Review Summary: In Flames show no signs of recovery from their last mishap.
The once vastly influential In Flames have been on a downward spiral since the release of 'Come Clarity' (2006). Little signs of progression have been shown by the musicians in this extensive period of time, leading to several mediocre releases. Recently, the band hit a low point with 'Battles', an incredibly bland album that did nothing except disappoint with its soulless approach. Only a year later, the band has returned with a EP of covers, which unfortunately does not connote much amelioration from the previous endeavours.
When the first song, 'It's No Good' (Depeche Mode) sparks into play, one can only behold the lifeless sound carried by the band. There is very little atmosphere present throughout the four songs, inducing a rather empty feel to the record. As well as this, the capabilities displayed by the musicians on previous records have not been utilised to their greatest extent by any means, hindering the quality of the record even more. Due to these factors, four colourless songs are fabricated, rife with monotonous compositions, little curveballs and what can only be described as a crippled vocal contribution. One only has to listen to the acoustic 'Hurt' (Nine Inch Nails) to witness Anders pour emotionless, redundant screams into a blasphemous performance, and be enlightened to how poor he sounds here. Furthermore, the use of the guitarists is almost worthless within this record, as 'Wicked Game' (Chris Isaak) perfectly demonstrates with its synth-laden approach, preventing the guitars from soaring. Whilst the opener is not guilty for this completely, it is true for the most part of the 20 minute duration. Alas, the drums and bass also take a back seat and are given no room to shine, reducing them to a mere, uncreative platform for the other instruments and vocals to employ themselves over.
At this point, it's safe to say any scrap of hope left for the band has been shredded apart by this atrocious effort. When the strongest aspect of a record is the lyrical content, and it was not even created by the band, something is terribly wrong and needs rejuvenating. Fans of the band will most likely be encouraged to reminisce of the times In Flames was at the top of their game after listening to what is arguably their worst outing yet, and will comprehend how the band has secured itself as a shell of it's former glory.