In Flames became an influential band in the emerging death-metal scene of the early 90’s because of their use of melody. Since their sixth studio album in 2002, that same melodic tendency has made them influential to a whole new generation of musicians playing what is now known as metal-core. Always maintaining a certain level of quality songwriting and heaviness throughout their transition, In Flames have always remained relevant. This remains the case with the band’s latest album A Sense of Purpose.
Overall a solid album, two of Purpose‘s strongest songs are the opening “The Mirrors Truth” and “Disconnected.” Their modern sound sets the tone for the rest of the album. One might call it derivative if they hadn’t invented it first, with classically metal guitar harmonies and big, memorable choruses. Though vocalist Anders Friden isn’t the greatest singer, he pulls off catchy, melodic choruses in his raspy half-yelling/half-singing style with emotionally moving force.
Although sappy ballad “The Chosen Pessimist” drags a bit, and “Condemned” sounds like filler, the rest of this album is full of well written, well executed gems like the keyboard driven “Move Through Me” and high-energy “March to the Shore,” which ends the album on a high note.
It’s rare that a metal band can transition from one genre to another while still maintaining their integrity but In Flames have done just that. A Sense of Purpose is another in the long tradition of great In Flames albums. Let us hope that the tradition continues long enough for them to invent another genre.