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No, this is nowhere in the ballpark of their star crop material. And sadly, it begins to slide downhill halfway through, but this is still talented songwriting, albeit more infectious and hook laden. I was going to give this album a 75%, but my younger self would smack the shit out of me. The first time I heard this, my naïve brain was blown away. It wasn't exactly the kind of thing trending in the mainstream (except for terrible songs like Cloud Connected), but the songwriting was just weird enough for me to get initially hooked.
It was always hilarious to me that Trigger and Cloud Connected were both singles, because Trigger shows exactly what went right with the album, whereas Cloud Connected shows exactly what went wrong. There's scarcely any actual death metal influence left. The closest thing is Drifter, and Transparent, which are two of my favorite tracks, but I'd be a lot more comfortable with Drifter if it was up to twice as fast, and if Transparent wasn't downtuned it would kind of suck. I have no idea why (must've been provoked by some sort of mind-altering substance) but I ordered the vinyl version of Reroute to Remain one day a few years ago. I almost always increased the speed for Drifter. I also only ever listened to the first side...
The mellowness doesn't bother me, because I hear good melodies often enough. It's not quite as melodically infectious and weird as an album like Whoracle, but I would still say it's weird enough. The general melodic theme to me, represents a melancholy sarcasm carrying half-upbeat tunes across a landscape of feeble optimism and realization of doom. The lyrics get a lot of messages across, which is an admirable aspect because after this album, the lyrics would fall into a trap of whining about relationship problems and other less abstract internal struggles. The lyrics are also not as pretty and poetic as earlier releases, but still pretty charismatic.
In summation, for a proto-metalcore pre-alt-metal sort of album that kind of became their "Black Album," it really is enjoyable. The good songs, in my humble opinion, make up for almost half of it being filler. Definitely not a good first listen, but I think it's their last good album. If you're just getting into In Flames, I'd just go in order. Start with Lunar Strain, and end at this one.
The change is so there, but if you take away expectations to the point to where musical direction is concerned and has been going, then you won't object to viewing this album in a negative connotation or have a false belief. Sure, it's different, it may not be totally melodic death metal, it does have its melodic death moments, but now it's meshed into 2 genres, maybe more. The guitars are still heavy, but the music/vocals rear into a different form. They do use more electronics and clean vocals, some to the extent to think this album is somewhat in the vein of metalcore but it isn't all like that.
What impressed me the most is the music, vocals, production and mixing as well as the lyrics. I can't see myself writing off this release to just be total crap because I wouldn't be being honest. If I thought it was just a sell-out album, I would've already stated that, but I'm not. So keep in tune to what I have to say here. Yes there is a lot less aggression, there are heavy guitars though they're not playing very fast, there are electronics, their approach is totally different and they basically don't want to keep playing what they've been playing since their founding in 1990. It's just a change.
Talking more about the music, it seems like their concept was more to the effect that they wanted to mesh 2 genres together, melodic death and groove metal. They also throw in some thrash sound into it showing their influences genuinely. This I think is good. What blew me away is obligatory, but it was the lyrics which made the music so much more desirable. They're using the words which weren't overly harsh to mesh with the guitars. The clean vocals are a reflection of just how they are now, more exclusively than past releases for sure.
I like every song on here. I think the rhythm guitars show their brutality even though they're not playing at fast tempos much. In Flames was never too big on making music that was overly fast, just melodic. The riffs here are thick, but they still have that melodic feel to them. They're expressing more art-work with this one and people kind of knew that the band's evolution was changing into a more laid back vibe to their songwriting than anything else. I don't think that their effort was just to go commercial with this one, I think it's just experimentation.
Definitely worth checking out on YouTube especially the title-track and "Cloud Connected." Don't just consider though what I think or others think of the album, consider what you think. I don't think that I'm totally off on this, I think that this album is a "B" to me. Maybe it's among some of the highest ratings on the album altogether, but it's just what I think. Think "melodic/groove/thrash/metalcore" and you'll have all of those styles in here. I like it more than their new album, but I like most of their releases anyway. That's not because they're In Flames, it's because they put out quality music.
As far as sellout albums go, this is pretty high calibre. It’s a lot easier to listen to polarizing albums like this with a breadth of distance. I can understand In Flames fans feeling betrayed at the time of this album’s release, but come on, it was 2002 and that’s just where popular metal was at during the turn of the century. In Flames aren’t trying to pass this sound off as something that it’s not, which might be a misconception for many people. This isn’t melodic death metal at all. This is slightly heavier Linkin Park with catchier choruses, and in some cases, less gay lyrics. It’s pretty shameless crap, to be sure, but it’s undeniably fun at the same time, if only for a sense of dumb novelty.
You could tell In Flames were flirting with some of these ideas on Clayman, but Reroute to Remain definitely kicks the synth pop-metal aesthetic to new regions. What’s remarkable is how successful this mindless approach to songwriting sometimes is, and yet In Flames have gone on to fuck it up over and over in subsequent years, and that’s not even to say it works all the time on this album. Take the song Trigger, which is one of the biggest hits on this album. It might as well be void of content other than a ridiculously infectious chorus.
Collect some stars to shine for you
Start today there are only a few…
Mmm, now doesn’t that just pull on your heartstrings like a Swedish boy band playing at your wedding? System is basically a typical fast In Flames song cast into a fairly generic metalcore mould. It’s not very memorable, but actually picks up steam in the second half when it slows down for another angry white boy chorus. Egonomic is in a similar style; fast for the sake of speed but unfortunately with even less substance. Cloud Connected is the blueprint for the nu-In Flames concert hit with its building synth intro and spoken-screamed verses and of course a chorus that would have hordes of prepubescents stage-rushing at Knotfest. Even Dawn of a new Day manages to prove itself worthwhile, despite being ‘that acoustic track’.
If albums like this ruin metal for you then it’s only because you let them. Aggressively berating this stuff is akin to a senile pensioner who spends his afternoons shouting “back in my day, video games were called books!” to kids who just ignore him anyway. What surprises me is the fact that In Flames squandered the simple formula they scored with on this album in later misfortunes such as A Sense of Purpose. How hard can it be to keep churning out hits like Cloud Connected? It’s true that I find it a bit grating to stomach this album in its entirety these days, but it was an important one for me in my formative years, and I’m definitely still able to find enjoyment in its shameless bombast.
Oh yeah, motherfuckers... Ten years have passed since In Flames released this album. Nevertheless, aside from very harsh criticism, this could've been a good album, if it wasn't for some things. You know, this is not your typical melodeath album, where some vocalist screams/growls over some Iron Maiden/Morbid Angel-influenced guitar riffs, while the bassist plays his part and the drummer keeps the rhythm while alternating between the savage death-metal drumming and the fine and expressive metal rhythms. This album screams from the fucking bottom of his lungs (if it really does have any?) :"Buy me stupid american consumer, who doesn't know shit about melodic death metal or metal in general!!!".
We all know that americans (like any other nation, where 70% of the population has a TV in the house) tend to embrace the sheep-like behavior. When everyone else buys some stupid and worthless product, that is very well promoted, they feel empty and buy the turd. This happened with the now "seminal" (in a bad way) "Reroute to Remain". There's just a little problem with this comparison... "Reroute to Remain" is not so stupid and worthless like some shitty over-promoted product. It actually became an epitome. An epitome of what a commercial album should sound like and how a metal band should approach the infamous goal of "gettin' rich". What is weird about this album is that the band didn't embrace some trend, like we see nowadays (ultra-good death metal bands turning deathcore... *cough* Cryptopsy *cough*), to do this thing...They actually created one! They are like the Metallica of melodic death metal. They helped create the genre with a ton of creativity and the guts to mix the sheer awesomness and melodic complexity of NWOBHM bands (mainly Iron Maiden) and folk tunes with the punishing brutality and slamming wildness of death metal. But some years after they said "Hey guys, I think we're pretty much tired of doing good melodic death albums and not being able to buy some fucking mansion on the West Coast with the money we get. I think we need to do something really awesome that the masses will buy". And that's how this LP was created.
Now let's go on with the music. Musically, every single song has a simple structure than goes like this: intro-verse-chorus-verse-chorus-some cheesy melodeath guitar lead-some fucking bridge-chorus-chorus-end. There are sometimes variations, but nevermind. They stopped playing with song structures, like they did before and this kind of building up a song resembles very much to rock-and-roll and pop song structures. This is not a bad thing, but it gets worn out quickly. The good thing is that they are not as fake as some bands, they can actually catch the pop-like atmosphere (I don't mean the pop that airs today on the radio, I mean real pop singers like Frank Sinatra, Whitney Houston or to some extend Tina Turner) they desire and make it pleasant and enjoyable throughout the album.
The guitars are pretty nice, but filled with musical flaws. They have the desired catchiness, but tend to be boring after some time. Some solos or more leads would've solved this problem, but...they were to lazy and wanted the americans who know nothing about metal to actually swallow up this album with ease. The guitars pretty much create this pop atmosphere along with the vocals, but better songwriting should've done the trick better. The atmosphere is pretty enjoyable, but it could've been more pop (of course, without sounding like some faggot Pierce The Veil or All Time Low pop-punk assholes). The guitar parts are muddy all the time, in terms of production. It's like the producer turned the gain-button very high. This creates some kind of wall of sound, that drowns the vocals and the bass sometimes. What I like about the production is that they didn't aim for a sterile, overproduced and robotic sound, but pretty much stuck to their old guitar tone and changed it to the place, where you can still recognize it as In Flames, but tell that there have been some modifications.
The drums are simplified. Blast beats are gone, fast doublebass is gone, death metal in general is gone in the drum department. The drummer employs sometimes a faster style of playing but these are short bursts that come and gone, so overall they stuck to the heavy metal/hard rock drumming. The bass...well is pretty OK, if you like your bassist to blindly follow what your rhythm guitarist plays. As I said, because of the muddy production it is most of the time drowned by the wall of highly-distorted guitars (Don't get me wrong, distorted guitars are the core of melodeath and of metal in general, but the production of this album makes them too loud and too distorted).
In the vocal department, there is a great change. Low, guttural growls are now history and their place was taken by high and raspy screams, which along with the decent clean vocals manage to be a mediocre addition to the band's sound and style. The cleans, not as high and gay as today's singers employ, are powerful and lyrical. The vocal melodies are catchy (of course...That's what they've been aiming for), but along with the lyrics get boring over time. The lyrics are pretty emotional and totally reflect the state of spirit of the one who wrote them, without ressembling to today's emo/-core lyrics, which are plagued with themes like this: "A 15-year-old angsty teenager is ditched by his girlfriend and whines the whole song, that the girl (or "stupid fucking whore" as he calls her) left him behind and fucked a real man." You got it!
Even though I wrote some pretty things and not so many bad things in this review, you might think why this opus doesn't have more than a 55% rating. I gave this mark, because I had to judge a melodeath band that put out a so-called melodeath album, which turned out to be more pop that metal. This shit is not melodic death metal anymore. It's somewhere between the pop, heavy, extreme metal border, thus shall not be called melodic death metal or death metal in general. If it was a metalcore band or a power metal band or even a black metal band putting out this album, then it would've been something else....but it isn't. If you like some softer kind of metal, this album is for you. If you are into death metal, melodeath or extreme metal in general, stay away from this.
For the sake of self-respect… no, nevermind, the band threw that out on the last album. This is where they had a toe in the doorway of the United States, and they weren’t leaving without stripping themselves of musical integrity to get in. My biggest complaint, summed up in that last sentence, is how fake this album sounds. Now the band created the ultimate phony sack of garbage with Soundtrack To Your Escape, but for a first volley, they knew just how synthetic they wanted to sound. Look no further if you want processed, non-critical, simplistic, absent-of-atmosphere dogshit (oh excuse me, I mean badly imitated modern rock).
Here’s one general problem off the bat. This is a digitized, amplified mess with no personality, but what’s the genre? It’s not melodic death (in fact, very little is outright melodic death), and certainly not flat out rock. It’s modern metal/rock that’s mainstream, but how can that be when Anders’ whiny, nasally screams have no appeal to them whatsoever? Non-extreme metal listeners would have to already be into harsher vocals (by rock standards) to get into this music. I know, because I was that kind of fan back in the day. Listening to this, I knew I loved whatever the instruments were doing (being loud), but I didn’t like the vocals at all. Except one thing – the clean vocals I could tolerate.
Anders is powerless as a vocalist to begin with, but the mockery isn’t just in his “harsh vocals” anymore. His screams are pissed off “grrrrrs” at every start before he exhales with a childish replication of mutilated screams. Think of all those awful screamo vocalists (and I mean those emo / post-hardcore screamo singers), and then imagine a register lower – that’s what Anders sounds like. A lot of times they get buried under the instruments anyway, considering how noisy everything else is thanks to the loudness of the production. Anyway, the catch is this – Anders is like a really shitty Dragon Ball Z villain, in that he’s only useful for a limited number of episodes before his unique power is worth jack shit because everyone found a way to get around it. Anders and the band know that they have nothing to offer during anything other than the chorus, which is half of the textbook rule – ensure that the chorus is catchy as all hell. That’s where the band hopes you, as the listener, are sucked in. For a number of bands, even in metal, this is par for the course and the standard. However, for a band with absolutely no formula and devoid of character, this is digging a grave with bare hands.
Perfect example – “Trigger” – Jesus fuck, a music video even went along with this garbage.
This song screams factory-direct: factory-direct start-stop chugga-chugga riffs in the verse with maybe a few ounces of melodic death, Svensson continuing to look at those dollars raking under his drum stool, and roughly ten seconds of soloing trying to recapture what In Flames did on Clayman. The composition is already middling, with the verse-chorus-verse-chorus structure having nothing to offer, but the way it’s executed, ugh. Keep in mind that there are worse songs on this album, as expected, but this is the single, along with “Cloud Connected” – another assembly-line constructed filler. Anders, just like on every song here, is in a race to get to the chorus. No song gains anything with Anders’ screaming, but it’s the chorus that’s the jackpot, according to the band. That’s when Anders lets loose those awkward “eueueueugueuuegeueh” cleans that’s heavy on the accent. It’s not harmonic or very pleasant, for one, yet it’s used on every song (with “Metaphor” devoted fully to the clean singing).
Now that’s “Trigger”, but on the other songs it isn’t that much different. Some he uses whatever “atmosphere” the band scrounges up with the electronics like on the title track to sound cryptic, but it’s such an awkward voice. The aforementioned “Metaphor” is a fully clean track with these clean vocals, and misplaced between probably the most melodic death oriented track on the album (“Dark Signs” – essentially a carbon copy of “Cloud Connected”) and the chuggernaut “Black & White”. A few of these tracks would hurt, but fucking fourteen of them one after the other is a gauntlet. You would think with all the stuff padded into each song – electronics, chugging, the sneering screams, and the failing cleans – there would be enough to create some variety. Not exactly, as every song follows the same formula and nothing has any redeeming value to it. Take “Drifter” for instance, a short chugfest with another ounce of melodic death in it buried under the same riff heard on every song, as well as those screams during the verse and the cleans during the chorus. It has no personality – loud playing doesn’t mean energetic.
Svensson I still hold as the only member worth anything anymore. The man, even on this album, is playing with his gut as he attacks the kit with pummeling double bass. Obviously he doesn’t do anything very impressive, but with pointlessly loud music as this, all you could ask is that he shows a little hostility. That’s true, and the kit is very loud, but once more there’s no reason. There’s absolutely no point to anything being played here, and the second I shut this off I know I’ll be reinvigorated by something else.
This is a challenging album, and definitely not so in the most obvious of ways. Some albums are challenging to like, some are challenging to understand, and some are even challenging to hate if society deems it garbage and a few individuals disagree but still want to fit in. But this is an album that is challenging to dislike for the right reasons, and while many can properly point out the problems in the midst of a blinding rage, keeping one’s sense of proportionality is difficult. Even the most rabid of “The Jester Race” and “Lunar Strain” fans should keep in mind that buried under a lot of really unnecessary additives and overindulgent drama is actually a pretty decent album, but like with any elaborate cuisine in a given hybrid genre, too much of certain ingredients or a couple things that don’t belong can turn a tasty dish into a pile of disgusting mush.
Since the release of “Colony” and the addition of drummer Daniel Svensson, In Flames has played a hybrid of power metal and melodeath that is fairly similar to more keyboard oriented Finnish outfits like Children Of Bodom and Norther. They aren’t nearly as flashy and generally tend to rely more on guitar harmonies than atmospheric keyboards, but the spirit was basically the same, and “Reroute To Remain” still carries the same basic template insofar as the majority of the non-vocal parts go. It has been rightly pointed out that several of these songs contain fragments of ideas that were heard back in the 90s, most notably the principle guitar line on “Metaphor” which draws dangerously close to the intro of “Moonshield”. This song also has the misfortune of being covered with a really whinny clean vocal performance out of Anders Fridén, and throws out the climactic distorted sections in favor of a full out sappy ballad with a distant, droning violin line, and herein lays the area where this album runs into serious trouble.
The formula at work in this band’s repertoire has always been simplistic, barring perhaps the experimental tendencies of the pre-Fridén era, and things aren’t that much different here. The riff work is a bit further simplified, but still largely consonant and animated, and the rhythm section still maintains that fast paced power metal edge. The only critical flaw in this category is that Svensson’s snare and cymbal tracking is tending towards the popping and ringing characteristic more commonly heard in metalcore circles. But apart from this and maybe a few clunkers like “Transparent” and “System” being heavily groove oriented, almost to the point of being bad Pantera songs, there is little to be offended by here unless the material following “The Jester Race” really didn’t agree with you. Certain songs like “Trigger”, “Dismiss The Cynics” and “Dark Signs” are actually consistently good throughout, from an instrumental perspective, really accenting the melodic guitars and some decent keyboard additives, and could probably have made “Clayman” without greatly detracting from its overall quality.
The real folly comes into play when dealing with the vocal work, which while not all that more offensive to the ears than the semi-moaning spoken lines heard on “Clayman”, is presented in such a way that the continuity of the songs is thrown off. Perfectly good fast paced numbers like the title song “Reroute To Remain”, “Drifter” and “Egonomic” begin attacking the ears with the blazing goodness of a late 90s melodeath fest, but collapse into these horrid clean sung choruses that range from being happy hardcore rubbish to overt pop/punk with harsh, pseudo-death shouts along for the ride. When combined with an assortment of industrial tinged keyboard elements, a somewhat appealing stew all but morphs into pig slop. What makes things worse is that the instrumental sections have been slightly cut back to make more room for lyrics and vocals, the two areas where this band has always been weak, but here also serving to make the stylistic embellishments that have corrupted the sound all the more blatant.
It might be an act of unintentional conformity, but I am forced to agree with the popular sentiments of the old guard metal community on this one, this is a pretty bad album. However, fixing an album like this would require little more than dropping one or two songs and changing the vocals around, which is pretty simple in comparison to many bands who simply sound bad no matter who is performing the parts. There is no actual bad songwriting to speak of, just poor arranging and a really bad stylistic mix put on top of what is otherwise a fairly consistent Gothenburg version of power/melodeath. Bargain bin hunters might be encouraged to part with a couple of bucks for 2 or 3 songs that are minimally affected by Fridén’s gimp hardcore singing, but the words of the day here is “look elsewhere”, and I am happy to have done my part to spread the word.
Despite some rather far-fetched claims that In Flames went Nu Metal right after "Clayman", the band's album "Reroute to Remain", the first album of the band's post-melodic death metal period, is generally accepted as the best of this era. Far above the shitty "modern metal" sound of "Soundtrack to Your Escape", above the half-assed pseudo-comeback sound of "Come Clarity", and above the band's most recent, and trendiest, almost emo work on "A Sense of Purpose", the band apparantly didn't suck so fucking much on this album. If this is indeed true, then I have been living my life totally wrong.
This album contains all of the most basic elements of "melodic death metal". For instance, fast paced drums, a heavy rhythm section placed neatly under melodic leads, etc. Some of these songs are still pretty moshable, although not even close to the energy packed headbang-fests that manifested "Graveland", "Resin", and "Upon an Oaken Throne". However, there is alot of excess on this album which simply cannot be dismissed. The addition of cleanly sung choruses, always sanwiched between uninspired sections of modern melodic metal featuring Anders Friden screaming his head off is simply offensive, and the lyrical change from astronomy and philosophy to self-pity and depression is just ridiculous, and offensive. I can't understand why a band would dumb themselves down this way...
And here's my main problem with this album. It appears the band has "sold out", by replacing the intelligent and unique elements of their early albums by switching these elements with more modern and commercially acceptable ones. For instance, while older albums featured Anders performing at a variety of different tones and using deeper grunts and higher screams for emphasis (see: "Resin"), while sticking mostly to mid-ranged death growls, here he has erased any sort of variety in his vocals, focusing the entire album in a strained higher scream. However, these screams are totally annoying and don't inspire me at all. The clean singing, which was introduced on "Colony" (although used sparingly), has taken over the band's sound. Every single track features a cleanly sung chorus, many of which are very out of place. He actually sounds younger and far less manly than previously. Although it's cliche, these clean vocals range from KoRn inspired in some songs, to emo sounding in others. Yes, they are both present on the same album.
Almost all of these songs are genuinly bad, and a premonition of what was to come. Like "System", for instance. This track features an extremly simple "chugga-chugga" riff featuring two chords tagged at the end of the riff which give it a pseudo-melodic feel. Out of nowhere the band slow down into a power pop pre-chorus (no exagerration) before it blows up into a "metal" version of the same thing. This track is utterly terrible. Another example is "Transparent", which features a lazily thrown together opening nu metal riff, which is accompanied by souless blasting from the drums and screamed vocals. As usual, a cleanly sung chorus follows, this time featuring Anders using an effect on his voice to make it sound like he's singing into a walkie talkie. This is all followed by a lazily thrown together solo. See, the problem is that almost all of these songs start out with a cheesy, and extremly uninspired and unmemorable melodic death metal riff, usually featuring lots of chugging with only a couple notes tagged at the end giving off the melodic feel (as previously mentioned). While in the past the riffs and solos were the key ingredients to a song, here the riffs are just worthless throwaway riffs which all sound the same, with the choruses being the sole part which is memorable, and even those are generic and just scream FAIL.
The worst aspect of this album is definatly the "experimental" aspect, though. There are two acoustic tracks, "Dawn of a New Day" and "Metaphor", neither of which are very thought-provoking, although I suppose "Metaphor" provokes me to think "Hey, this fucking sucks!", so if that counts or not, I'll let you be the judge. Combined with this, the band have begun to add more "industrial" aspects to their sound, predominatly in "Cloud Connected" and "Free Fall". These two tracks show the band slowing down the overall pace of their songs to cater to the weak-minded masses, using more vocal effects, more keyboards, etc. Basically, the idea that the band that recorded "Clad in Shadows" would go on to record this, is just out of this world. There is absolutly no similarity in any way, shape, or form to the band's original sound. I honestly think "Free Fall" is the worst song on this disc.
I just really hate thinking that In Flames abandoned their tried-and-true, classic melodeath roots, for this shit. Literally, every single aspect of this album is a failure. Do not buy, or even consider buying this or anything post-"Clayman". I can't say if the rumors are true or false, as I have never listened intently to the band's later material, but from what I've heard here, how could they get any worse?
I've never been the biggest fan of In Flames. Forgive me for not fellating them for the most part of the late 90's when they were supposed to be the daughters of the metal community when just because they are Swedish means all attention should be focused towards them. I think there should be certian laws place in the said metal community that if one doesn't pay much attention to a certian band that is doing the right thing, don't ostricize him whenever he speaks his mind. God forbid a metal head should speak his mind under any reason other than fellatting a band in sheep-like manner.
With that said, when In Flames' "Reroute To Remain" came out I knew what to expect. I KNEW what the band sounded like before and I knew what to expect when I first purchased because I was reading a lot of mostly scathing, but a good percentage of decent reviews based on the album's change of pace. So I kept an open mind completely un-biased towards them and sat down to listen to it pretty thoroughly. Surprised to say I didn't find too much wrong with the album because I knew what In Flames was trying to do; take their Gothenburg sound and try to find a place snug-like next to Disturbed in an attempt to gain new fans.
Let's get to the musicians. Guitarists Jesper Strömblad and Björn Gelotte may not be "teH bEstEst eva!" but that's not to say they know what they are doing. They are completely highly-skilled guitarist who can easily perform riffs up there with the classics such as "...And Justice For All", "Bomber", or even "Fear, Emptiness, Despair", but albums that this certian LP cannot touch for the sole fact that a lot of songs where Jesper and Bjorn trying so hard to SOUND hard when they end up repeating a lot of un-necessary riffs that in turn only rise to the level of filler songs. Even the drummer and bassist(Daniel Svensson and Peter Iwers) whom I don't pay much attention to are providing the heavy bottom end to their well-constructed Swedish melodies when Jesper and Bjorn are completely on. It's just the lead singer Anders Fridén that brings the band down from FULLY realizing their potential. Even with his best performance on "The Jester Race", he lacked the gruffness and conviction to REALLY push that album over the edge. Here on "Reroute To Remains", it is apparent that he's taken a certian likeness to Korn due to his whiny fucking vocals. I mean there are parts where he stills sounds ok, but then other parts where I just want to smack him in the back of the head and ask him was he born without testosterone. But this is all due to the fact that it's more acceptable for front men of Metal bands to show more of their feminine side these days then say 15 years ago. Also there are some guest musicians on "Reroute To Remain" such as Örjan Örnkloo providing keyboards and synths that definitely give it it's catchy pop sensibilities and the amazing Fiol-Olof whom I'll discuss more later on.
Sound production and artwork is going to be obvious with In Flames. Squeaky clean sound and hi-glossy printed artwork. I mean they're not going to put out any album that has a balls-ripping raw sound like Morbid Saint or even something dirty and grimy like early 90's Ministry because they are European and they are soooo beyond that "basement sound". Whatever, fuck them. Keep on progressing with your Pop Rock productions and see where it gets you.
I wont go into a song-by-song review for many reasons. Mainly because with In Flames you know what to expect. The songs presented are half and half. Half are them are really good and very catchy while the other half ride between filler and just annoying. Here's the evidence;
Good: Title track, "Trigger", "Cloud Connected", "Metaphor", "Free Fall", "Dark Signs" and "Black And White" where we see what I refer to them as Disturbed going Swedish. In fact this is probably the best song Disturbed didn't write. It's still a good song nonetheless. This batch of songs shows In Flames do everything correctly when it comes to direction, groove, how well everything flows. General good songs. 5 to 10 points a piece.
Bad: "Dismiss The Cynics", "Transparent", "Dawn of A New Day", "Minus", and "Egonomic". Now that last song I mentioned is because it's one of those fast songs for the sake of being fucking fast and In Flames has to at least always put one or two fast songs on every album since they turned for the worst due to the fact that they still want be perceived as Gothernburg metal. Other reasons for a song might be put here is that the song doesn't know what the fuck it wants to be and this is mainly due to Anders wanting to try to sound serious and yet sounding whiny as fuck at the same time. Also we see more Korn/Disturbed riffs pop-up in places where they don't need to be. Regardless of them being bad I'll still the songs a point each for trying.
Ugly: "System". Fuck this shit. Anders is a whiny little bitch at times, but here I can imagine him standing in a Morrissey-like posture, staring at the ground all doe-eyed, cradling the microphone with his limp wrists trying to sound all "deep" and "emotional". Then we see In Flames going COUNTRY! Starts out with a nice little folk-like acoustic and then comes Anders' whiny fucking vocals again and....what the fuck.....country-inspired violins. Now after a few listens it doesn't sound completely annoying, where it goes more into a completely listenable break from 1:50 to 2:32 but it doesn't belong on a Metal album. Fiol-Olof is talented. She can go from folk-ish melodies to country twang to a more classical sound at the drop of a hat. But it doesn’t sit well on the album. Sorry. I live in the south and it's bad enough. No points. Sorry.
Well, bottom line is that I am in a generous mood considering that I pained myself to sit through the new Five Finger Dick Plower album so when comparing the two albums, this one sounds NOTHING like that in terms of sheer shittiness. It’s not that bad of an album folks. C minus grade.
In Flames were the first metal band I got into, and my first album by them was actually The Tokyo Showdown, the live album with pathetic sound quality but a fantastic setlist. Obviously since then I'm familiarised myself with all of their other material, yet I realised not long ago that I didn't actually own copies of Reroute To Remain or Soundtrack To Your Escape, the two albums that are constantly attacked for being 'mallcore', and other such insults to In Flames. Obviously I'd heard a good amount of songs from the two but now that I have the full album, I have to say it is not nearly as bad as everyone seems to think.
The first thing that will jump out at you when you pop this CD in is that there is a much heavier use of synthesiser and clean vocals in a lot of songs. I mean, In Flames have used keyboards since the very beginning, so I find it quite odd that people are complaining about this element. A vast majority of the keyboard use in this album is for soundscaping and atmospherics, rather than as a real key component of a song (which it has been in the past, remember 'Wayfaerer'?) and I find that it is used very effectively. Aside from a few intros and quieter sections, they are not massively noticable and listening to the whole album I never thought that they were emphasised too much or just not beneficial to the sound.
As for the vocals, I've never been a huge fan but I find no major problems with either Anders' clean vocals or his new style of screaming. The production of them in the studio is where the problem lies, they are very muffled and occasionally distorted and I think this is mostly down to the fact that Anders does not have a particularly strong voice. Sure, sometimes they're annoying but it's not difficult to ignore them. I think a lot of the best moments on the album are the choruses, where the clean vocals are almost always implemented.
That said, don't think there is no melody in the guitars. There always has been oodles of melody and harmony dripping from In Flames' guitars, and this album is no different. The only real difference is that a lot of the guitar parts are very rhythmic at the same time, rather than the previous formula where a lot of the time the guitars would be divided between one player playing the melody and another playing chords to provide backing. The riffs here are still incredibly melodic and the classic style of harmonies In Flames are known for is still there, but the addition of more rhythmic hooks (which are only used by sellout bands, obviously) spices up In Flames' sound.
I think that Daniel Svensson's drumming has improved with every In Flames album he's appeared on and with Reroute To Remain he's really brought some songs to life. While if you are listening casually, you will start to hear similar beats throughout, his performance is fantastic and some of his fills show his fantastic ear for what will fit with any particular piece of music. However, his bass drum is not nearly prominent enough, and this in turn plays down Peter Iwers' power on the record. His playing has never been at all noticable in any way behind his bandmates' thick guitar tone, which is sad. However, this problem is to be found in every In Flames recording, so it is no real reason to mark down Reroute To Remain.
The other main point of interest on the album is some of the more laid back tracks, such as 'Metaphor' and 'Dawn Of A New Day'. I think both of these are very interesting tracks which break a lot of new ground for In Flames, including some of the more 'classic' acoustic elements of mid 90's In Flames. I hope to hear more music like this from them in the future.
I find it quite odd that this is considered In Flames' 'sellout' album, because if you really believe they did sell out, Clayman is quite a similar album. I mean, a lot of songs on the album could fit right in on Clayman, and (to an extent) vice versa. All taken into consideration though, I think this is a good album. Not great, like The Jester Race or Colony, but certainly much, much better than what it is generally considered to be. It has a couple of stinkers (such as 'Cloud Connected' and 'Transparent') but songs like 'Trigger', 'Dawn Of A New Day' and the opening title track make Reroute To Remain an enjoyable album, worthy of the In Flames name.
In all fairness and as a preface, I will say that I am a rather large In Flames fan. Of course by this I mean all the previous albums leading up to this one had their fair time in my disk changer.
With that said, I think you'll understand that I am basing this album reveiw solely on the band's progression and experimentation, not on how good this album is compared to Clayman or even Whoracle.
The album starts off blandly with a small electronica synth intro then jumps forward into a nice riff and then everybody else begins to play. This song of course is the title track "Reroute to Remain". The production on this song and even the whole album is far too polished for my liking. Everything sounds so clean and pristene as opposed to the almost vicious pipeline of guitars I was used to when I would see their old stage shows. The drums have this odd way of sounding so far from what they are, such as the weird clicking sound their kick drum seems to have adopted. But aside from the production the way the songs are arranged is very cut and dry; verse / chorus / verse / breakdown / chorus. Well I think you get the point. The songs really are far too confined from what I was so used to before with the structure, it just gets far too narrow in scope and makes the songs seem a bit forced and not pre-meditated.
Standout tracks are far and few between, but why I gave this album a high score rests solely on the 4 tracks I felt were the best out of the album. Obviously "Trigger" comes to mind yet I felt it was a poor choice for a single and video. "Trigger" is a pretty good track with a fantastic grind feel to the guitars that gives it a sort of likening to a trash song. The lyrics are sort of bland and don't really go anywhere or hold any more meaning than the papers they were probably scrawled on. The chorus is where the song comes together. Other standouts include "Dawn of a New Day", a bit of a risk being the most mellow track on the album and being relaltively tame, yet what sells it is the vocal work by Anders Friden and the acoustic passages. I'd also throw "Egonomic" in there as well as "Black & White" the album closer.
After listening to the album for so many times I start to maybe see where the band had wanted to take this album, make it a bit of an experiment and go in a new direction. But after seeing this effort and their latest travesty, Come Clarity, I feel the band has gone in a horrible direction. This however is just my opinon and does not necessarily mean that this album is any worse for the later efforts.
I don't hear anything wrong in this album. Sure, there are less solos and a couple "nu-metal" riffs, but I don't see this as selling out. Every band that's been around for atleast ten years in existance is doomed to make an album that will dissapoint a fan. Bands lose fans either because of medicore albums that sound the same or if they try something new in their sound.
In this case, In Flames tried something new. I see that as a good thing because I'm already sick of seeing all these lame generic gotheburg metal bands that have been coming out latley, so many unoriginal In Flames and At The Gates clones, it makes me glad In Flames didn't get lost in the herd of their own followers. They managed to evolve their sound (I know some metalheads will laugh that statement here), but it's true, they don' have that primative gothenburg thrash sound and all the songs can be enjoyed by adults. Lets face it, majority of grown people won't want to listen to dark music. Older people want a more mature melodic sound and In Flames matured their songcraft.
In Flames managed to make a refreshing album. The keyboards, although not complex, is a nice ingredient In Flames used in their latest recipe. There's also more singing than growls. I wasn't impressed by the singing but it works in their new sound, complimenting the not really heavy music.
Transparent is a song that has the nu-metal riffs, but it still manages to come up with a catchy hook, I don't think a nu-metal band could even pull that off. There's also a solo towards the end of the song, so solos are not extinct on the album, just used spairingly.
The best song In Flames ever did here is Egonomic. The chorus is just so catchy, it's one those epic type songs. Egonomic is the greatest achivement on the whole CD. I don't care what anyone says, I find the song perfect from begining to end and I find it much more better than some of their older songs before Whoracle.
I'll admit, the slower songs that are focused more on regular singing are too bland. It's like the singer is talking in his sleep. That's the only real drawback here. The songs Egonomic and Transparent make up for the negative aspects of the album so all is not lost at all.
After hearing this album, I'm really looking forward to hear what In Flames has up next. Yeah, they're getting popular, so what? I know underground bands that suck worse and I doubt In Flames changing so drastically to sell records that you'd find them number one on the American Billboards.
Okay, so what we have here is the latest crapsterpiece from perpetual suckage vortex In Flames.
We actually start off pretty promisingly... for the first minute, the first song is total fucking "Walls of Jericho" worship. Nice riffs, great lead guitar going, total speed metal going...
then they realise they're a Geighthenburg band. It's a very up and down song - some decent riffs, but then there is that really shitty under-verse riff. Make up your mind. In the immortal words of Slayer... DO YOU WANT TO SUCK!??!
The next song, "System", is faster for a bit, then gets into a really sickly decrepitly awful interlude. Then we have "Drifter", more of the same crap - the halfthrash riff under the verses is really grating, then a really great break. It's like, make up your mind. Each song seems to have its good parts and its bad parts, can't you be GOOD for an entire song?
Then, in "Trigger" we get a more typical Geightenburg song - the distorted Maiden melodies being repeated over and over again over a barrage of distorted riffs, that's the typical crap intro, and then of course the shit interludes. The album really has some nice riff ideas going, but the way they are connected... what the fuck?
"Dawn of a New Day" is a fucking disaster, I won't even get into it. Whiny mallcore shit. How can anyone say this album is devoid of the modern shitfuck elements that make "music" so unbearable sometimes? That song right there represents everything that is wrong with society today.
"Egonomic" oh look a decent opening riff that just goes nowhere, but at least the song is fast. It sounds like a rejected Tyran Pace song, with the wrong vocal track applied. Meh, I've covered every idea on here so far. Typical Geightenburg shit, mallcore shit, rejected halfthrash riffs, there really isn't much going for this album. Other than the first forty seconds of the first track...
So what we have in here is some decent riffs, combined with some of the crappiest, most grating ideas ever. The songs lack cohesion - just disparate ideas thrown together haphazardly.
That, and the kinda shrieky pseudo-death vocals just don't make SENSE on a power metal album. Not that I like the "clean" vocals better. Take some pills for your fucking stomachace - some CYANIDE PILLS. I sentence you to be assraped by Jonathan Davis!!
In here buried is a nice classic metal album, it just happens to be 6 minutes long, when you take out all the stupid shit. Why, oh why, must bands like this be allowed to exist? This takes the worst of heavy metal (Geightenburg) and combines the worst of modern music (mallcore) creating a real fucking disaster.