In Flames, as we used to know them, was a melodic death metal band coming from Gothenburg, Sweden. The band has changed its style gradually into alternative metal in the past few years.
Some of their old fans did not like this change in style, some others accepted it as nothing stays the same or it would have been boring if they keep releasing the same style repeatedly. Personally I have no problem if any band changes its style as long as it’s enjoyable or strong musically.
So let’s talk about the album. This month they released their latest album, Battles, which contains 14 songs. The albums has got many pros and cons. The most noticeable merits of this album is the work done by Bjorn Gelotte and Niklas Engelin. And this was shown in some tracks like “In My Room”, “Before I Fall” and “Through My Eyes”. The drawbacks of this album were some of the lyrics of some songs that seemed to be a bit weak not what we used to see from In Flames and some vocals too that seemed pop-ish or a rock cover for a pop song which wasn’t introduced perfectly.
The bass plays by Peter Iwers weren’t very noticeable in this album too.
Now let’s talk about the album track-by-track:
Drained: The intro seemed like their older stuff, but it didn’t take much to blend into their new style. It is good musically and the vocals aren’t bad, but I didn’t enjoy the chorus so generally it’s suitable as the intro song of the album.
The End: One of the best tracks of the albums. One of the heaviest tracks (comparing to In Flames new style), it was good musically and the vocals of Anders Friden were pretty good in this track.
Like Sand: One of my least favorite songs from the album, the vocals were not that great as it seemed like a rock cover for a pop song. The rhythm guitar plays were a bit catchy but generally it seemed like a filler song.
The Truth: Musically it was very good as it contained one of the catchy solos In Flames used to introduce. Personally I didn’t enjoy neither the children’s nor Anders’ chorus in this song.
In My Room: One of my personal favorite tracks. It is one of the heaviest tracks of this album and it contained very good vocals. Not to forget to mention the brilliant solo near the end of the song as it’s one of the merits of the album as mentioned before.
Before I Fall: My second favorite track as it’s as good as “In My Room”. The vocals kinda reminded me of the old In Flames and there was another great solo near the end of the song.
Through My Eyes: My third favorite track that’s almost at the same level of the previous two tracks. Heavy, good vocals and great solo. You will never regret giving these 3 tracks a listen even if you are not a fan of In Flames’ change in style.
With that track the first half of Battles ends, which was pretty much stronger than the second half, that starts with:
Battles: Nothing impressive about this song except the good riffs in the 2nd minute of the song, other than that it seemed like a filler song.
Here Until Forever: My least favorite track. Weak musically and the vocals are totally a pop song vocals. That doesn’t make it bad but it doesn’t fit the style of the album. In my opinion it’s a track to forget.
Underneath My Skin: Definitely better than the previous two tracks. It contained a good intro and it was ended by a very good solo. Didn’t enjoy the vocals that much as they seemed the same pop-ish type as “Here Until Forever”, “Like Sand” and “Battles”.
Wallflower: The song started beautifully, pretty good intro but followed by below-average vocals and a slow/boring tempo with nothing to be mentioned until the end of it. The made it one of my least favorite tracks too.
Save Me: This track is a come-back to the album’s true style and what In Flames should have introduced without the filler tracks I mentioned. I really enjoyed Anders’ vocals in this track and
Bjorn, Niklas and Peter did a very good job in this track. Not to forget to mention the short good solo near the middle of the song.
Greatest Greed & Us Against The World: Two tracks that you can find in the limited edition of the album. The lyrics of Greatest Greed were weak and the vocals weren’t that impressive. Musically it’s an average track and in my opinion the solo saved this track. Us Against The World is more enjoyable than Greatest Greed. Better vocals, better lyrics, better riffs and pretty good solo near the end. And that made a pretty good end for the album.
My overall rating of this album is 6.3/10.
Nabil Hossam / Metalheads Forever Magazine