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In Flames - "A Sense of Purpose" (CD)

In Flames - "A Sense of Purpose" CD cover image

"A Sense of Purpose" track listing:

1. The Mirror's Truth (3:01)
2. Disconnected (3:36)
3. Sleepless Again (4:09)
4. Alias (4:49)
5. I'm the Highway (3:41)
6. Delight and Angers (3:38)
7. Move Through Me (3:05)
8. The Chosen Pessimist (8:16)
9. Sober and Irrelevant (3:21)
10. Condemned (3:34)
11. Drenched in Fear (3:29)
12. March to the Shore (3:26)

Reviewed by on April 16, 2008

"their sound has become standardized and sounds like they are following a formula"

In Flames' ninth studio album brings together a mature, developed band in an experimental stage. This album is more melodic and catchy than even their previous effort, "Come Clarity." They barely resemble the melodic-death-metal style they started in, but it works. The album is great to listen to.

Many of the elements that made "Come Clarity" excellent are still here. The tracks all have the potential to be a single from the album. The vocal style of Anders Friden has changed drastically from a growling style to an emotional, solemn voice. The best track that emphasizes this is “The Chosen Pessimist,” which also is the longest track on the album. The whole album follows a similar new style from In Flames and the only track that is remotely different is “The Chosen Pessimist.” It has that either “love it or hate it” attitude, which themes throughout the entire album. The melodic choruses are still here, appearing on all tracks.

The only thing that is a problem with the album is the effect of experimenting and changing their sound over the years. They have changed listening audiences and their sound has become standardized and sounds like they are following a formula. They try to hold onto as much of “Come Clarity” as possible and at the same time try to push the bar once again. On my first listen, I was extremely disappointed that it sounded more mainstream than the already mainstream “Come Clarity.” However, many listens later, it grew on me with a respectable attitude and I can’t stop singing along to many of the tracks.

The production value hasn't changed significantly. The tracks are clear and the guitar work is still crisp, but it has a very bassed-up style similar to bands like Soil. This is mainly because the vocals are the most important part in this album, and much emphasis is pushed through this particular aspect than the drums or guitars.

Overall, In Flames has been a leader of Swedish Metal for many years and continues to strive in new territories where creativity has increased with every forthcoming album. The emphasis on this album as a whole is emotion and this is undeniably the most emotional album yet, especially in the vocals of a certain creative Mr. Friden. At the end, it does have a sense of purpose.

Highs: Melodic-death metal re-vamped; melodic, catchy choruses, and nice riffs

Lows: Even more mainstream than "Come Clarity;" Long "love it or hate it" ballad.

Bottom line: In Flames' 9th brings another step up the creativity bar, with a more mainstream metal sound that is and always will be In Flames.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 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)