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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, factory-direct tasteless guitar tone needlessly screeching, factory-direct bass to follow the riffs to give it an unnecessary boom, 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.
Well I myself (and many others) consider this to be In Flames' first bad album. Its no lie either. A new sound is brought into the equation with this one, and a more mainstream approach to the music world seems to be present.
The first track which is the title track is one of the more tolerable songs on the album. The intro is really nice sounding and the verse is rather agressive and bold. Some good leads are also in the package. But the chrous is what makes the song loose some points. "system" and "drifter" aren't anything special. "System" comtains a whiny, soft chorus which isn't exactly pleasing. "Drifter" kind of has a hardcore feel to it in my opinion. But again, nothing special.
"Trigger" and "Cloud Connected" are the two singles of the album. "Trigger" is tolerable to some extent, with a catchy chorus and nice solo. "Cloud Connected" is one of the worst songs on the album. This song clearly opens its arm to radio play, and has some of most annoying clean vocals I have heard in a metal band. The solo however isn't a complete loss.
"Transparent" is fairly decent. Has a bottom-heavy feel to it, which isn't exactly In Flames formula, but its not as bad as it could be. "Dawn of a New Day" has a weird sound and structure to it. Clean vocals all the way through that certainly do not to the song justice. This is almost on the level of poorness as Cloud Connected.
"Egonomic" has some really neat riffs and leads in it. This song is certainly one of the better on the tracklist. It kinda contains that of the classic In Flames sound. "Minus" falls into a similar catagory as Egonomic. Has some good leads, and a great solo towards the end. Even though it does contain clean vocals, they are tolerable. Those are probably the best two songs on the album.
A track I have mixed feelings about it "Dismiss the Cynics". An unusual title, and has a tiny bit of an atmospheric feel to it in some parts. Not a god awful song, but it certainly isn't the best on the album. "Free Fall" is a complete loss. With a horrible sounding intro, and opening vocals that sound like Jonathan Davis. It does contain a short thrashy riff or two at some parts. But its not enough to make up for the extreme poorness of the track.
"Dark Signs" isn't great, but rather tolerable. Has some nice lead work, but not enough goodies to make it really stand out. "Metaphor" is by far the worst In Flames song.....wait......one of the worst songs I have ever heard. Nuff' said. Finally the album ends with " Black and White" which has absolutly nothing special about it, and fails to be a good album closer.
With all this, Reroute To Remain falls very short of what a good melodic death album should be. By the sound, it is obvious that In Flames are heading towards a more mainstream and dare I say...."Nu Metal" direction. With about 4 or so actually good songs out of 14....this one is a moaner.
This CD was actually the CD that got me into in flames, with the song Trigger. Since then I picked up all the other In flames CDs and I decided to write a review now that I have all of In Flames’ stuff. Listening to it again was a major chore and I didn’t see how I liked it before.
The first song is the title track. The song starts off great sounding like regular in flames. The verse is pretty good but is shortly ruined by a shitty clean vocal chorus that makes me want to kill my self. That asshole Anders has a way of fucking up perfectly good songs with his use of clean vocals. Pretty good except for clean vocals, probably the best song on the album 6/10
Next is System, which starts promptly with distorted vocals under noise of techno. Then Anders comes in with his horrible clean vocals. The clean vocals on this annoy me more than Soundtrack to your Escape. The clean vocals completely ruin this song like any other time Anders tries to use them. 3/10
Drifter is next, it starts out promising but turns into nu metal heaven with distorted vocals. The chorus is funny on this song. This song has a solo on it but it is just a cheap ass 5 second one. 3/10
Trigger… the song that started me on In Flames. It starts out nicely but comes in with distorted vocals and nu metal ensues. This song’s clean vocal aren’t as bad as the rest on the album, but most the song is clean vocals. There is a decent solo here followed by like the 5th chorus. 5/10
Now we get into the total shit of this album with Cloud Connected. This song sounds just like a techno song with In Flames dubbed on. Unfortunately, this song was a single so people had to suffer thought it more than they should have to. There is nothing good to say about this song except there is like a 3 second solo. 1/10
Next is Transparent. It starts off with a heavy into and the verse sounds promising. Then time for distorted vocals and clean vocals. You cant help but laugh when you here Anders moan “you know you’re lost” during the chorus. This song has a nice solo on it, a change from the other stuff so far. 4/10
Next is a shitty ballad type song called Dawn of a New Day. Anders is a fucking crazy bastard for making this song. This song sounds like it is ripped strait from a linkin park song. I bet Anders is taking tips from Chester on how to be a whiny little girl. This song fucking sucks horribly, but its not the worst on the CD. 1/10
Egonomic is next. It has a nice intro to it and the initial verse sounds good. Then the chorus comes in and damn does it suck. This song is unfortunately very catchy and will likely get in your head. 3/10
Minus is the next song. The verse is a whiny scream that Anders seems to have mastered. The chorus is clean vocals like usual. This song has a nice solo to it, not a cheap ass 3 second one, about 10-12 seconds. This song would be ok if it weren’t for Anders’ goddamn clean vocals 4/10
Next we have Dismiss the Cynics. It has a real good intro to it and then nothing but Anders. Then at the chorus Anders kicks in with his clean vocals. They seem to be extra shitty on this song. The saving grace of this song is a decent solo. 4/10
Free Fall is next. This song is a techno song all from the start. Mix with Anders’ shitty clean vocals and you get one fucking bad song. This song sounds exactly like Korn. Techno nu metal song… next! 1/10
Dark Signs starts out pretty good. This is very quickly changed when you hear the chorus. The chorus is so fucking bad its hilarious. 1/10
Metaphor is easily the worst song In Flames has done. He doing his emo kid shit here. This song wants to make me bash Anders’ face in with a baseball bat. “the sickness that you ahr, the plague that made me stahrve, do you think you can show me how I’ve come this fahr.” It seems Anders is trying to do the Arnold impersonation with this song. 0/10
Well Black and White is better than the last song , but that doesn’t take anything at all. In fact that is the only thing positive about this song I can say. The rest is jut nu metal distorted and clean vocals. 2/10
I don’t see how I like this album when I first bought it. This album sucks pretty badly but it isn’t god-awful. This CD has some of the worst songs In Flames has ever recorded, as does Soundtrack to Your Escape. In flames is going to go further and further into nu metal and shittness.
Yep, In Flames have taken the mainstream road it seems. Clayman had some good moments, but this album has even less. Also, everything that was wrong with Clayman, the percussive riffs and plethora of clean vocal passages, have been taken to a whole new level of crappiness. Although this is not a mallcore album. Most of the songs walk it’s border occasionally diving in to the other side.
Reroute to Remain has a great opening riff, and that sucks, because this song is horrible. Just when you think this is going to be a great album, the percussive riffs come in. These are followed by a horrible clean chorus.
System follows. Well at least it picks the pace up. But it does so with the fuzziest damn guitar tone I’ve ever heard. Throw in horribly over dubbed vocals which turn into Ander’s worst clean vocals ever, and you get an idea of what this song is. Plain awful.
Drifter opens with an awesome riff. Why can’t more of this be on here. Then the second riff kicks even more ass, vintage In Flames. But it would go against this album not to fuck it up with percussive riffs, and that’s what they do. Granted that riff does pop up again, but it is surrounded by so much crap it’s painful. Still, that is one of the best riffs the band has ever written.
Trigger is another song with a faster opening, and it sounds great for awhile. Then you get crap, both percussive riffs and horrible dubbed vocals. In between the crappy chorus’ and percussive muck there are some solid heavy metal moments, too bad the crap covers it up.
Cloud Connected, the first single for the album. Thus, it must epitomize all of this album’s crappiness for the trendy tards this albums has been marketed to. This sounds like a totally different band than the one that released Colony, let alone Jester’s Race. Horrible electronic effects, and a pretty mediocre solo.
Transparent wreaks of mallcore sludge crap complete with the horrible vocal effects. Every now and then a somewhat metal riff tries to crawl out from the crap but it soon gets covered again.
Dawn of a New Day, well it sounds like the name of a feminine hygiene product, and musically it fills the same role. Whiny, angst ridden, mallcore vocals over acoustic guitar. With beat machine like drums thrown in. Yep, this song sucks.
Egonomic is a faster track, and actually has some riffs that sound like In Flames in it. The chorus is total 80's pop in sound. It’s a weird mix. And like one of the reviewers below stated, the lyrics of this song fit the band entirely. It’s a good track in comparison to the rest of the crap on here.
Minus has a sludgy opening riff as well as several others just like it. More of the run of the mill crap this album is home to.
Dismiss the Cynic has a promising opening, and a great little lead. But the band must fuck it up with awkward vocal sections. Ooh, they sound like a dream... fuck this crap.
Free Fall opens with a music box, boy is that original. Then we get CoRn like vocals. This song is everything that is wrong and horrible about mallcore.
Dark Signs has a great opening, something that would fit right in the Colony album, the band tries to fuck it up with the vocals, and they succeed. Rather than a great In Flames song we get whiny angst crap vocals. Every now and then they realize they are In Flames, but soon forget and fuck the song up.
Metaphor opens up and reminds me of Moonshield’s opening a bit. But rather than kicking ass we get a whiny ballad.
Black and White is more percussive modern crap, with more mallcore vocals. God that chorus is horrible. It’s so over dubbed that it would be funny if it wasn’t so horrible.
Well touring with mallcore bands and getting a glimpse at how much playing shitty music can make you it seems In Flames has taken the path of crappiness. Clayman sounds great compared to this album. I’m glad In Flames got out of it’s inconsistent slump, but now they are consistently horrible. There are about 6 good riffs on this album and some occasional well done solos, but the rest is horrible. I can’t recommend any songs, none are consistently good.
If In Flames's previous effort, "Clayman", had left a disquieting number of fans unsatisfied (I'm not among them), "Reroute To Remain" managed to unleash an authentic uproar (just look at the number of reviews it got on this site!). Rumors about In Flames going mainstream started to spread long before pirated mp3's made their appearance, and when it was finally released... well, all I can say is that I had very mixed feelings about this one.
Now that some time has passed, I took my time to sit through the whole album again and try to write down some more cool-minded impression. And there sevral surprises manifested, some good, some bad...
If I had to describe "Reroute To Remain" in just one word, I wouln't hesitate: FORCED. Literally everything in this album sounds artificial, manufactured and twisted into square pre-ordered patterns in an almost painful way.
The most prominent example being, of course, Anders's clean vocals.
When rumours started raging like wildfire, there was much disgusted talk about the massive amount of clean vocals used in "Reroute To Remain". Personally, I didn't see it as a bad thing, as his clean vocals that were sparsely used on the older records weren't half bad in my book.
Not anymore. Here, his clean voice sounds incredibly weak, uninspired, as well as overridden by countless effects which only make it worse. He also seems to have developed a weird and rather unpleasant nasal tone, although whether this is down to him or the aforementioned overuse of studio effects is hard to say.
When I say these clean vocals are forced, I actually mean two separate things. The most obvious is that the vocals themselves sound forced, as in several section it's painfully apparent that Anders is just trying too hard; the other aspect is that the songwriting seems to be bound and tied to this pattern, which leads to a predictably bland result. The need to include clean vocals at all costs often forces the otherwise interesting songwriting to take abrupt detours into dull soundscapes, as well as undermining variety from the very start. By the time you reach track 6, you already know what is bound to happen, which makes me think that the real title was actually meant to be "Reroute To Refrain".
Another extremely weak point of the album is the very, very muddy production. You can say what you want about the Gothenburg Metal scene, but nobody can deny that these bands deliver a crushing album sound.
Not anymore. Here, the guitars hardly have any shard of sharpness left into their lame tone, the drums are still loud but rather muffled, the vocals are held back by a poor mix and yes, those stupid effects, and the keybaords / electro-inserts (another "sellout-factor" of this album, along with clean vocals) sound far too loud and intrusive. As in too many Metal records, the bass sound has been nearly completely lost somewhere along the way.
Finally... the songwriting. As I said: forced, unnatural. We still get a fair share of good ideas, but they get mixed with some really huge letdowns. The result is that on this album we get songs whose great potential is butchered by the poor sound, the forced clean bits, etc., and songs which are undeniably filler material which turn even worse due to the same negative elements.
All of this will inevitably lead to an inconsistent product, and sadly, no miracles occurred to save "Reroute To Remain" from this fate.
Despite all the bad sides, the album has a deceptively promising beginning. The opening song, the title track, still manages to sound like a solid post-"Whoracle" In Flames anthem (if you look past the weak sound, of course), maybe with the only drawback of seeming to take a bit too long before really taking off. But then, all of a sudden, the chorus kicks in, and everything falls apart as the interesting riffing turns into a horrid chord sequence which sounds stolen from the local gay boyband, backed with singalong like vocals which are just plain ridiculous. It's amazing how this cringe-inducing chorus manages to destroy any good impression the song might have made thus far. What a waste.
"System" sounds like the son, or maybe the little brother, of "Pinball Map" (from "Clayman"): same key / tuning and same structure... well, almost. First we are assaulted (or at least we were supposed to be, before some idiot engineer did what he did to this record) by a speedy verse with pretty fast harsh singing (which here gets garbled by way too many effects), then a quiet and rather desolate bridge leads into a powerful yet melodic chorus. The ideas are damn good, the riffs are interesting, with a nice number of key shifts to keep the attention high, and even Anders sounds convincing and not excessively whiney in the calmer sections. As said, it's the production which really keeps this track from releasing its full potential.
"Drifter" brings some more good speed in the picture, with clean vocals making only a brief cameo in the chorus, and guess what - this is arguably the song that mostly reminds of "old" In Flames on the whole album. Inevitably I'll say it's a real pity and a shame, but on the other hand it proves that these guys haven't lost it completely. However, a pretty good song.
And here comes "Trigger", and here comes more butchered potential. The beginning of this song actually reminds more than just a bit of "Jotun", the opening track on "Whoracle", which can't be bad at all... only, when the verse kicks in, the cool riffs disappear and only Anders is left to shriek out the verses with the only company of a very basic drum pattern and some background buzzing noise which I think should be the bass. Horrific. Luckily, the guitars come back in for the bridge, and the chorus is probably where the interaction between the classic In Flames sound and the newly included clean vocals works best, because the riff isn't half bad and the vocal pattern manages to be memorable and effective. What a pity for that stupid verse arrangement, and for a disastrous but thankfully brief "hi-tech" interlude (everything disappears and only Anders is left whining with the company of a drum machine loop, ALL of this filtered through a very dumb effect) which occurs TWICE in th second half of the song when a single shot would be one too many.
Enter the first single, "Cloud Connected"... the first thing I have to say is that placing it right after "Trigger" was the WORST idea they could have. These two songs have a very similar structure; only, "Cloud Connected" doesn't have nearly as many good elements as "Trigger", and ends up sounding like a watered down version of the former track. There isn't really much to say here, apart from the nice vocal trick in the verse featuring Anders gradually switching from clean to harsh vocals, the somwhat nice to listen to chorus (if you can get past its shamelessly basic structure) and a oh so modern electronic loop which opens the song and lasts until the end.
So far the album manages to stay tolerable, although far from In Flames quality standards. Sadly, the worst is yet to come.
"Transparent" is a damn good title for a track you could metaphorically stare through without noticing it's there. This is filler garbage par excellence, you could play it several times and it would still leave you with nothing, except maybe disgust. The guitars are tuned ridiculously low, their sound is made even more indecipherable by the lousy production and the riffing is virtually nonexistent. Think about Mortician playing a cross between "The Burning Red"-era Machine Head and Slipknow, and add Anders's most annoying whining choked by all those dumb vocal effects that plagued Slayer since "Divine Intervention", only made a lot worse. This is "Transparent", and what makes me even more mad at it is that a really cool solo surfaces among all this trash, and therefore gets completely wasted. Please reroute to something better.
"Dawn of a New Day" opens with the very soothing sound of acoustic guitars, and manages to evolve as a short nice ballad, Anders thankfully sounding a lot more convincing that the previous track. Oh yeah, and someone found the bass tracks and brought them back into this song!!
"Egonomic" has a very speedy and rather noisy opening, which can be somewhat pleasing or utterly annoying depending on your mood at the moment; at any rate the boys soon realize they're not there to mime Strapping Young Lad and dive head first into yet another lame chorus, which will severeky grate your ears no matter what mood you're in.
"Minus" has some more typical and interesting In Flames riffing, with *gasp* a cool cleanvocal bit in the bridge! Anders even pulls off a clever dual-track harmony. Wow. A track that seems to bring the album back to the standard of tracks 2 to 5 (well, count the first too just leaving out that overwhelmingly reeking pool of sewage that is its chorus). But it doesn't last for long.
"Dismiss the Cynics" is another member of the "Trigger" / "Cloud Connected" family, only even less inspiring and interesting. In other words, skip.
"Free Fall" opens with a little weird keyboard loop which would have so much more sense if it kept playing when the first riff comes in; I am pretty sure this was the original intention and I could also point out that maybe it IS still there, only made inaudible by... you know what by this point. Anyway, the aforementioned first riff, which also happens to be the chorus riff, is the only cool part of the song, and gets boring fast, so that "Free Fall" lives up to its title and promptly takes a free fall into the pit of mediocrity. In other words, skip.
"Dark Sings"... I actually had to play this track again before writing anything about it, because I couldn't recall a thing about it. This is enough to tell you how interesting and outstanding it is... The thing that sticks the most to my mind is the opening riff, because it sounds suspiciously similar to the first riff of Amorphis's "On Rich and Poor". The chorus manages to sound similar to "Cloud Connected"'s YET AGAIN... in other words, skip.
And here comes the lowlight of the album: "METAPHOR"!!! What's so wrong about this track? I will list what is good with it: it's short. Everything else about it is bad. Actually, it's very bad. More in depth, it sucks. To be really honest I'd say it blows goat balls in hell, but that sounds unprofessional.
This "ballad", if we want to call it this way ("the real sound of diahorrea" would be the right definition) is comprised of a whopping TWO riffs, both of which would belong on a record by, say, N-stynk or Christina Shaguilera. Anders sounds so intolerably lame, the way he whines out the chorus ("the sickness that you ahaarrre, a plague that made me stahaarrrve, do you think you can show me... how I got this fahaarrrr?") urges the listener to slap his face until he wakes the fuck up and begins proviing some more stuff worth of the REAL In Flames. Unforgivable and insulting. Skip, for the love of your health.
"Black and White" inevitably sounds so incredibly better than the previous abomination, but actually is a nice little song on its own. Pity once more for those dumb, distorted effects on the verse... but at least it doesn't scream for the skip button. Oh well, you can't skip it anyway because it's the last track on the cd.
Time to draw concusions... not so good, I'm afraid. As I said, this album could be cool at points, but fails to develope the right ideas in an effective way. Besides, when it's bad, it's really bad, and even its best moments are no match for In Flames's back catalogue.
At least we can hope for better results next time around, as creativity still shows here and there. Besides, Anders has now his side project Passenger to show his more "relaxed" side, so he won't need to do that on the next record, maybe... this, however, means blaming him for the whole thing and it wouldn't be fair. I mean, it's the whole band who did this, so they all have their share of guilt.
I won't say I still recommend this album to die-hard In Flames fans, because I am one of them myself. I only hope I won't be saying "I used to be on of them myself" in the near future.
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.
Gimme a M! Gimme an A! Gimme a L! Gimme another L! Gimme a C! Gimme an O! Gimme a R! Gimme an E!
What does that spell? IN FLAMES!!
In Flames keeps the streak alive by making an album ever worse than the last one I reviewed, which I didn't think was possible, but again I have been proven wrong here. In Shits is alive and kicking.
In fact, I have figured out the formula for making an In Flames album. I share it with you here in the hopes that if everybody knows how they do it, it won't seem so special anymore:
1) Start out with a cool intro. It doesn't matter whether it's a nice-sounding riff or a classy fade-in-guitars type sound, as long as it makes you think that maybe THIS is the song that will be decent, for a change.
2) Pull that cool opening out completely after no longer than 45 seconds. Have Daniel Svensson come in on drums by playing whatever the fuck he feels like hammering out, regardless of whether it actually fits with the song.
3) Bring Anders Fridén in on vocals to make the song even more of a train wreck. DO NOT let the song end until Anders has pounded it into a pile of mush.
4) Three options here:
a) Start pounding on all of the instruments and blasting out whatever mallcore shit the band can come up with on the fly to keep costs down;
b) Take that cool main melody in the beginning and play it over and over and over and over and over again until the listener wants to fucking kill himself with a carrot peeler;
c) Do both.
5) Repeat steps 1-4 until you have a full album of pure pig feces.
The formula is used successfully many times in the new album. Most of these songs have exactly the same problems as the other albums--shitty vocals, mallcore guitar playing, a pussy bass and completely irrelevant drum playing. Notable songs are System, where the shitty vocals start immediately; Trigger, where the band pulls some clean vocals straight out of their ass and Metaphor, which is the reason this album doesn't make double digits; namely, that the cool opening riff (which ends up being the entire song, by the way) is bastardized from ONE OF THEIR OWN SONGS! They didn't even have the decency to rip off a good band like Iron Maiden or Judas Priest; instead, the take the opening riff from Moonshield, bastardize it, and turn it into the entire song. My God.
Oh, and in my continuing observations of the increasing shittiness of Mr. Anders Fridén, I am pleased to report that our favorite vocalist has hit a new low. Realizing that neither death vocals nor doom vocals seem to be working for him, Anders has attempted to sing black vocals on this album, with even less success than the doom vocals on Clayman. May I suggest to Mr. Fridén that perhaps his calling lies with a brotherhood of monks who swear an oath of silence upon entry into the monastery?
This album sucks. Big surprise. It's the worst piece of rat-infested cow pus that I've ever had the misfortune of hearing. Even bigger surprise. Just stay away. I don't know how many times I have to review this band before you people get it, but stay away. When you listen to In Flames, you lose.
The concept is not a bad idea. They wanted to try electronics. Being a huge fan of industrial bands such as Front Line Assembly and Skinny Puppy, I have a feel of what electronics should sound like. Well, In Flames decided to give it a shot and they failed. The problem with Reroute to Remain is that the electronics sound way too forced. Music should not be forced. It should come out with ease. If you need to force yourself to play Jazz on the drums then you CANT play jazz. Well, In Flames forced the electronics here. That's not to say the electronics sound bad, they are quite good, but they do not belong in the songs. The title track is a classic example. It seems they just added them to make them sound different and challenging. Don't get me wrong, I want bands to challenge themselves, but there is a degree in which you challenge and just come off sounding like idiots. But enough of the electronics, there are also other problems.
The vocals are suffering from the same thing that killed Fear Factory's later release, they are becoming too weak. The death vocals sound too weak and offer no substance. To make matters worse the clean vocals are EXTREMELY forced. I want my music to flow with ease not with this forced actions. Oh well.
The guitars are also too weak. Are their two guitarists here? Before they had all sorts off riffs and licks. Now they are just struming. The guitars almost feel as if they were put on the back and weaken. I know we dont all want to loudamp Syndrone that plagues modern American music but it doesnt have to be nonexistant!
The band make a weak effort. Is there hope for the future? Most likely. I have the cd. I probably will not sell it, but it leaves a lot to be desired. Better luck next time guys!
I really didn't want to like this CD. Fuck. I STILL don't want to like it, but it's so damn loveable. Sort of like when your dog tears up your carpet and shits all over the place. You grit your teeth and reach for the nearest heavy object, but those puppy dog eyes... you can't help but love that little furball. The furball in question, In Flames, were never my favorite band and probably never will be, but Gothenburg's finest sellouts have a damn good album on their hands with Reroute to Remain
There goes my metal credibility lol. Shoot me now.
Yes, In Flames are reaching their tendrils towards the American mainstream. If not because RTR has a rather accessible sound, but because they even fucking admit it. Not to mention their proposed tour with Slipknot and penchant for sporting dreadlocks and jumpsuits. They want it oh so badly and I guess I can't blame em. Money is king. In spite of this, RtR is hardly nu metal. Clayman without as many harmonies is how i'd describe it.
I didn't like Clayman too much, asides from a few songs, but Reroute strikes a chord in that there are some really fucking catchy riffs, and an overall quicker pace. More Pinball Map than Bullet Ride I suppose. Downtuned riffage are prevalent but not of the nu metal variety. Not of the Meshuggah breed either, so I'll say somewhere in between. Chorus lines are dripping with The Cure and other 80s new wave shit In Flames listen to... come on man listen to Egonomic and tell me it isn't a great hook. Trigger (my favorite track) was stuck in my head for a while, as was Minus.
If you're gonna cop out, do it right. RtR is In Flame's black album ( although the notion of In Flames being the next Metallica is ridiculous... HA).. Watered down but cool nonetheless. Metaphor is the track that may give them their first hit.... it's laid back and sounds like ALICE IN CHAINS of all fucking bands. Anders' clean voice is nothing special but nothing overtly horrible like Speed Strids. The growls are still here, thank jesus.
We all knew this was gonna happen the first time we heard Colony...they've been compromising for years and I fear to hear what will come next. I also fear for my heterosexuality. Shame is my only word.... shame on me for liking this.
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.