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In Flames - "Soundtrack to Your Escape" (CD)

In Flames - "Soundtrack to Your Escape" CD cover image

"Soundtrack to Your Escape" track listing:

1. F(r)iend (3:27)
2. The Quiet Place (3:45)
3. Dead Alone (3:43)
4. Touch of Red (4:13)
5. Like You Better Dead (3:22)
6. My Sweet Shadow (4:39)
7. Evil in a Closet (4:02)
8. In Search for I (3:23)
9. Borders and Shading (4:22)
10. Superhero of the Computer Rage (4:01)
11. Dial 595-Escape (3:48)
12. Bottled (3:05)

Reviewed by on December 10, 2009

"The major problem with this album is it downplays original guitar riffs and vocals in favor for synthetic pop elements, in order to drown out the uninspiring sound"

After the experimental “Reroute to Remain,” the band continued along with this phase on “Soundtrack to Your Escape.” Many fans criticized In Flames for “selling out” because “Reroute to Remain” digressed from total melodic death metal into elements of alternative that incorporated “synth pop” into the mix. This is not what made “Reroute to Remain” an epic failure though. The fact of the matter is that the album had 14 tracks, with the majority of them filler. Unfortunately, the trend continued in “Soundtrack to Your Escape.”

The major problem with this album is that it downplays original guitar riffs and vocals in favor for synthetic pop elements, in order to drown out the uninspiring sound. The band even admitted that they were going through a dry spell around this time, so they continued the extension of their session keyboardist. This album is a prime example of why a band should not put more tracks in the album just for the sake of it. The band could have minimized this failure by discarding the majority of the tracks and just use the good ones for an EP.

The album starts off with “F(r)iend,” one of the better tracks on the album. Anders gives his best vocal performance on the album, and the riff is the most original. This song sounds out of place with the rest of the album because the other songs saturate the sound with a synthesizer. Only a handful of songs actually succeed in having the keyboard in the songs.

The lead single “The Quiet Place” is a good example of this. The keyboard riff is catchy, but Anders is almost talking in this song. Elements of the former melodic death metal vocals diminish very rapidly in these songs. The howls and grunts are almost completely absent; the result is a watered-down whiny yelp. “My Sweet Shadow” has an incredibly catchy and almost funky psychedelic keyboard riff that is very memorable. However, the keyboard should compliment the riffs, not completely overshadow it. This one line “synth riff” repeats itself throughout the whole song. Even at the end when everything is cut out, you are just left with that one riff that completely immerses you for a good 50 seconds of repetition.

You know that this album is in trouble when the highlight of the album is the ballad “Evil in a Closet.” The next string of songs that follow are all filler. “In search for I” is a cool track name, but the song is uninspiring with nothing but a stale riff and a solo that does not flow. In addition, the drumming is virtually just a few pounds, lacking in tenacity. While the album is drawn to the lead guitar and the keyboards, the bass is almost left out of the picture. “Like You Better Dead” is another song that had a decent riff; however, it was overplayed throughout without much transition, leaving the song incredibly flat.

Unfortunately, the next several songs lack in originality and do not save this album. Without much innovation, In Flames continued their dry streak until their return to their melodic death metal roots in 2006’s “Come Clarity.”

Highs: "The Quiet Place" and "Evil in a Closet."

Lows: The majority of the songs are filler.

Bottom line: Skip this album and move on to the two albums that proceed it.

Rated 1.5 out of 5 skulls
1.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)