It's no big secret that In Flames have not been the most consistent band in the last few years with somewhat mediocre albums and a loss of direction. However, all is forgiven with this latest opus, yes that's right I said opus, their new album Sounds Of A Playground Fading which overshadows their 'lost' years. This is the sound of a band injected with some new life and a sense of purpose, this is the sound of a band fighting to regain their position at the top and boy have they succeeded.
Let's get straight to the point; there are massive hooks, melody and some purely masterful guitar work from Bjorn Gelotte and I'm talking heart stopping riffs and sublime solos. 'Sounds Of A Playground Fading' is the first taste and the perfect starter before a killer solo rips up in 'Deliver us' then moving on to the floor shaking 'All For Me' which has such a stomping, crushing riff its beyond belief. In Flames have obviously taken a lot of time and care to get the perfect balance of that classic In Flames sound and to show that they're not afraid to progress and try new things. That's not to say that In Flames have gone all wimpy on us Lord no, the songs have real structure, feel and I'll say again awesome guitar work! That Gothenburg sound is still front & center in the excellent production and so are Anders Friden's unmistakable growls but his vocals surpass anything he's done to date. 'The Attic' a strange and atmosphere laden number relaxes you before the almighty 'Darker Times' kicks you squarely in the family jewels waking you up with a heavy metallic jolt. 'Jesters Door' has an almost film noir feel to it with the spoken word vocal but the best is left for last with the almost six minute 'A New Dawn' and 'Liberation' which complete an amazing comeback from In Flames.
In Flames have certainly proved that with a lot of determination, belief and some time taken over this album their success was certain. They have crafted an album of quality top shelf songs which will certainly welcome back some old fans and new alike. It was a long time coming but so worth the wait.
Sounds Of A Playground Fading contender for album of the year? You bet your fucking ass!!!
- Sounds Of A Playground Fading
- Deliver Us
- All For Me
- The Puzzle
- Fear Is The Weakness
- Where The Dead Ships Dwell
- The Attic
- Darker Times
- Enter Tragedy
- Jester's Door
- A New Dawn