CD Review: In Flames – Sounds of a Playground Fading

In FlamesI love In Flames. I am a complete homer, and can say nothing bad about them.

The truth is, though, I came into their music late, around their eighth and ninth albums, Come Clarity and A Sense of Purpose. So, of course, I expected their music to all sound the same. To my surprise, as I went back through their catalog, their evolution as a band seemed to be similar to that of All That Remains; they went from being super growly and brutal to being more melodic and lyrics-oriented.

To me, that’s not a bad thing, I like to have the mix of brutal music with melodic elements, accompanied by thoughtful lyrics which can be understood – and having growls and screams used mainly for emphasis, not as a crutch for talentless vocals.

That being said, let’s take a look at Sounds of a Playground Fading

First off, the music sounds very different. It still has a lot of the undertones of their old music, but as one of their founding members, the guitarist and co-writer for most of their material, Jesper Strömblad left the band in early February of last year. The guitar playing is nowhere near as complex or layered as it was in their previous efforts, though in a couple songs, particularly Deliver Us (Track 2), the keys are more prevalent.

Second of all, the lyrics are just as poignant as they always are for In Flames, but they seem fairly uninspired. The vocal range of Anders Friden isn’t really expanded much, though he seems to have greater control than he did in the last outing. This is unfortunate, because the flats and sharps he belted out in A Sense of Purpose gave so much character to his music, and filled it with tons of emotion. He sounds a lot more generic now.

Third of all, gentlemen, I love you, but in some cases… you really do NOT need more cowbell.

Something big that bugs me about this release is that the early songs seem so much weaker than the later tracks. It truly does get better as it goes on, but really, why would they even allow weaker songs to get on the disc to begin with? Seems like a poor decision to me.

Sounds of a Playground Fading Cover

Sounds of A Playground Fading
US Release: 21JUN11
Track Listing:
1. Sounds of a Playground Fading 4:44
2. Deliver Us 3:31
3. All for Me 4:31
4. The Puzzle 4:34
5. Fear is the Weakness 4:07
6. Where the Dead Ships Dwell 4:27
7. The Attic 3:18
8. Darker Times 3:25
9. Ropes 3:42
10. Enter Tragedy 3:59
11. Jester’s Door 2:38
12. A New Dawn 5:52
13. Liberation 5:10

Overall Opinion:

Skully

4 Skullies

I think that overall, this is a solid release, and certainly worth purchase. It gets better as it goes along, still has that unique In Flames sound, which very few other bands emulate well. At thirteen tracks, with most clocking in at four minutes plus, it is certainly long enough, giving a good bit of entertainment for the value. I think that this album is an easy four out of five skullies.

Pick this CD up, if you like metal, In Flames, or just not sucking in general.

Skully

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~ by whatscene on June 17, 2011.

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