In Flames - Soundtrack To Your Escape
Will they be able to pick up the success they had with their last album Reroute To Remain? I believe they will, In Flames make once again a statement proving themselves to be a top act when it comes to melodic deathmetal. The album starts promisingly and surprisingly brutal with the opening track F(r)iend and the soundpicture is of the hard and heavy kind with a feeling of compactness.
I found that Soundtrack To Your Escape was harder to take in than their previous efforts, I needed to listen to it several times before it really fell into place, even though they continues with their melodic death as they started with on Clayman (2000) and developed to its full with Reroute To Remain (2002). The great melodylines are there from the start, not as obvious as we got used to with the last album, there is more layers of melodies rather than harmonies and the vocals are still within the mix of growls and a more clean voice. The growls has been giving more space here and that is something that I think is for the better as Anders Fridéns voice really doesn't hold up for too much of clean singing, it works great in small amounts and the doses are perfectly balanced with this album.
This is also a more even album compared with Reroute, apart from the first single released, The Quite Place, there are no real highlights that sticks out and the mentioned track perhaps sticks out a bit too much. It becomes very apparent that this is the track that was intended as a single, catchy and melodic death metal with a soft touch and it is actually one of the better tracks on the album although it is a bit to obvious that it is made with a singlerelease in mind. Those tracks that are a bit faster and more aggressive like the opening F(r)iend along with In Search For I and Superhero Of The Computer Rage are those when In Flames are at its best. Musically they are aggressive enough to be picked out of Whoracle (1997) or Colony (1999) and yet still melodic and soft enough to suit their newer sound.
The real strengths lies in the arrangements with more complex soloparts, harmonies and melodylines, the songs in its whole are not as strong but it is these elements that completes the tracks and makes them as strong as they are. In Flames has developed the melodic death metal from Reroute To Remain by keeping the melodic sense and yet taking one step back to harder and more aggressive metal, they are mixing up their newer sound with the older more deathish sounding metal. I let them get away with that they sometimes sounds like they have run out of fresh ideas and are stuck on repeat because the general quality that runs through Soundtrack is still very high. And I also think it would have made more sense if this album had come before Reroute To Remain and after Clayman, because that is where this album is at musically, right between the evolution of those two.
Soundtrack To Your Escape is a really great album, along with Dark Tranquillity In Flames proves themselves again to be one of the best bands in this genre, in the end this soundtrack is another album from In Flames that is impossible to resist. Soundtrack to who's escape? I certainly don't want to escape as long as there is music as great as this to be found.