In Flames
Battles


1.5
very poor

Review

by Toondude USER (72 Reviews)
November 11th, 2016 | 350 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The McDonalds brand of alternative metal, In Flames continues their downward spiral into the mainstream world Linkin Park style.

Battles is somewhat of a honest title for In Flames’ latest record. For the last fifteen years they’ve been in a constant struggle to redefine themselves after they decided to make their way into the mainstream metal world. Sure they’ve had a few great records such as Reroute to Remain and Come Clarity, yet it seems that with each record they devolve more and more into the band that their fans hoped they never would become. However, their previous album, Siren Charms pretty much set the lowest standard in their careers to date as it finally confirmed the fears of their audience, which is now only made worse considering that they’re now touring with second-wave nu-metal bands Hellyeah and From Ashes to New.

However, unlike most of their previous releases, Battles focuses a lot more on catchy choruses rather than flowing melodies, which is a shame because admittedly enough, there are a few decent moments on the album. ‘Drained’ does open up the album on a rather strong note with a surprising amount of aggression towards the beginning riffs, almost harkening back to Sounds of a Playground Fading. Unfortunately though, it’s the best song on the record and the rest of the album is completely unable to keep that amount of aggression in full view. Every other song on the record manages to borderline towards the mainstream alternative rock sound, which is further exploited by the auto-tuned Chester Bennington improvisation of Anders Friden’s vocal performance, especially on ‘Here Until Forever’ and ‘Underneath My Skin’. The attempts at the over-the-top choruses are nothing more than laughable attempts at bringing out some form of emotion, while Anders grating harsher vocals only cancels out those attempts. The only song that manages to somewhat get it right is ‘The End’, but even then with its admittedly catchy chorus, there little to no substance or inspiration to be found in it. Even the songs where they actually try to sound genuinely emotional or ambitious, a la ‘Wallflower’, are ultimately bogged down by Howard Benson’s (go figure) incredibly dull production.

Anders Friden isn’t the only member of the group that seems to have lost their edge though. Guitarists Bjorn Gelotte and Niclas Engelin constantly rely on some of the simplest and most basic riffs and tones that they have done throughout their careers. Even the guitar solos, especially on the title track and ‘Save Me’, feel incredibly half-assed as they more or less just follow the same melodies that were playing throughout the entire song. Meanwhile bassist Peter Iwers is completely left in on the sidelines with little to no standout moments as his almost inaudible performance is barely even worth mentioning. Mind you some of these members have performed on some of In Flames’ most notable work, arguably some of the best pieces of melodic death metal in the late nineties. However, its drummer Joe Rickard that is more or less the biggest casualty. An already odd choice as the main replacement (though considering this band’s history it shouldn’t be too odd at all), Rickard was supposed to be the one to help carry the energy throughout most of an already lifeless record. Yet his performance is nothing more than casual beating of the rhythm with an occasional moment that is drowned out to a static effect.

Battles is by far the most frustrating release that In Flames has put out so far in their careers. With incredibly poor songwriting choices, awful vocals, and a complete lack of effort and passion, Battles continues In Flame’ downward spiral into mainstream rock territory. Some are certainly going to argue that In Flames aren’t the same band that they were twenty years ago; and sure that is true. They’ve practically become a completely different band since the beginning of the century. That being said, even when compared to radio rock standards, this album is an incredibly poor excuse for a band to “evolve their sound”. (I take the term “evolve” with a grain of salt) There is just little to no value to be found on here that will warrant a decent first impression. Instead, what we manage to get is a dull, emotionless, and a complete waste of time of a record where even the most dedicated fans will eventually turn their backs to.



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user ratings (475)
Chart.
1.9
poor
other reviews of this album
Chamberbelain CONTRIBUTOR (1.5)
Extinguished....

Mason Pearmain (3)
If you disconnect this from their old, you may have some fun with it....

ArcAndor (2)
Battles is the sound of a band trying too hard and failing....



Comments:Add a Comment 
Toondude10
November 11th 2016


13391 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

so this is a lot worse than the last album



constructive criticism is appreciated

Digging: Time, The Valuator - How Fleeting, How Fragile

InFlamesWeThrash666
November 11th 2016


8487 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

Sweet review

Digging: Bokassa - Divide and Conquer

Gyromania
November 11th 2016


25937 Comments


hey man, at least mcdonalds is a good time, albeit bad as fuck for you.

in all seriousness, great review. had no desire to check this out and will steer clear

manosg
Staff Reviewer
November 11th 2016


11321 Comments


I remember them being so well received by metal fans in the 90s. What the hell happened to these guys?

Digging: Dio - Magica

Middle18
November 11th 2016


256 Comments


Just when you think they cant get any worse they somehow manage too. That is commendable in its own way i guess, cant wait to see if they can actually devolve even further with their next release.

Davil667
November 11th 2016


3546 Comments


Great review, and devastating in its verdict.
Sounds like a hard 1, will def avoid this.

Toondude10
November 11th 2016


13391 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

the first two songs and the last half of Wallflower are pretty much the only parts worth your time here, other than that the rest is pretty awful

bentheREDfan
November 11th 2016


470 Comments


See the thing is I love alt/nu-metal so I'll probably really dig this.

bentheREDfan
November 11th 2016


470 Comments


But the only Howard Benson-produced album I like is RED's Of Beauty And Rage. So this should be interesting.

bentheREDfan
November 11th 2016


470 Comments


I CAN'T THINK TODAY. RED'S RELEASE THE PANIC.

Angelboros
November 11th 2016


1357 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5 | Sound Off

One Howard Benson-produced record that I legit enjoy is Skindred's first album. That's about it, really.



Good review, Toon.

Artuma
November 11th 2016


29871 Comments


so this is where it has come to. people are talking about fucking red and skindred upon the new in flames album

Digging: Daughters - You Won't Get What You Want

Toondude10
November 11th 2016


13391 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

can't say I'm surprised



Howard Benson has done some good albums but considering that his record also constantly consists of Theory of a Deadman and Skillet it's no wonder why he does such a shit job

bloc
November 11th 2016


53080 Comments


Band just became Arby's

Digging: Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark - Organisation

Toondude10
November 11th 2016


13391 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

never actually been to an Arby's

bentheREDfan
November 11th 2016


470 Comments


First off, I didn't know Benson produced Skindred's first release. I really like that actually so I guess that's another one. Second off, RED's a fantastic band. Not sure why they get so much hate. Listening to the album right now, not too bad, but just nothing really groundbreaking. This genre and the style on this record had just been done better by other bands.

bentheREDfan
November 11th 2016


470 Comments


Love Joe Rickard's drum work, and some of the guitar riffs and clean vocals are pretty cool.

Toondude10
November 11th 2016


13391 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

I thought Joe's drumwork was awful in this tbh

Mongi123
November 11th 2016


19886 Comments


Band has become that band huh? lol

Artuma
November 11th 2016


29871 Comments


"Second off, RED's a fantastic band. Not sure why they get so much hate."

oh i don't hate them. they are just really, really, really inoffensive and total snooze



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