Released by: Nuclear Blast Records
Release Date: Out Now!!!
Genre: Melodic Death Metal
Anders Fridén | vocals
Björn Gelotte | guitars
Niclas Engelin | guitars
Peter Iwers | bass
2. The End
3. Like Sand
4. The Truth
5. In My Room
6. Before I Fall
7. Through My Eyes
9. Here Until Forever
10. Underneath My Skin
12. Save Me
The latest 12 track offering from Sweden’s IN FLAMES titled Battles is full of hooks and technical brutality that both old and new fans of the band will enjoy.
IN FLAMES are an example of what it means to steadfastly stay true to your vision. Since forming in Gothenburg, Sweden in 1990, the legendary melodic metal act has had six albums debut in the top ten in Sweden (including two #1 debuts), toured alongside everyone from METALLICA to JUDAS PRIEST and influenced many of today’s biggest metal acts without ever ceasing to push their own signature sound forward.
“This album came together much sooner than we thought it would,” guitarist Björn Gelotte explains when asked about the writing process. “I was very reluctant in the beginning but I had a bunch of riffs so I just sat down with [vocalist] Anders [Fridén] and started working on stuff and it began to come together really quickly.”
Battles mixes the old melodic death metal roots with the modern electronic sound that their last releases Siren Charms and Sounds of a Playground Fading incorporated. This latest release has a more experimental and progressive feel in especially in the vast vocal range of singer Anders Fridén in tracks “Like Sand” where the singing shifts from very clear cleans to the heavier growls that old fans will be familiar with.
The electronic production adds a modern feel in tracks like “The Truth” but also more depths to the sound of Battles which is mainly down to the Grammy-nominated producer Howard Benson (MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE, THE USED). In this record fans of the producer’s previous work will also enjoy the sound of this album, as it’s got a clear modern feel throughout, with really great mastering and production.
There is a combination of sounds throughout the album which expands countries by the way of bassist Peter Iwers and guitarist Niclas Engelin, who left the comforts of Sweden for Los Angeles to record the album. This has affected the sound of the album by having a studio in the house that they were staying at which added a more refined and relaxed vibe to the album. The guitar work from Björn Gelotte and Niclas Engelin is on a high level as these Swedes are known for their technical abilities to write catchy hooks and melodic solos. Bassist Peter Iwers adds a great backbone for the rest of the band in tracks like “In My Room” where the bass is strong throughout the verses and with the production, it is brought to the front of the mix.
Drummer Peter Iwers throughout the record carrying the rest of the band with technical drumming and a stand out favorite is “Through My Eyes”. The tempo shifts from Peter Iwers and drum dynamics makes this track and I can imagine it will be a favorite in the live shows that the band will be embarking early 2017 with Avenged Sevenfold and Disturbed throughout the United Kingdom. “Underneath My Skin” is another great drum track that has some fast fills and backing during the guitar solos.
Some fans have argued about this band changing their sound but it seems that they have developed their original sound into the modern setting with proper production. The fan base expands young and old, genders and a wide range of music fans because of the band’s approach. This is ultimately due to the band standing behind these songs when playing them live and the fact that they have never tried to be something they’re not.
“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,” Fridén says.
In Flames Battles is out now through Nuclear Blast and all good record stores. I think that all old and new fans will enjoy picking up this album and attending the band’s upcoming shows which can be found here: http://www.inflames.com/tour/
Reviewer: David Bell