Monday, November 3, 2008
In Flames - A Sense of Purpose (2008)
I'll admit I had very little expectations towards this new album, and even less after seeing the Korn-like cover art. It didn't help that pretty much everyone I know hated it from the start.
But here's the thing...I like it. I really, really like it. It started with me liking only the first 5-6 tracks, but now I like pretty much the whole damn ordeal. Here I go again, losing all credibility, right? Wrong. It's the best In Flames album of the 21st century and my favorite since at least Clayman. The reason is because they've taken a lot of these tangents they've been on for the past half a decade: the vocal experimentation, electronic elements, and groovier guitar riffing (dare I say nu-metal?); and they've welded them successfully into their earlier, inspirational melodic death hooks to produce a powerful expression. Anders vocals have TRULY come together on this one, I have to admit.
In Flames is the soundtrack of futility and frustration but achieved through uplifting, energetic melodic riffing, slamming grooves and impassioned cries. They have found their Sense of Purpose, and delivered, and it's about damn time. "The Mirror's Truth" presents a salvo of super emotional melodies and layered chorus parts with great guitar work, but not afraid to break it down with some insanely awesome melodeath grooving. "Disconnected" weaves its course around one of the best thrash metal riffs I've heard this year. "Sleepless Again" features the return of the great acoustic guitars we haven't really heard since their early work, even if only for a small part of the song. Ditto with "Alias", except the acoustics are a mid section surrounded by an excellent, mid-paced melodic, passionate track with an unforgettable chorus smothered in some great, anthemic riffs. "I'm the Highway" is pure fucking In Flames, melodic death metal at its finest, with adorable little guitar lines. "Delight and Angers" begins with an excellent pit groove, yet entirely thrash. This isn't even half the fucking album yet, but you get the point!
It may be nearly impossible to convince the multitude who have had a hate on for In Flames for well near a decade that anything they do is worthwhile, but if that doesn't include you, for the love of the firmanent check this album out, get lost in its squalor, its frustration, and its beauty, because it is an excellent record and....FINALLY! If it took a few years of mediocre efforts like Come Clarity and Soundtrack to Your Escape to arrive here, then I welcome it. And I will welcome more, as long as it's this good.
One of my favorite metal albums this year to listen to while I'm driving.
Verdict: Win [8/10] (I become the distance)