, this was a fantastic album and took the band to the peak of popularity; others feared they would never again hear an album in league with the 4 preceding classics.

Now in 2016, we have observed In Flames spending more time abandoning their melodic death metal than they have producing it. We could forgive them in 2011 when they released “Sounds of a Playground Fading” because, even as middling as it was, it was still better than In Flames’ first proper misfire: “A Sense of Purpose”. However, few could defend what followed in 2014: “Siren Charms” sounded like In Flames were a different band. Gone were the growls -- and the notion of any form of death metal was just a dream. Nowadays, the flames are naught but embers. Their growing radio-friendly accessibility is no longer a joking matter: “Battles” is marked as the album that decides the ultimate fate of In Flames.

It’s great for bands to evolve their sound, but it generally helps if the change is actually advantageous. Kudos to In Flames for progressing their sound, rather than engage autopilot, but it truly has not worked out well. While listening to tracks such as ‘Drained’, ‘The Truth’, ‘Save Me’ and the sickeningly cheesy ballad, ‘Here Until Forever’, one must wonder what the band were honestly hoping to achieve after creating such mediocre songs. Each of these tracks features insipid riffs and inapt techno elements that bring absolutely no sense of rejuvenation to the band’s newer direction. During ‘Like Sand’, Anders Fridén repeats: “I believe the whole wide world is against me”. With equally infantile lyrics scattered throughout Battles, they are against you Anders, they really are.

Fridén’s presence over Battles is substantial. He’s always had a subdued singing approach, but there’s a difference between sounding subdued and strained. There are a few moments on Battles where his vocals don’t sound as sore. The title track is notably heavier with a sweeping chorus and ‘Through My Eyes’ evokes a negligible return to 2006’s “Come Clarity”. And yet, the issue with these better moments is that they just sound tediously safe in contrast to what we know the band is truly capable of.

Whatever battle In Flames have been fighting, Battles signifies the resounding sense of defeat. The guitar work is so far beneath the level that was set a decade ago (let alone two decades ago), the singing and lyricism have never sounded so angst and segments of the album sound like they were recorded underwater. The worst factor: it’s not even an album that you can grow into and appreciate.

How veteran musicians like In Flames appear so blind their own devolution is tragically bewildering.



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user ratings (462)
Chart.
1.9
poor
other reviews of this album
ArcAndor (2)
Battles is the sound of a band trying too hard and failing....

Christopher Geriak (1.5)
The McDonalds brand of alternative metal, In Flames continues their downward spiral into the mainstr...


Comments:Add a Comment 
kalosy
November 11th 2016


1 Comments


"Reroute to Remain" was released in 2002, but overall the review nails the crucial picture of In Flames' fate. Even though, I kinda digged into their single "The End". It brings back that melodic approach which they brought in SOAPF.

Kusangii
November 11th 2016


1982 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0 | Sound Off

Metal for 10-year olds

KingdomOfTyrant
November 11th 2016


643 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

not that bad imo

EvoHavok
November 11th 2016


7590 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Just nothing special.

InFlamesWeThrash666
November 11th 2016


8315 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

[2]

Digging: Voivod - The Wake

Toondude10
November 11th 2016


13099 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

yeah this was awful

Toondude10
November 11th 2016


13099 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

congrats on the feature btw

ChaoticVortex
November 11th 2016


655 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Whatever creative mojo this band once had, it dried out after Come Clarity. Tolerable than Siren Charms by a few margins, but still really bad and cheesy stuff, the vocals are especially cringy. Good review.

L4titudes
November 11th 2016


3597 Comments


Make it stop

christhjian
November 11th 2016


595 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Seems a little better than Siren Charms. Prolly wouldn't turn off when it came on the radio, but it's so boring overall and Anders sounds soooooo bad.

Tyler.
November 11th 2016


15180 Comments


That album art lmao

Nomos
November 11th 2016


1737 Comments


I can't believe how long it's been since these guys have released a great record. 2002, it looks like. It's hard for me to maliciously dislike these guys because their old stuff still has a place in my heart. Now I just sort of feel bad for them.

Darkwatch025
November 11th 2016


348 Comments


This album is not awful. No, it's not melodic death metal and it definitely does not reach the heights of the If Flames of the past, but it is not a piece of shit. For what it is, it's a decent hard rock album. I would probably give it a 2.5-3.

Totengott
November 11th 2016


4217 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

Very bad album, very good review.

Digging: Thou - Magus

Dewinged
November 11th 2016


11061 Comments


"Extinguished"

Savage!

Good review man, grats on the feature. I will give it a listen but... yeah.

Digging: Emma Ruth Rundle - On Dark Horses

bloc
November 11th 2016


51806 Comments


Genius summary, I love it.

Digging: Blahzay Blahzay - Blah Blah Blah

BlackLlama
November 11th 2016


2177 Comments


That summary... pos on that alone.

Band has been off my radar for years now; probably won't even touch this one. Thanks for taking that auditory bullet.

Chamberbelain
Contributing Reviewer
November 11th 2016


102 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

I do like giving a good summary- my summary for the new Vektor is probably be my proudest moment though.



In Flames are one of my favourite bands and it was painful to write negative stuff about them, but it was more painful to hear the contents of this album.

MarsKid
November 11th 2016


7153 Comments


"I can't believe how long it's been since these guys have released a great record. 2002, it looks like."

Come Clarity tho.

EvoHavok
November 11th 2016


7590 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Yeah, Come Clarity is great.



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