By Carl Begai
It’s been almost a decade since In Flames twisted their once-trademark melodic death metal sound into something less volatile and more mainstream. The aptly titled Reroute To Remain album signaled the change, but the band didn’t crash and burn as so many disgruntled fans had expected. On the contrary, In Flames earned themselves a legion of new fans even as some veteran followers hung on to hope, secretly admitting the band’s new musical direction wasn’t, in fact, that much of a disaster. The band’s new album, Sounds Of A Playground Fading, is by no means a return to old form, but it ranks as one of In Flames’ most diverse outings to date, seemingly hinting at the band’s past as they move forward. Personal observation, for example, has me hearing strains of the Whoracle album from 1997 on new song ‘A New Dawn’. Then there’s the mysterious and dark spoken word piece ‘Jester’s Door’ that preceeds it, which sounds like an obvious tip of the hat – lyrically more than musically – to their 1996 album, The Jester Race.
“Could be,” laughs vocalist and instigator Anders Friden, who debuted as In Flames’ frontman on The Jester Race. “I want to keep it open to interpretation, but it came about because of the lyrics. The track had to be those 10 or 12 lines. I couldn’t make it into a whole song, they were perfect the way they were. As we were recording the album, we had to come up with a song order very early on and keep it that way. Having an album feel was very important to me. It had to have a certain flow, you could almost imagine it as having an A-side and B-side, like an LP.” Continue Reading