Veteran Swedish rockers In Flames are back with their 11th release, one which sees the band evolving further from their death/black metal roots towards a more commercial blend of progressive and nu-metal styles. Make no mistake though, this is still some heavy stuff, with lots of crushing riffs and dual guitar harmonies, and singer Anders Friden can still scream and gurgle with the best of them, but there's a new found subtelty to the music this time around, more hooks, more keyboards & electronic effects.
A song like "Evil in a Closet" is a perfect example of something that In Flames would not have tried a few years ago. This piece starts off atmospheric, and has a strong Porcupine Tree/Blackfield/Opeth feel to it, before turning into a creepy power metal rocker. It features tons of melodic vocals from Friden, symphonic keyboards, and bruising power chords. A healthy dose of progressive nu-metal can be heard on the ultra-catchy "The Quiet Place", a song that screams for MTV2 or FM alternative rock, with its mix of clean melodic vocals & shouts, hooks, pounding riffs, and addictive, trippy electronics.
"Touch of Red", the first single from the album, is a catchy mix of brooding goth metal and heavy guitar riffs, relentless in its execution, yet could have been a little longer. The surging "Like You Better Dead" contains some crisp & crunchy guitar work from Bjorn Gelotte and Jesper Siromblad to go along with Friden's furious black metal vocals. The band hits some Korn-like tendencies on the raging "Borders and Shading", especially in the vocal department, which may be an appeal to US audiences. On the technical cut "Dial 595-Escape" the band hits Meshuggah intensity, especially with the guitar and drum work, along with Friden's barbaric vocal delivery that descibes inner demons wanting to break out.
In summary, a fulfilling release from In Flames. Not necessarily as adventurous as some of their earlier releases, and it doesn't contain the multitude of monstrous & catchy riffs that Reroute to Remain, their last full-length album, had, but it's still very solid. Think of it this way-this is probably the In Flames album to start with for those who shy away from the extreme metal tag. While there are still some death and black metal references, especially with some of the vocals, there's plenty of melodic, clean vocal passages, and the songs are very commercial sounding in nature. With any luck, In Flames should have a whole slew of new fans warming up to them with this one.
Publishers Note (10/17/2005)-The Ozzfest Edition of the Soundtrack to Your Escape CD contains a bonus DVD which contains the video's for "The Quiet Place" and "Touch of Red", as well as footage of "Watch Them Feed" and "Only For the Weak", two great older In Flames pieces, recorded live at the Wacken festival in 2003. The inclusion of these two tracks might be reason alone for many to purchase this edition. There is also a short documentary on the making of the Soundtrack to Your Espape album, featuring producer Daniel Bergstrand.
02. The Quiet Place
03. Dead Alone
04. Touch Of Red
05. Like You Better Dead
06. My Sweet Shadow
07. Evil In A Closet
08. In Search For I
09. Borders And Shading
10. Superhero Of The Computer Rage
11. Dial 595-Escape
The Quiet Place (video clip)
Touch of Red (video clip)
Watch Them Feed (Live at Wacken 2003)
Only For the Weak (Live at Wacken 2003)
The Making of Soundtrack toYour Escape (Featuring Daniel Bergstrand)