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In Flames - 'Battles' Album Review


1. Drained

2. The End

3. Like Sand

4. The Truth

5. In My Room

6. Before I Fall

7. Through My Eyes

8. Battles

9. Here Until Forever

10. Underneath My Skin

11. Wallflower

12. Save Me

In Flames are Swedish Melodic Death Metal giants, having recorded 12 studio albums, 3 EPs and 2 live DVDs since 1990, however one change to the band that has left fans reeling in shock and made them anxious, was the departure of their iconic drummer Daniel Svensson. Leaving In Flames to release 'Battles' as the first album without him since 1997's 'Whoracle'. Battles is a 55 minute long effort, totaling 14 songs and covering a spectrum of genres and undoubtedly growing their adoring fan base. The stylistic switch up that came with In Flames' last album or two had sections of their fans on edge, as they had switched to more of an Alternative Metal scene, with vocalist Friden having these words to say on this: "When people hear this album I think they’re going to instantly know that it’s the new In Flames without us repeating the same song over and over, and that’s something I’m incredibly proud of"

The first song 'Drained' really does set the tone for the album, with a mix of crowd pleasing sing-along choruses and the typical raunchy, harsher vocals from Friden. Tracks 'The End', 'Like Sand' and 'The Truth' are penned with some of In Flames most memorable hooks and choruses of their recent career, it is also worth pointing out however, that the stylistic change is more than evident in these songs, with the latter especially being coveted in melodic vocals and catchy hooks, but lacking in the heavier vocals that old school fans crave. 'Before I Fall' is packed with intricate riffs and is a fantastically well written song, instrumentally, with the lead guitar without a doubt the standout feature. 'Through My Eyes' is without a doubt my personal favorite on the album, it is fantastic instrumentally, with explosive riffs and a double bass drum that co-exist without making the vocals feel muted, which in this genre is a rarity. Definitely one of, if not the, best songs on 'Battles'. 'Here Until Forever' is a song that the fans of the melodic voice of Friden will enjoy. 'Battles' title track definitely signals the 'heavier' side of the album, with 'Battles' and 'Underneath My Skin' particularly standing out due to the quantity of heavier vocals and less melodic hooks in comparison to the prior half of the album. In my opinion the drumming on this album seems to be lacking something, I feel like the new drummer has had less creative lease than Svensson would have had, with the drums sounding more like generic filler than the explosive vibes and pounding drums fans of In Flames are used too. The seven minute 'Wallflower' is quite the contrast, with a nice melodic vibe accompanied by similar vocals.

In conclusion, you will enjoy this album if you enjoyed their 2014 effort 'Siren Charms' but not as much if you were expecting the heavy side of In Flames.

Check out their video for 'The End'

Review - Luke Percival

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