Every time when a band try to alter it sound and step out from habitual for listener frames, squall of criticism and discontent falls down on it. Especially when music become «easier» and slower. However, if nothing changes, there would be the same reactions.
In Flames had also shared this ordeal. From the release of Reroute To Remain – 14 years in a row, the same things occurs again and again: «they sold out», «music became plastic, unnatural» and other faultfinding from couch metalheads and other keyboard warriors. Absolutely the same happens to their new creation – Battles.
But let’s try to take a look on an album without all previous band’s discography. Whatever it is, Battles is full of catchy songs. In every one of them there is at least one moment, that will stuck in a head for a long time. Even children choir in “The Truth” intro, no matter how unusually it sounds. However, the same choir in “The End” is much more appropriate and sounds a little reproachfully in a context of the song. Therefore, it is not known yet what makes the songs such catchy: is it melodic, what In Flames has always been famous, or is it more modern and «mainstream» approach to music.
The album is also full of emotions – it is a merit of vocalist Anders Fridén. Yes, he use extreme vocals not so often, as in a past, but even without it avalanche of emotions literately falls on a listener from the first song “Drained”.
Musically the band remains true to itself. Riffs are powerful and melody is great. The best examples of brutality and power are “The End” and “Through My Eyes”. “Wallflower” is a little melancholic but very atmospheric. And the most unexpected, but the catchiest and with its own peculiar charm is “In My Room” – that’s exactly that one aforementioned modern approach. Also there are a little electronic inserts, like in в “Like Sand” and “Save Me”. But they are so small, that they don’t seem as a part of music, but mockery. However for those who expects another Whoracle from every new band’s album even this trifle will be enough to blame the band in all deadly sins.
There are lines in “Wallflower”: «The older I get, the younger I feel». I think this is a best describing what happens to In Flames and explains their musical and stylistic changes. Because changes are always bad.
P.S. The best review for this album made my sister (and thousands other fans), said «Haters gonna so hate». And they really will.
Battles was released on November, 11-th by Nuclear Blast.
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