In Flames



by ArcAndor USER (3 Reviews)
November 26th, 2016 | 6 replies

Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Battles is the sound of a band trying too hard and failing.

The 90’s are by far considered In Flames’ best period, with albums like The Jester Race and Colony revered by many as melodic death classics. It’s when the band hit 2002’s Reroute To Remain that opinions were first obviously divided: some adored the shift in style, some never forgave them for it. For others, the real decline in quality started with Soundtrack To Your Escape, or maybe A Sense Of Purpose, or maybe even as late as Siren Charms…I digress. Everyone has a different taste in music, so the exact album that one squawks about as being the start to In Flames’ tragic musical devolution will always differ from person to person. Something most people would agree on, however, is that the longer In Flames’ career has extended, the less potent their music has become.

Enter Battles, In Flames’ twelfth studio album, and another weak release into the discography of a band unsuccessfully resisting decay.

Battles starts out with “Drained,” which immediately displays one of the biggest issues with the album: the choruses. The chorus of “Drained” is easily the weakest segment of the song. This is a theme that, unfortunately, persists through almost the entire record. Third and fourth singles “Through My Eyes” and “Save Me” are perfect examples of this, the latter with cringe-inducing results due to Fridén’s unpleasant vocal work.

Many other tracks also struggle to stand on their own two feet--second single “The Truth” has a simplistic children’s choir singalong chorus that’ll get lodged in your head and become grating very quickly, akin to a sliver. Ballad “Here Until Forever” is, frankly, a chore to listen to all the way through in one sitting.

Furthermore: the production is bland, the instrumentation is lackluster compared to what we all know the band to be capable of, and Fridén’s lyrics have been far better…

…So, is there anything positive about this record? Yes.

“Drained” is a good song and a good opener; perhaps not when you compare it to, say, “Embody The Invisible,” but it’s enjoyable for what it is. Tracks like “The End” and closer “Us Against The World” manage to get right what the rest of the album got wrong--they’re both high-energy tracks with a successfully catchy reprise. They’re not shimmering pillars of brilliance within In Flames’ library, but they’re fun songs.

On the whole, however, Battles is not an especially compelling album. It’s the product of an uninspired In Flames, who seem to be trying very hard to create a pop-metal radio hit. The end result of this desire is the processed album that is Battles.

Recommended songs:
The End
In My Room
Us Against The World

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Chamberbelain CONTRIBUTOR (1.5)

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Comments:Add a Comment 
November 26th 2016


Album Rating: 2.0

I thought I'd offer a *slightly* more positive opinion. I'd say it's definitely their worst album yet, but I don't think it's quite as bad as the other reviews make it sound. It's really just very mediocre, not a complete abomination, although In Flames are definitely getting there

This is only my second review, so once again constructive criticism is welcome!

November 26th 2016


Album Rating: 2.0

i actually feel the opposite on some of these points. i don't think the band is trying at all here tbh, and i feel some of the choruses i.e. 'like sand' & 'through my eyes' are the best parts of the songs. but i do agree 'here until forever' is abhorrent. kinda sad that anders dedicated that turd to his son

very solid writing though, keep it up! pos'd

November 27th 2016


Album Rating: 1.0

Nice review, concise and good that you tried to be objective with your points. It's sad that this is the kind of music In Flames want to be putting out right now. With so many releases behind them I would expect them to want to change their sound, but this is a very strange direction to take.

November 27th 2016


Album Rating: 2.0

Only track I quite like is the title track. Noticed that none of the reviews have mentioned it yet, maybe I'm alone. Otherwise it's all very lacklustre.

Good review, pos.

November 27th 2016


Album Rating: 2.0

the t/t is one of the better ones for sure

December 5th 2016


Album Rating: 2.0

Also is important to note that "Us Against the World" is a bonus track, making "Save Me" the real closer of the album.

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