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In Flames going backwards from 2014
#1
I'm going to tell you about In Flames. 

They're a band that formed in 1990 and are active today. Typically when I discover bands I like, I stumble upon their recent releases, and I seek out their older music, going backwards from their contemporary sound to towards their conception. With very few exceptions, this how I know the music I like, by coming across their modern music, and backtracking. 

Normally when someone tells me "hey check out this band they're neat" I look at their wikipedia page and think "UGH, 7-13 albums, I have no time to develop an opinion on this". But I'm going to give you a review of every album, so now you can parrot my own shitty opinions so you never need to listen to music that I like ever again. 

If I ever say to you "hey, check out In Flames" you can now just ignore me because you already know what I think about the band.



2014: Siren Charms

In Flames' most recent album is a notable departure from the music they produced in previous albums. As of this album, In Flames holds about three or four tiers of fans who loved a certain era of the band's music and regard the other fan tiers with contempt. This album is quite subdued compared to previous albums, with worse lyrics. If you give this album a chance, you think it's alright, but it's actually pretty awful. What a great start to this review. I was going to pretend this album didn't exist but, you know, it felt like cheating.


The song Siren Charms is alright, and is also only 3 minutes long. It's a pretty solid representation of the album (as you'd expect from an eponymous)



2011: Sounds of a Playground Fading

This came out the year that I started listening to In Flames. I had it purchased, and enjoyed it. It the energetic, loud metal that I enjoy with instrumental bits to calm you down. It also has a handful of tracks where our vocalist narrates a pseudo-poetic story and they suck. They're interesting the first listen-through, but are boring forever after. You can only wholeheartedly enjoy listening to the whole consecutive album once.

At this point you're thinking that the trick to In Flames is to only listen to the songs which are the same name as the album they're from. Well I promise to mix it up from here on. This represents the best of the album to me, it represents the music with all the pretentious junk removed. 



2008: A Sense of Purpose

When I started listening to In Flames, this was their most recent, the last album containing founding guitarist Jesper Stromblad. I really really liked "The Chosen Pessimist" song, which was somewhat ballad-esque (or at least a balladish form of what the rest of the album sounded like). But like all ballads I eventually lose the patience to wait for the slow buildup. I dunno, space out your listenings of it if you liked it the first time?
In this album, Anders' voice is gorgeous, the instruments do not really stand out on their own, really they're just there to make Anders to sound better. Any actual musician might enjoy this album less for that reason, I dunno.

When I listened to this album again I remembered how much I enjoy their starting track. But yeah, if you're seeking tasty instrumentals, you'll be disappointed, it's all playing support. I guess that might be why Jesper left the band.



2006: Come Clarity

This is a neat album. It was originally planned to be called "Crawl Through Knives", but I guess they decided in the end that their "Come Clarity" song was better. I'm pretty sure every album is just named after the band's favourite song. It's fine, looking to music for deep meanings and philosophy would be irresponsible anyway. The instruments are saucier in this album, but if you're not here for Ander's sweet sweet vocals you'll need to follow me further into the past.

To me (and apparently the band?) no particular song stuck out as more incredible than the others, this is a consistently good album. This track features a guest female vocalist.



2004: Soundtrack to Your Escape

This album is in my opinion the sweet spot between Anders sounding the way I like him and the guitarists producing interesting music. Beyond this point we delve in to further eras with a different vibes (It probably isn't a drastic cut-off point, but whatever). This is without a doubt my favourite album. If a genie offered to trade all other In Flames albums for an album I liked as much as this one... I'd probably take it, time anomalies and all.

My favourite track from the band. I generally do not enjoy lyrics in music, I usually do not connect with the words of the vocalist, often they make me cringe. I enjoy these lyrics though, I can't really say why, they don't seem any more meaningful if I think about it. Whatever. Close second is "My Sweet Shadow".



2002: Reroute to Remain

Welcome to primary school times. I remember talking to a friend about how 2002 sounded like such a futuristic number. I wonder if the song and name of the album "Reroute to Remain" in any way refers to the segue from their previous style to the sound of Soundtrack to Your Escape and so on. Their change of style would've potentially alienated existing fans, but it feels like it wasn't until now that our vocalist settled on the style he more or less maintains until 2014.

Not sure what to think of the music video. I like the song though.



2000: Clayman

I love the Clayman album. The vocals are harsher, angrier, but remain varied and interesting. The guitars are sexy. When Anders sings the instruments sing too, they certainly aren't playing backup anymore. The cover art has the vitruvian man on it. Neat.

This is a great song, my major gripe is that they finish it with one of those repeat-the-chorus fade-out, which in my opinion is the worst sort of ending you can give a song. So I'm loving the song and just as it finished it's lacklustre conclusion spoils the ride. But yeah, aside from the crappy ending, a solid indicator of the album.



1999: Colony

So when we slip to the other side of the millennium, we are disappointed. The music is solid but our vocals are substandard. They're the same level of growl, no variety, so boring. Skip this album if you ask me.

This track is pretty good. We have solid spaces of not Anders which keeps it interesting. It's a re-do of "Behind Space" from an earlier album, so it's probably not reasonable to choose this as the sample for the album, but I don't care. 



1997: Whoracle

If anyone is still reading this post (if anymore ever started reading this post) you'll be thinking "okay so Anders remains boring for however many more albums this goes on for" but you're WRONG. He does a great job in this album. This album is the last (or first, from our perspective) that we have some reference to Norse Mythology, we don't yet have the keyboardist Fredrik Nordstrom (Jesper Stromblad did both rhythm guitar and keyboard).

Thinking critically, this song is dramatic gravelly whisper, sweet instrumentals and sudden outbursts of chorus strung together. But excellently done.



1996: The Jester Race

The youtube comments section for this album tells you of a misty-eyed era of integrity and how In Flames has sold out for money and popularity. It is highly regarded by the equivalents of Citizen Kane fanatics among metal scholarship I suppose. According to wikipedia it is done in the "Gothenburg " metal style, but I do not know what that means. It is rather melodic. To me it's fine, but not my preferred cup of tea.

This track is a delightful guitar playtime



1995: Subterranean

I didn't realise it at first, but this is actually an EP rather than a studio album, with only 5 tracks and being early days. The vocalist in all the albums we've looked at so far, Anders, is a guest singer on this EP along with 5 other vocalists, so I suppose this was sort of an audition piece. I quite like it, but am getting hella bored writing this post. As someone who despises labelling music with genres this whole 'review a band' idea is starting to seem really foolish. Also, there's a video limit of 10, so if you're still reading you'll have to follow hyperlinks from now on. Deal with it.

This is a really neat song. As with the "Gothenburg-style" album The Jester Race, the songs from Subterranean sound 'authentically Scandinavian', the guitars sounding similar to the few other Swedish and Norwegian songs that I have heard from the same time period.



1994: Lunar Strain

Of the 6 members who performed in In Flames for the vast majority of the lifetime of the band, only one contributed to the first album: Jesper Stromblad, who apparently was drummer and keyboarder this album- talented or they never played live? The vocalist for this album was Mikael Stanne. He was alright.

This song refers to a folk story where Satan fiddles a song that villagers would dance to but never be able to stop. They'd dance to death and their skeletons would keep on dancing. Spooky story and a suitably spooky tune.
It doesn't really tell you much about the album itself, but it's a cool song, fuck you, etc etc


AND THAT DOES IT FOR THIS HALF-ASSED IN FLAMES REVIEW. If you've actually read through this whole thing thanks for the effort. If this has actually piqued your interest in the band at all then let me know, otherwise I'll assume it was a fat waste of time. If you're already familiar with In Flames please feel free to voice your own opinions on the matter, I'd love to hear them.
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#2
Holy detailed post batman! Nicely done.

Bookmarked so I can listen to some of these when I get home tonight.
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#3
Listened to all of these videos (from oldest to newest last night while I was doing working). Completely forgot that In Flames made "Take this Life" which was in Guitar Hero III. Definitely heard the same kind of music throughout these videos.

I really liked Hårgalåten from Lunar Strain, kind of went back and forth on the other songs as I moved up through your post. Once I hit "The Quiet Place" from Soundtrack to Your Escape it really drew me in, then I like them even more once I listened to "Dead End" in Come Clarity.
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#4
(03-02-2016, 08:54 AM)Pythagean Wrote: Listened to all of these videos (from oldest to newest last night while I was doing working). Completely forgot that In Flames made "Take this Life" which was in Guitar Hero III. Definitely heard the same kind of music throughout these videos.

I really liked Hårgalåten from Lunar Strain, kind of went back and forth on the other songs as I moved up through your post. Once I hit "The Quiet Place" from Soundtrack to Your Escape it really drew me in, then I like them even more once I listened to "Dead End" in Come Clarity.

Sweet. 

Vocals on "Dead End" are by Lisa Miskovsky, who also did the "Still Alive" theme song for Mirror's Edge. She does well in the Swedish pop charts.

Speaking of fun collaborations, check out Self vs Self which is by Pendulum and In Flames:

It's from the Immersion album (recorded between 2008-2010), which lines up with the A Sense of Purpose album
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#5
Nice write up man, seriously. Always true to you and how you think about things.

Not usually big on my Metal. I am way more mellow these days and I feel I really need to be in the mood to listen to fast paced, louder and angrier music.

My favorite Metal/Heavy Metal/There are too many fucking genres of metal it annoys me, band is without a doubt Iron Maiden. They are and old band but a good band. Still going strong too.

Which is what I like about In Flames, nice to see bands that started in the 80s/90s/early 2000s still going today and still making music for the love of it. I'm also jealous of all their albums. Most of my favorite bands disbanded before they got to release a decent amount of albums. Guns N' Roses being the most notable outta shit I like. At least what they did release was consistently (in my opinion) 10/10 stuff.

Still at work, but got headphones so ill give the ones you have in your post a listen. I've listen to In Flames alot before though, both because of your rankings and just hearing them around the place too. They are solid for sure.

Sorry about the video limit. It's just to stop people going nuts with videos. Anymore than 10 and your browser will start to chug while loading everything in. During whatever year of E3 here there were so many videos in the post of some thread that it was crashing the front page, so I had to cap it. I'll increase it to 15 though aye?
Liams Wrote:make a car out of scrap metal from genie lamps
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#6
(04-02-2016, 08:59 AM)AdminGG Wrote: My favorite Metal/Heavy Metal/There are too many fucking genres of metal it annoys me, band is without a doubt Iron Maiden. They are and old band but a good band. Still going strong too.

Sorry about the video limit. It's just to stop people going nuts with videos. Anymore than 10 and your browser will start to chug while loading everything in. During whatever year of E3 here there were so many videos in the post of some thread that it was crashing the front page, so I had to cap it. I'll increase it to 15 though aye?

I've never really given Iron Maiden a serious go, I remember listening to their Iron Maiden song from their Iron Maiden album once, being amused by the novelty.. and then never revisiting it.

haha 15 videos will be sufficient for any more of these sorts of posts (was thinking of doing one of these for some other bands too). Don't worry I'm not honestly mad.
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#7
(04-02-2016, 09:12 AM)fresher taco Wrote: I've never really given Iron Maiden a serious go, I remember listening to their Iron Maiden song from their Iron Maiden album once, being amused by the novelty.. and then never revisiting it.

haha 15 videos will be sufficient for any more of these sorts of posts (was thinking of doing one of these for some other bands too). Don't worry I'm not honestly mad.

15 it now is. Yes I want to do one of these threads now, but who to cover first.

Yeah go listen to Iron Maiden. The older the probably better. Or the album Brave New World.

Maybe I should start with them aye.
Liams Wrote:make a car out of scrap metal from genie lamps
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#8
(04-02-2016, 09:18 AM)AdminGG Wrote:
(04-02-2016, 09:12 AM)fresher taco Wrote: I've never really given Iron Maiden a serious go, I remember listening to their Iron Maiden song from their Iron Maiden album once, being amused by the novelty.. and then never revisiting it.

haha 15 videos will be sufficient for any more of these sorts of posts (was thinking of doing one of these for some other bands too). Don't worry I'm not honestly mad.

15 it now is. Yes I want to do one of these threads now, but who to cover first.

Yeah go listen to Iron Maiden. The older the probably better. Or the album Brave New World.

Maybe I should start with them aye.

I kinda wanna do one for Biffy Clyro, but everyone here seems to be into metal, and I don't know whether anyone will appreciate Scottish alt rock strangeness.
[Image: 76561198044303202.png]
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#9
(04-02-2016, 11:49 AM)Selegraphon Wrote:
(04-02-2016, 09:18 AM)AdminGG Wrote:
(04-02-2016, 09:12 AM)fresher taco Wrote: I've never really given Iron Maiden a serious go, I remember listening to their Iron Maiden song from their Iron Maiden album once, being amused by the novelty.. and then never revisiting it.

haha 15 videos will be sufficient for any more of these sorts of posts (was thinking of doing one of these for some other bands too). Don't worry I'm not honestly mad.

15 it now is. Yes I want to do one of these threads now, but who to cover first.

Yeah go listen to Iron Maiden. The older the probably better. Or the album Brave New World.

Maybe I should start with them aye.

I kinda wanna do one for Biffy Clyro, but everyone here seems to be into metal, and I don't know whether anyone will appreciate Scottish alt rock strangeness.

By everyone you mean fresher taco and his love for a metal band. He likes a bit of everything.

I also love a couple of Metal Bands, but am more a Rock guy and love a bit of everything also.

So go for it!
Liams Wrote:make a car out of scrap metal from genie lamps
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#10
(04-02-2016, 11:49 AM)Selegraphon Wrote:
(04-02-2016, 09:18 AM)AdminGG Wrote:
(04-02-2016, 09:12 AM)fresher taco Wrote: I've never really given Iron Maiden a serious go, I remember listening to their Iron Maiden song from their Iron Maiden album once, being amused by the novelty.. and then never revisiting it.

haha 15 videos will be sufficient for any more of these sorts of posts (was thinking of doing one of these for some other bands too). Don't worry I'm not honestly mad.

15 it now is. Yes I want to do one of these threads now, but who to cover first.

Yeah go listen to Iron Maiden. The older the probably better. Or the album Brave New World.

Maybe I should start with them aye.

I kinda wanna do one for Biffy Clyro, but everyone here seems to be into metal, and I don't know whether anyone will appreciate Scottish alt rock strangeness.

Hey music that's potentially inaccessible/out of our normal range is just the right sort of music to put in the spotlight. Youtube can give me a buttload of music that is mathed to be compatible with what I like already, but it wouldn't even occur to me to seek out Scottish alt rock.
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